In the middle of a regular day at the Adya office, we got a call from Chile. The country. Its embassy in Belgium. If we would be interested in joining a mission of importers to Chile. Well..
This trip was one of a kind. As a young company in start-up modus, isn't it too soon to just join unknown people to a country that for now wasn't on our project list?
The ProChile organisation really worked it out. Space and time in between meetings and field trips to get to know the country and its products and producers. Let's go to the food markets, the shopping streets and churches to find out. Freedom, you would say. Just trying out one of the food stalls in the Mercado Central and find out that the owner is Dutch in between shipping trade missions. Learn about the young man from Haiti looking for his luck selling fish on the other side. Migration is a story far beyond the European fences, that's for sure.
What is Santiago de Chile like? It's pretty big in fact. We see a center resembling a European capital city in infrastructure and facilities. But like in Asian cities we've been too, while you might find a European link to somehow sooth your mind, it's the street next to the shopping street that gives a view on city life in the capital of Chile. It isn't necessarily bright and shiny. The Spanish churches, the gigantic Chilean flags on the roundabouts reflect pride and a history of trade and fortune. We also see reminders of the main Chilean features like the Easter Islands, the Atacama desert near Peru and 5000 km to the south of that the tip of the continent, close to Antarctica.
Reflecting on it now, this 'feel free to walk around' introduction in Chile the first day of arrival gave us a first taste of Chile. As if to prepare us for what would come the following days in the planned visits and meetings with producers.
The tapas and ceviche dish were food for the mind..