The Chileans take their football very seriously indeed and with a lot of noise and a great deal of table thumping and singing.
How do I know this?
There is an amazing thing that happens in Santiago. At night time the streets come to life. A street, that during the day looks to be home to offices, a few small shops and some cafes, suddenly reveals itself as an avenue of small bars and restaurants. On our last night in Santiago a group of us went out for a farewell dinner.
Nightlife here doesn’t start until well after 8pm. Having dinner in a restaurant at 7pm will mean you’re probably going to be very lonely.
Coming from the city one night we’d noticed that next to the upholstery shop, where there’s usually a garage door, there was a restaurant bar; people were standing on the pavement drinking and there were tables and chairs inside.
What a great little place to have our farewell night. And it was brilliant. What we didn’t know that Chile was playing in an international soccer competition; televisions had been set up in corners and the crowd was pumped.
As we ordered our schops (500ml of beer) the Chilean team sang their national anthem and everyone in the racous bar joined in. Standing tall with their hands on their hearts everyone around us belted out the words.
This patriotic, moving song was soon followed by a fan chant – a song we’d heard the day before in the Museum of Human Rights:Chi, Le, Chi Chi Chi…..not so much a song as a chant to love of country; a song that represents to Chileans their freedom and their spirit.What a grand night, we drank, we ate (very well) and we danced and sang.Then we cried a little as we are leaving these wonderful friends.
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