The last few days have been a riot of celebrations, all to do with the dieciocho, the Chilean National Holiday on the 18th September that commemorates the invention of the empanada in 1810, the birth of John Fashanu or something. The exact origins of the festival have been lost but to make up for it the Chileans drink a lot of Pisco, eat empanadas, have asados (barbecues) and move houses around in process called the minga. Everyone in the village turned up, not just the ugly ones.
We have done our best to participate in these activities, throwing ourselves in wholeheartedly, especially the eating and drinking bits, even dancing the cueca, a dance named after a cake with handkerchiefs to represent the whipped cream and we now feel much more Chilean than before. I think Bernardo O’Higgins and Thomas Cochrane, those Chilean heroes, would be proud of us.