I’m fonda’ Fondas!

Today I went with my host family to a Fonda in Vitacura. A Fonda, for those of you who don’t know, is a huge outdoor festival with lots of food, music, games, rides and Cueca dancing!

These things are huge! And they’re basically just an explosion of national pride and traditional Chilean culture, which meant I had no shortage of new things to experience.

Remember the Mote con Huesillo?

Me and my Mote con Huesillo
Me and my Mote con Huesillo

These things were everywhere. I couldn’t find water or lemonade, but EVERY vendor was selling Mote con Huesillos (non-alcoholic, peach juice with grain), Terremotos (white wine, grenadine and pineapple sorbet) or Fanschop (half beer, half Fanta). I don’t know about you, but I’m a purist when it comes to wine and beer. They just shouldn’t be tampered with.

My choices of food were, of course, Empanadas, or some kind of grilled meat. (Typically Choripán or Anticuchos). It’s a good thing I’m not a vegetarian.

In the middle of all the food vendors there was a huge dance floor for people to dance Cueca and just next to that was this appetizing site….

Cordero al asador, “Lamb on a spit”
Cordero al asador, “Lamb on a spit”

Another new experience for me was the rodeo. You know that expression, “this isn’t my first rodeo”? Well this WAS my first rodeo, and to be honest, it was kind of hard to watch. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great parts to the show. These people are so skilled with their horses (they can even make the horses dance “Cueca”), but a good portion of the show was watching this poor exhausted cow get chased in circles until it was captured by the cowboy. Then it was released and prodded back up so someone else could have a go at it.

Cowboys trying to capture the cow at the Rodeo
Cowboys trying to capture the cow at the Rodeo

The cow was lassoed, slammed into walls, and I’m pretty sure at some point just collapsed from exhaustion. Part of me wondered if the poor thing was thinking, “I give up! Just turn me into a hamburger already!”

Another striking cultural difference was the game area of the fair. Sure, they had many of the same games we would expect to find at a state fair in the U.S.

Well…except for the archery

Archery: one of the many fun games at the Fonda
Archery: one of the many fun (and slightly dangerous) games at the Fonda

And this bubble thing…

Person in a giant buble
I don’t know..

But what really took me by surprise were the prizes!

Prize table displaying candy and booze
Prize table: note the vodka next to the bag of Doritos. Win both of those and you’ve got a great night ahead of you!

You can win Liquor! All the tables were covered with this spread of different types of candy for the kids, and among all the candy were these bottles of liquor! I couldn’t believe it. There were a lot more adults in the game area than usual though, so I guess it was a good incentive for people to play bingo.

Some other new attractions included the parrots…

Me with a parrot on my shoulder, like a pirate!
Mi nuevo amigo chileno

I’m still not quite sure what those were about, unless maybe they’re the National Bird of Chile.

And of course, what Fonda would be complete without the Fénix Rescue Capsule from the 2010 Chilean Mining Accident.

Me next to the Fénix Rescue Capsule
Me next to the Fénix Rescue Capsule

If you are unfamiliar with this disaster you can find out more about it here

Or just wait till the film, “The 33”, comes out in 2014. Apparently it was based on this event.

Some other cool aspects of the Fonda, were all the Mapuche artifacts and the people dressed in traditional Mapuche garb. The Mapuche, are the Native people of Chile and they still represent about %9 of Chile’s population.

Mapuche statue
Mapuche statue

One of my favorite parts of the Fonda, was all the kite flying. Something about looking out over the scenic mountain skyline and seeing a clear, blue sky, freckled with kites, just gave me hope that Spring might be on it’s way. (I’m so ready for it to get here, so I can stop borrowing Gabby’s coats!)

Santiago Skyline, with kite-filled sky
Do you see all the kites?
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One thought on “I’m fonda’ Fondas!

  1. Thanks for your pingback! I really enjoyed reading your experience about el ”Dieceocho” and its Fondas!! Looking forward to follow up and read some more of your Chilean life, Cheers Lars

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