Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chilean Independence Day Part 2

No Independence Day would be complete without a rodeo-and Chile is no exception. We went to the local rodeo in Pirque and walked around the grounds outside the arena too. Huaso(cowboy) wares aplenty for sale and Helia explained the finer points to me.

The Chilean saddle is completely different from western saddles but oh-so comfortable.

Yes, rides for the kiddies and ice cream and cotton candy too. And some pretty good people watching.

The Fonda is a big beer/chicha hall with dancing and barbeque.

And then, the main event the rodeo. The rodeo has one important event. They use older calves they call bulls(after the rodeo they apparently go to slaughter). The huasos attempt to control the bull, keeping to the outside edge of the arena. One huaso in back and one to the side of the bull. The bulls are supposed to be used one time only but many obviously knew this routine and tried to get back to the corral. They are scored on their control of the bull. Then, at a place in the arena which is padded, they actually run the horse into the bull, pushing it against the padded area(they score higher for hitting the bull just right) and often knocking the bull to the ground.

Huasos controll the bull. Chilean horses have a special sidestepping gait that is unique.

Getting into position out of the gate.

Losing control of the bull. Notice the padded area-this is where the huasos were to stop the bull.

Two huasos after their run.

Huaso gear. Parade stirrups and nasty looking spurs.

Viva Chile! Now can I have a nap?

Chilean Independence Day Part 1

Chilean Independence Day was September 18th and what a week it's been. The week is practically a national week off. Not much work was completed on the house but a smart person resigns themselves to the inevitable and joins asados and festivals and rodeos. Not easy but somebody has to do it.

We attended Valentina's school program celebrating the culture and history of Chile. And of course, it was wonderful and adorable. Really, the kids were great. To the right is children in cuaca dance attire. Even the very youngest performed-the teacher was on stage coaxing the children along.

Chile has really pretty children. They just look so healthy-maybe fresh fruits and vegetables help-and happy. They tend to look European but a couple at an asado(a-sod-o/barbeque) have a blonde blue eyed child that could be from my family. She looks exactly like my niece Katie at that age. Her parents look like they could be from Boulder or Oregon until they speak-the Spanish is not gringo-spanish!

The grocery stores filled to the brim as preparation for the holidays continued. Jumbo circulars were passed out at the corners and dropped into the yard. I read that the cars leaving Santiago on Friday stretched for miles. The weekend had a holiday atmosphere with the normal September kite flying greatly increased. People in Chile love kites. They are sold on every available street corner and park. The kites are mostly small and cheap-and since 5 have landed in our back yard-I understand their thinking.

Kite sales are brisk at this local park. A small customer has Dad to help him choose. You won't be surprised when I say the dads buy kites for themselves as much as the kids! Yes, even here, the guys are big kids. With fiberglass line, a clever fellow can cut the line of any competing kite flyers.

The other photo shows the kite salesman's "fleta" parked under the tree. , which have a very large basket in front, are used widely by the feria(street fair) people, delivery people, and other merchants. There are no bike or fleta lanes-people seem to patiently go around them.

People fly kites in the street, in the their small back yards, in the parks or any empty lot they can find.