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Published: November 29th 2012
In the true spirit of being a backpacker, when I was randomly invited away on an AFL end of season football trip over the weekend to Pichilemu I graciously accepted.
The Santiago Saints are the only AFL club in Chile. About 10 years ago a local Chilian guy got into contact with the AFL in Australia and they sent him over some footballs and training kits. Since then it has grown and they have a couple of teams within the club that play against each other, so I guess either way; the club always wins.
We set off on Friday night to make the supposed 3.5 hour drive south west to Pichilemu. However in true AFL fashion the guys were sinking cans on the bus which resulted in us needing to stop every 20 mins so that they could form a conga line along the side of the road. Needless to say, it took us an extra hour to get there.
The first thing on the agenda was surf school. After an average temperature of 28 for the whole time that I had been in Santiago, in my head I was envisioning
blue skys, white beaches and crystal clear waters. In reality as I strolled down the streets of the quaint little town (there were horses and carts!) I was instead faced with a gray sky, gray water and black sand. Although I was aware that it is black because of the volcanos, I still could not comprehend how sitting on said sand did not make me dirty. To top it all off, the current in the ocean comes up from Antarctica so it was actually freezing and when you go surfing they also give you surfing thermals and booties. So basically there was no chance that I was going in!
The ladies national surf champions were also on that weekend so we headed out to the comp. However the pros had already finished so we got to watch all the amateurs eat it instead.
In true Australian form, a massive BBQ was put on that night for the whole team and some of their families. For the first time since I was very little I ate 'shrimp on the babrie'. I must admit it was really good. The seafood here is so fresh that it
really makes me wonder why Australia, the biggest island in the world cannot manage to have such fresh seafood readily available to the general public.
The local discotheque was so full given the surf championships. Over here in Chile they absolutely love a type of music called 'reggaeton'. It originates from Puerto Rico and it combines latino beats with electronica and rap. Back home the mainstream reggaeton song that comes to mind is Gasolina by Daddy Yankee. They just cannot get enough of it. I even saw a guy driving along in a hearse with the windows down pumping reggaeton. Now that just isn't appropriate! Luckily there wasn't a body in the back.
All in all it was an amazing weekend. The guys on the team were so lovely and very welcoming. They even helped me with my Spanish and would interpret for me when it all got too much.
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