This is a short story about tiny hand-made clay pigs called “chanchitos” (little pigs). Hailing from the small town of Pomaire an hour and change southwest of Santiago, Chile, these (mostly) three-legged pigs are said to bring good luck to those who have them. As the most dedicated readers of our blog may have seen, we have been carrying around a chanchito we creatively named “Piggy” as a good luck totem and a tiny keepsake from home.
He’s joined us on our biggest excursions, stowing away in Anna’s toiletries bag during to see Machu Picchu and hiding in our first aid kit so he could tag along on our W trek. So, having a day to kill in Santiago, it only seemed right to bring Piggy to his hometown and possibly find him a traveling partner.
Two busses and one hilariously inaccurate 80’s Night poster later…
…we arrived in Pomaire. The first thing we did was head to a restaurant for the other thing that Pomaire is famous for: giant empanadas. Ours was a 1kg monster filled with all kinds of meat, egg, onion, and cheese which we split for lunch. And it was surprisingly pretty good.
After lunch we wandered from artisanal stand to artisanal stand, searching for a chanchito small enough to carry around with us that would be a good complement to Piggy. What we found was pretty odd. Among the thousands of chanchitos, plates, bowls, spoons, and other household utensils were many other fun things. For example, spider pig:
What we didn’t notice until after we photographed Spider Pig were the penises surrounding it. Thinking this may be the fetishistic lunacy of one person, we giggled and walked on.
But there were more:
Apparently people drink out of these things. We didn’t have the heart to ask any more questions, so we just snickered, photographed, and walked on.
Potentially even weirder than the penises were the ETs that kept showing up:
Ultimately, though we found a little stand tucked way back in an alley operated by a very friendly woman. While we were there she showed us some of her chanchitos, which were unique in that they were sitting up rather than assuming the traditional three legged pose. Even more impressive, she was making them even while we talked with her. And this is how we came to pick up…Piggy 2 (name still being worked out).
Hopefully two helper pigs are better than one.