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It’s bicentennial madness over here in Santiago, madness I tell you. I nearly got pushed off the road by a bus full of pretend huasos (people dressed up like cowboys) singing and clapping and dancing the cueca, the supermarkets are jammed, people were trying to buy alcohol (in vast quantities) at nine this morning, Chilean flags are flying everywhere,a nd I just got buzzed (in my apartment) by three giant military helicopters (no telephoto, just an open window and camera at the ready).

copter flyover

Tomorrow begins the official holiday for the 18th of September “fiestas patrias,” but you wouldn’t know it. Everything is in various states of shutting down already, and we’ll spend the next four days celebrating our (their?) Chilenidad in various ways.

So far my preparations have consisted of:

taping a postcard-sized Chilean flag to my window
buying veggies on a Thursday rather than the weekend because I don’t think my fería will be on.
asking people what their plans are for the holiday
telling people what my plans are for the holiday (mostly playing it by ear, also working)
and writing four posts for NileGuide about
the national holiday
drinks for fiestas patrias
games for fiestas patrias
and the cueca (which, btw, is what tighty-whities are called in Portuguese, but we try to hold our heads high, keep our clothes on and not worry too much about it.

I keep promising I’ll write about the fondas (parties specific to the holiday), and maybe I will, though the likelihood of me actually going to any is very slim. I have this thing about crowds, you see… Which leads me to the next thing I’m going to do to celebrate, which is go to the kickoff of the “light show” at the Moneda tonight. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be with several dozen thousands of my best friends. Followed by the third birthday celebration in a week. Feliz cumpleaños already, people!

Have a great night. Photos sure to follow!