Celebrating My First Fiestas Patrias in Parque O’Higgins

Celebrating My First Fiestas Patrias in Parque O’Higgins

FIRST FIESTAS PATRIAS, FIRST CHILEAN CELEBRATION, FIRST FONDA, FIRST SKEWERED CHICKEN, FIRST (MORE OR LESS) TERREMOTOS, FIRST MILITARY PARADE, FIRST KITE LESSONS, FIRST (BUT I HOPE NOT THE LAST) TOTAL IMMERSION IN THE CHILEAN SOCIETY. WHEN PEOPLE TALKED TO ME ABOUT FIESTAS PATRIAS, I EXPECTED TO CELEBRATE THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE COUNTRY LIKE JULY 14TH IN FRANCE, BUT NOT AT ALL…

First I was surprised when doing my shopping on Tuesday evening discovering quite naturally Cueca dancers at the entrance of the supermarket between washing powder and milk shelves. Even customers left their trolleys to dance cueca to thunderous applause. But a voice over the supermarket’s PA system reminds me that I had no time to see this show because as I learnt, for one of the few times during the year, the supermarket will be closing at 7:30 p.m. !!! But I wasn’t at the end of my discoveries… As a small fashion addict I know the crowds that go to the first day of sales, but here it the crowd snatched every piece of meat! The meat shelves were actually empty, there also wasn’t any fresh bread and people were stressed in the queue to not have their long-awaited order…

But I will not speak about my shopping list nor my first night in a Fonda, let’s focus on my first day in Parque O’Higgins. I was there at 1 p.m. to be in advance before the military parade walking between itinerant salesmen, knock-down stand of food, souvenirs (even an Eiffel tower as you can see in the slide show), or more ”traditional” clothes and jewellery.

With my journalist friends we came to the meadow of Parque O’Higgins and what a surprise to discover so many kites!!!!!! It was like in my little girl’s dream : kites everywhere, all sizes all styles (as traditional like Chilean flag as princess kite) and no age limit to practice! We bought a small one, a Chilean flag kite of course, but buying it wasn’t the most difficult part… First try, first fail…

But I wasn’t the only one who didn’t succeed at flying the kite. All my partners tried and all failed. When I saw children doing it quite simply in comparison with me like the most terrible novice, I was desperate. But in my misfortune there was renewed hope: a Chilean family saw my disappointment and chose to help me instead of laughing (or just few times when I screamed because my kite successfully flew).

I have to admit: flying a kite is an art! To reassure me the father of the family told me that he makes kite that’s why he and his sons are so strong… Well, nice try but I felt still bad. But my “kite challenge” was shortened by the beginning of the brass band and the military parade.

Unfortunately during my “kite-challenge-obstinacy” many people took place in front of barrier to see the parade and I couldn’t see anything, except flat-topped Chilean military cap… And I thought it could be a greater idea to see all the show on TV, comfortably well set up, without anyone hiding me the show and it was the first time that I saw President Piñera.

After the military parade – which is longer than I thought- rethinking of my full first times-day I consider myself as lucky because: even if I couldn’t buy everything I wanted (and trust me the list is long) I bought a kite -which is my new hobby by the way.

Even if I didn’t win an aquatic turtle nor I couldn’t get on a horse (as the lucky boy in this photo) nor wearing a beautiful dress like the princess girl, I could take pictures of them and remember to do the same with my future children. Even if I’m still hopeless at flying kites, I met a fantastic family which tried to teach me with an honest smile. Even if I didn’t see the military parade before my eyes, I can say that soldiers learnt very well their lessons to walk perfectly together. And even if it was just one day I can say that it was a full day of my first Chilean experiences.

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