London, Oct. 19 (ANI): When Chilean President Sebastian Pinera arrived at 10 Downing Street here yesterday, waiting for him were 33 bottles of beer.
The London Pride ale was not intended for his personal consumption but as a gift for the 33 miners who were rescued last week from a collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine, the Scotsman reports.
It was a belated but symbolic granting of a request the miners made during their 69-day ordeal, that they get some beer, but their rescuers would not oblige.
In addition to the beer, however, the head of state was given a more presidential gift of an early edition of Robinson Crusoe - which was based on a real-life castaway on a Chilean island.
In return, Pinera brought with him gifts and mementos relating to the miners' rescue. He had with him copies of the note sent by the miners that alerted rescuers that they were still alive - it reads, "All 33 of us are well inside the shelter" - which he presented to Prime Minister David Cameron and, at a reception last night in Buckingham Palace, the Queen.
Pinera also presented both the Queen and Cameron with chunks of rock from the mine site.
The media scrum that awaited Pinera in Downing Street was among the largest since the general election in May.
Pinera's European tour, which began in London, may help brighten the image of a country many still associate with the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. (ANI)