It’s a pretty safe bet that there’s only one country on Earth that this picture could have been taken. Do you know?
There are plenty of clues here… Keywords like Fuente de Soda, Schop, Completo, and Buddy Richard are a dead giveaway to the country…
Cueca Brava even provides clues to the city.
Is it clear yet?
Chile of course… that was a no-brainer. But congrats if you named the city as Valparaíso—and quadruple points if you knew the street! (O’Higgins!)
So, for those of you still in the dark… What were the clues? Let’s go through them one by one:
Fuente de soda: a literal translation of the North American “soda fountain,” although in practice, they tend to be more of a type of sandwich shop, rather than the typical ice cream and soda shop that was so popular in the US in the 50s and 60s. For example, I have never seen them serve an ice cream soda (or a banana split or even a sundae), but they do serve beer (schop).
Escudo: One of Chile’s favorite national beers.
Schop: Draft beer. Places that sell schops are often called “schoperías.” As far as I know this is pretty standard Chilensis for a frosty (or not) mug.
Café (express / cortado): Most Chileans tend to drink instant coffee at home (Nescafé, sometimes referred to by purists as “no-es-café” (it is not coffee), has a definite corner on this large market) When they go out, they drink “café café” (coffee-coffee) and say “vale la redundancia” (it bears repeating) to explain that this is no regular coffee (which would be Nescafé) but rather REAL coffee. And it will probably come in a very small (demitasse) cup and often includes a small glass of soda water and a couple of little butter cookies on the side.
The whole coffee vs Nescafé thing warrants an entry of its own… it’ll happen one of these days.
In the meantime know that if you go to a coffee shop they’ll ask if you want “express” (espresso), cortado (café con leche), or capucchino (don’t be fooled by the name—this version comes with a ton of whipped cream).
Completo: Chilean hot dog topped with an abundance of mayonnaise, (see A Hotdog is Not a Completo).
Menú: You might think that a menu is a list of everything a restaurant has to offer. But you’d be wrong. If you ask for the menu, the waiter will be happy to recite the list of daily specials. If you want to see the full list, you’d better ask for the carta.
Colación: When it comes to lunch, Chileans seem to make a very clear distinction between almuerzo, which is the word we all learned in Spanish class for the midday meal, and colación. The term colación is used in relation to the quick-ish lunch that is eaten at school or work, while almuerzo is the leisurely meal eaten at home.
Cueca Brava: Also called cueca chora or cueca urbana, this is the more bohemian side of the traditional Chilean cueca (the national dance, by the way). Valparaíso vies for the title of king of the cueca. (See Choro el Piernal de la Cueca Chora, and while you’re at it, go ahead and take a look at September-style cuecas at Chile’s Fiestas Patrias: Fondas for September).
Buddy Richard: Chilean singer-song-writer and early pop star Ricardo Roberto Toro Lavín created his stage name by from Buddy Holly and the “Englishification” of his given name Ricardo. Born in 1943, his heyday was in the 1960s and early 1970s, but as this sign shows, still performs on a pretty regular basis.
So how’d you do? Did you know the inside tips to Chile?