No doubt in order to balance Black Thursday, God in her infinite wisdom, decided last week to gift us with Chilean Wednesday. As I watched the events taking place, thousands of miles away in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile, with the rest of the world, I too cried. For the first time in months I felt uplifted and hopeful. I also swooned slightly due to the constant presence of the handsome Laurence Golborne, Chile’s Mining Minister whose huge smile shone forth from under his hard hat and dominated much of the coverage. He’s apparently now a superstar in his homeland and has been tipped as the possible next President. He’d make a great guest on The Late Late Show, which is having a dearth of good guests at the moment. But I digress.
I know nothing about Chile, except their red wine of which I am very fond. On Chilean Wednesday I discovered that their Spanish is a lot easier to understand than that spoken in Spain. Perhaps they talk slower. There were other things that struck me about Chile too.
Chileans exude an innate warmth and informality. There was little hand shaking at Camp Hope. No, it was all hugs and kisses and back slapping. Both President Pinera and Mr Golborne (did you notice his lovely teeth?) greeted each miner with a huge bear hug. They also hugged and kissed the miners families and loved ones. Although in the same situation I am not sure how keen I would be on Brian Cowan lunging forward to deliver a hug or even, God forbid, a kiss!
Chileans have sex appeal in a way that I doubt we in Ireland will ever have. Considering that they had just endured 69 days trapped in the heat below the desert, these men appeared as Rock Stars as each one emerged from what looked like a miniature reverse rocket, in their Bonoesque shades. Could you imagine how a group of Irish Miners trapped under a bog might look – even with trendy sunglasses? From the oldest to the youngest, these guys all exuded a confidence that only comes from knowing you look darn good!
Their ‘rock star’ make-over included a team t-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘Gracias Senor’ or Thank God. Only Chilean Miners led by the gorgeous Mr Golborne could rehabilitate God in such an immediate and effective way, given what the various religions have done to him over the years.
I am left in awe of this South American country. We should be very jealous of them.
We need some of this magic. We need some of the media savvy that ensured the whole world shared in this magical rescue. They took a huge risk in inviting us all to be such an intimate part of the proceedings. Had it gone horribly wrong, President Pinera and Mr Golborne would have been left offering explanations and apologies. But it didn’t go wrong. It worked and beautifully. Why? Perhaps because they believed it would. Perhaps because they had ‘Senor’ onside. Perhaps because they have the sexiest Minister I have seen in a long time in charge. All of which does not bode well for Ireland’s recovery from our financial hellhole.
Great post, Barbara. I wish we had some of that zing here too. Inspiring indeed. Chileans are lovely. I knew quite a few when I lived in Sweden in the 70s and they were refugees of Pinochet. Glad they're in a better place nowadays as they have certainly had their dark days.
Yes we could do with some of the Chilean fighting spirit in England too. Maybe we could start of by trying to smile even a fraction as much as they do. 🙂
Oh it was such an amazing day – I told the boys about it and there were really interested. A real boost in these generally crappy, financial-disaster times! As for Chilean wine – hmm, now there's a thought…what time is it?
It was a wonderful end to an inspiring story. And yes, yer man is gorgeous. But as Maya says the Pinochet regime was brutal and it happened not all that long ago. How things have changed for them.
Great post Barbara – you articulated it so well! I've been mildly swooning at the hunky mining minister (do we have one? doubt he'd look like that!) and the Pres Sebastian wasn't too bad either – though I preferred him in the gear at the rescue than in a suit in London- must be the macho effect. What an inspiration it all was – a globally uniting force. To keep it all in perspective I read that two miners died in Chilean mines since the rescue, so there's a lot to be done to ensure safety.
'sGreat to see the country rising from the ashes of Pinochet terror regime and the scandal of the Allende assassination, with all its dirty tricks collusion and CIA links – I love Isabelle Allende's writing though I haven't read her for a while.
Saw the link on Twitter. Drop by my blog sometime – it's nothing as cerebral as yours but it's fun to do!
All the best, Catherine
Greetings Barbara from sunny Tenerife! Loved your post. Tenrfie is part of Spain but is nearer to africa by about 1,000 km. Its people have stronger ties with South America than Spain, mostly with Venezuela rather than Chile. Sorry about that. As you mention in your blog they speak with a sing song accent that makes it easier for us gringos and gringas to understand. Chile is a country that suffered terribly in the very recent past. The sexy minister is to be congratulated for taking personal responsibility for the situation within 24 hours. He could have appointed a tribunal, or looked for a report, or kicked to touch. Irish politicans of all sides have to start being accountable. Anyway, well done as always. P
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I left a comment here this morning but it seems the gremlins have eaten it up!!! It was really rather clever too. I just can't remember it now. And no it wasn't the one I deleted above.