Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sam rides a mechanical bull

"Any last words?" "I hope this doesn't end up on YouTube"

Well there's a headline you probably thought you'd never read. But yes indeed, yesterday we went to a bigger, more organized Fonda, and I rode a mechanical bull. Not well, but I did it. There is a video, but I will only share it if lots of people leave comments on this post :)

Let me back up first. Yesterday at the Bicicleta Verde party, Caroline and I were determined to make some new friends so we would have knowledgeable people to do things with around Santiago. We arranged plans to meet up with a few people the next day to go to a big Fonda at Parque Padre Huartodo. Unlike the free Fonda we went to on our own, this one was much more than just endless booths of food and cheap plastic toys you can buy.

We saw a Chilean rodeo, which is different from what you'd typically see in the states. Instead of a cowboy trying to ride a bucking bull, there were two cowboys on horses trying to herd a calf around the rodeo ring and eventually through a gate. The interesting part is that Chilean horses can run sideways, so there would be one cowboy chasing the calf from behind, and another one with the horse pointed straight at the calf, riding sideways along the calf's route. See the picture below to get the idea.
Seems like the calf is outnumbered here...
All in all, it was a pretty humane version of rodeo. The calf sometimes got slammed into the wall pretty hard, but there was no blood shed and it wasn't like bull fighting where you go until someone dies. On the other hand, this made it a little dull after you'd seen a few rounds - nothing exciting or unusual ever seemed to happen.

You can tell from the layers and gloves that it was pretty cold outside! We are ready for South American summer.
We also got a chance to try a famous Chilean drink, called the terremoto, or earthquake. When I first heard about this, I thought it sounded like a jokey thing that Americans had made up for parties in Chile, but this is actually a super popular drink here. The Fonda was like 1% gringos, and yet every restaurant had terremotos on the menu, and many were advertising SUPER terremotos, whatever that was. It is made with something called "rough wine", with a scoop of pineapple sherbet and a drizzle of grenadine. The result is very sweet, and only kind of tasty.

I've heard two explanations for the name, both entertaining. One story is that it was invented shortly after a major earthquake (decades ago), when someone mixed a drink with the only things that they had left in their home after the earthquake. The second explanation is that after you've had a couple, it feels like there is an earthquake because you will be so unsteady!

OK, I know what you are all thinking. "This is very interesting, but when will we hear about the trapped Chilean miners?" Well, that moment is now! At the Fonda, they had an exhibit about the technology used to rescue the miners, and they even had one of the rescue carriers. Here is Caroline standing in front of it.

OK, that's all from the Fonda. There IS a video of me "riding" the mechanical bull, and I will share the link if this post gets comments from at least 5 different people!


  1. hmmm, that is a lot of rodeos for Caroline to have been to in a year, just sayin'

    Also the comment count is 1 for mechanical bull purposes...

  2. count it.
    I bet after the bull ride, sam is super wobbly like he's in a terremoto.

  3. i am enjoying all of your antics. i have to live vicariously . in my next life i wouldn't do bull riding of any sort/

  4. Mas Bull por favor. Enjoying the blog. Didn't check it for a couple days, so I had my work cut out for me getting caught up. You guys are so thorough.

  5. I of course have to see the video. Just glad that you rode the bull with less injury than skiing!!!

  6. Please please post the video- unless you got hurt, then I can't bear to watch!

  7. That's so cool that you guys got to see actual rescue equipment for the Chilean miners! I saw an exhibit on the rescue at the Smithsonian in DC earlier this year. What an amazing story.

    Also +1 for video.