The eighteenth of September is Chile's Independence Day.
In Puerto Williams, at least, the celebration is a serious affair. Three nights of dancing, and a long weekend of serious eating (and more-or-less serious drinking).
The centerpiece, as you can see from these pics, is the performance of the Chilean national dance, la cueca. To be Chilean, you must be able to dance the cueca, a friend tells us.
Spurs are optional, though a good idea. The handkerchief is mandatory.
People practice for the event, and dress the part. The men are dressed as huasos - Chilean cowboys. The women, I'm not sure. Perhaps they're huasas?
People dance with the perfect match of spirit and seriousness. It seems like a tradition that is fully alive, at least here in the sticks.
Some of the other yachties who came down with us this first night stayed until three in the morning and danced their own versions of the cueca. For the Galactic crew, leaving at nine thirty for a very delayed boys' bed time of ten o'clock felt like quite enough.
We ventured back on Saturday for dinner at a very un-Chilean early hour. There was no dancing and the crowds were sparse, but there were games for the kids and we could all eat some Chilean food. Plus, I got to try the terremoto - the "earthquake" - a Chilean favorite that features white wine, grenadine, and ice cream.