Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The dieciocho is almost upon us. Chilean Fiestas Patrias!

Ya viene el 18. The 18th is coming!

We're going to a wait a minute on the worst transit stories group blog (but get your creative juices flowing on that one), because the 18th of September (Chilean national holiday, or fiestas patrias) is practically upon us, half of Chile is already on vacation and the other half will be joining them soon. Since I mostly work for myself, I'm on the horns of a dilemma, continue all the zany workity stuff, or take a semi-deserved break? Probably a combination of the two.

So since September 18th is quickly hurtling towards us, all of the supermarkets and stores and pretty much any place you can think of are dressed to the nines in 18th-paraphernalia. It's pretty festive looking, and might remind you just a tiny bit of the fourth of July, notice the color scheme. (there are 550 CLP to the dollar, so a pair of shoes that costs 47,000 is about 80 bucks, no bargains there!)

shoestore celebrates 18

And then in the supermarket, we have this woman dressed in the traditional urban 18th costume who is giving out sausage samples. It's all very patriotic, as you can see.


But the thing that I probably enjoy the most about September 18th is not the time off, nor even the kite flying, excessive alcohol consumption (article by me here on matadornetwork), nor even the various ways in which one can combine meat and bread or just meat and meat, nor even the traditional music nor the dance called the cueca which I was supposed to learn recently, but failed again to do so before the holiday.

What I love the best is the little girls dressed in the traditional rural costume, (called china, and I'm sure I don't know why) walking around like tiny little prairie-dwelling women from the 1800s. Or at least that's what it looks like to this American eye. Judge for yourself.

tiny little huasa, sept 18th coming!

There are certain to be more photos. There always are.


Margaret said...

I love the dieciocho season! I once had a n exchange student who arrived in September and was so disappointed to discover that grocery store employees don't always dress like huasos and chinas!
(love your little huasita, by the way!)

Annje said...

Great post and I loved your article on matador. This is one of the times my husband and I get nostalgic for Chile. But who knows, maybe we'll be there for the 200th. We usually have a "watered down" dieciocho here with some Chilean friends, but it's not the same.

Richard said...

That china photo is exquisite! At least you know you will never lose your child in a crowd with those colours. Unless all the other children are wearing the same thing - in which case you might go blind.

Looking forward to the transit stories. I will have to get my thinking cap on!

Still Life in South America said...

I would have liked to have experienced the dieciocho.

Pretty photo of the little girl!

César said...

China es una palabra de origen quechua (quechua es la lengua que hablaban los incas)

Significa "hembra", y en general se relaciona al género femenino.

Fue usado durante la colonia española para designar a las sirventas, y por extensión, permaneció, ya en el Chile independiente, para designar a todas las mujeres que trabajaban en un fundo.

Sara said...

Oooh group blog! Too bad I just wrote about a horrible public transit story, but can I join?

Eileen said...

Gracias César por explicarme eso. En realidad no tenía idea, y me imagino que muchos de los lectores tampoco lo sabían.

Estás acá en Chile? No tienes blog para que lo veamos?

Richard, you'd be surprised how many kids are dressed like that. I was in Chiloé one year (large island in the south) and there were phalanxes of them. It was impressive.

Sara, I haven't made a call for it yet, look for the call Wednesdayish, but yes, there will be one! Bad transportation stories, people. And then Richard will put us all to shame with his fabulous Cape to Cairo via public xport trip coming up. But hopefully he won't get a concussion, like I did. Story to follow. Oh yes, there will be.