The Eagle has Landed...
Trip Start Jan 15, 2006
52Trip End Sep 05, 2006
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Santiago is truly a very beautiful city. The good news is that the city is ringed by mountains, including several dramatic snow-capped peaks
The Chileans seem to be a very contented people. We have witnessed almost no poverty since we arrived, but, also, almost no conspicuous displays of wealth. Very few Mercedes or BMWs. There are no street beggars or unwashed kids trying to sell you Chiclets. We didn't see any angry youth. Almost everyone appears to be middle class. Why is this so? I suspect it has something to do with having a Marxist government in the early 1970's (Salvador Allende) that nationalized most of the country's wealth followed by almost twenty of years of a far-right military dictatorship (Pinochet.) Your intrepid reporter will attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery.
There was a presidential election here on Sunday. The winner, Michelle Bachelet, is a Socialist. (Don't despair. My understanding is her coalition is a Clintonesque, slightly left-of-center group who is unlikely to make a major lurch to the left.) She was educated in East Germany following her family's exile under Pinochet
The political process is much more subdued here. There appears to be limited celebrating or despair over the results. The streets are not littered with campaign advertisements. Again, the Chileans appear to be quite contented and continue to go about their business.
Tomorrow we take a cab ride to the coast, hopefully, pick up the Jeep and begin our journey in earnest.