(September 18, 2015) – This year Mark W. Suits, a photographer with Veterans Today Paris Bureau and I had the pleasure and honor to celebrate Fiestas Patrias at the Embassy of Chile in Paris on September 18. The Fiestas Patrias, is referred to in Chile as Decieciocho, or “18th” because it occurs on September 18th.
When we arrived at the Embassy of Chile there was a long line of guests waiting to enter. Then we climbed the circular staircase to be greeted by a reception line where the Ambassador of Chile, Patricio HALES and other dignitaries welcomed guests. Ambassador HALES immediately recognized me from last year and welcomed us.
I went to one of several bars and enjoyed a Pisco Sour. I met several military men. José Jorquero with the Chilean air force just arrived a few days before. I told him that his son could get French lessons in a special program from the French government but he would lose a year of school to persue this program or attend private school. He thanked me for the information and told me he was happy to be transferred to Paris.
I met José Manuel Watson,chargé des Affaires from the Embassy of Panama in Paris . He was happy to talk with me in Spanish.
The guests were cordial and Mark and I enjoyed talking with many people from Chile, France and countries in Latin America.
Delicious typical Chilean food meat and cheese empanadas and special sandwiches were served by waiters and waitresses.They even had with hamburgers at one of the bars. For dessert lovers, there were a variety of great desserts. In addition to pisco sour sand soft drinks there were several stands which offered wine from Chile. I especially liked the red wine.
The ornate decoration of the embassy including a chandelier, tapastries and some interesting statues contributed to the atmosphere of festivities.
A real treat for guests was when a gentleman played the piano and people sang and danced. It added to the festivities.
After talking with the other guests and enjoying the food and drink, we descended the spiral staircase. It was a great event.