I played pickup soccer last Thursday with Enrique, one of the other Startup Chile entrepreneurs and Cristóbal, a Chilean I knew from UW. We played 8v8 (futbolito) on a small field at San Carlos de Aponquindo, which is Universidad Católica’s soccer complex. It was a really cool setup on the far east side of Santiago, in an area called Las Condes, which is the foothills of the mountains. We played at 9pm, so we got a great view of the city from the field.
In addition to the main stadium and fields for plenty of other sports, there are at least 12 small sided soccer fields with artificial turf, lights, goals and everything you’d need to play a game. You can rent the fields and play with your friends. Enrique’s friends had rented the field and needed extra players so I got to come.
The level of play was like good high school with a few D3 college players thrown in and there were some fun differences from pickup games that I’m used to in the US. We played with throw ins when the ball went out and in the US, we normally just pass it in and get the ball moving again. Chilean pickup games include slide tackling, but they’re good at it, so there weren’t any bad challenges. Chileans play a technical style, with lots of small passes and quick footwork, but it’s not just one guy dribbling all the time. You don’t have to run nearly as much. Chileans would rather score with a bunch of small passes leading to an open goal, rather than take long, hard shots. Sort of like Arsenal’s style.
On defense, you are supposed to go in and make tackles, no matter where you are on the field. I’ve always been trained to drop, give ground and force the attacker to make a mistake, until they get close to the attacking third, so they were always urging me to jump in and make a tackle. My style worked most of the time, because they weren’t used to it. We also played with goalkeepers, which was much more fun than not, like we normally do in the US. I’m used to talking all the time on the soccer field, but I didn’t know any of the slang for man on, tackle him, you take him etc, so it was hard from time to time. I’m hoping to figure out a way to play at least once a week while I’m in Chile.
It seems to me that Facebook is basically a dating site in Chile. People friend each other much more quickly here than they do in the US and use Facebook chat all the time. According to a few different Chileans, it’s normal to friend someone, then start chatting with them using Facebook chat, right away. I’ve been on the receiving end a few times and it’s quite different from what I’m used to. Most people don’t seem to use any of the privacy settings either. Apparently MSN messenger is really popular here too.
In the US, I use Facebook mostly to stay in touch with close friends, not meet new people. I rarely friend someone I just met and have my privacy setting up really high. I also rarely use facebook chat, in favor of gchat with my friends that I actually email. I also use Facebook to share blog posts and interesting links. Here, it seems different.
If you’re young and don’t like to dance, you probably won’t have much fun here. It’s quite the contrast to Madison, where most of the bars are consist of loud music and people just standing around. Here, there’s live music, djs and people love to dance. As any large capital city, there’s lots of great bands that come through Santiago, so we’ve seen Girl Talk and a few other bands. Lollapalooza just announced that they’re expanding from Chicago to Santiago while we’ll be here, too.
The only liquor I’ve had since I’ve been here is pisco, which comes from grapes. It’s really good and we normally mix it with coke or sprite to make piscola or piscola blanca. It’s either 35 or 40% alcohol and really cheap. A 750ml bottle of really good stuff is about $10 and many times comes with a bottle of coke/sprite.
I think I’ve seen some sort of protest just about every day I’ve been here. Most are very small, but there was a larger one a few days ago about the government’s attempt to cut government worker wages. I’ve seen people protesting animal rights, public workers and a few that I couldn’t figure out. The metro isn’t working today because the drivers are on strike, which isn’t a big deal since it’s Sunday.
So far, I’m really enjoying being in Chile. The people are nice, the weather is beautiful and business is going good. I have a few longer posts written that I’ll be publishing over the next few days, so be sure to check back.