Weekend trip to the Coast
Trip Start Jun 03, 2006
14Trip End Jul 05, 2006
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Second, Congratulations Joyce and Steve and Zoe on the new addition to the family!! I expect to start hearing some news and seeing pictures.
Well, this weekend, we took a trip by bus to the coast.
Valporaiso: On Friday, we first headed to Valporaiso to visit Chile's Congress. Chile is the only country in the world that has the Legislature in a city other than the capital (Santiago). The Congress is in another city because Pinochet (previous dictator) moved congress away from his own headquarters to decrease their power and influence
Anyway, the Congress was a Congress. It had some cool doors, though.
After the tour, we had lunch and there was a Congressperson eating with us. Mohammad, Erin, and I happened to be placed at the table with this guy (whose name I don't remember) and his wife. We talked throughout lunch. This guy identified with the right wing party. However, right wingers in this country are actually very progressive and smart on a lot of issues compared to America. The only issues where the right and left disagree significantly in Chile are on the so-called "moral issues." Basically, the religious ones: Abortion, Right-to-Die, and Sex Education. However, he was pretty great on Human Rights issues, etc.
At the end of lunch, he stood up and addressed the entire group and answered questions. During this, he mentioned that he is of Palestinian descent. Mohammad's and my ears perked up. Turns out, his family was from Bethlehem, and the mayor from Beit Jala had just dined with him last week, two tables over. He also informed us that there are eight Palestinians in Chile's Congress. Another interesting tidbit that we learned, from his wife that is a judge, that 80% of circuit judges are women. However, there are almost no women judges in the appellate level and only one on the supreme court.
Vina Del Mar: After Valpo, we traveled the ten other miles or so to Vina Del Mar, a small coastal town, mostly for tourists
I really wanted to go body surfing, also, but we were told not to, as there is syphilis in the water. I am skeptical but I refrained anyway. I am holding out for the hot tub in the Andes.
Last night, we came back "home" to Santiago. I did some reading and was treated to a great bowl of homemade soup, courtesy of household 705. Mmmm.