Still Kickin’

Hello dedicated reader base (those of you who are still around)! I am alive.

I emerged from a whirlwind trip through Peru, only to emerge into two weeks of tests and essays, and I promised myself that I would not take the time to update until I had finished my work and hit another temporary lull in the school schedule.

So here I am, a bit battered and bloody from a week with three essays due (2 8-pagers and one 4-pager, in Spanish), and after procrastinating a bit more, I’m forcing myself to do some writing before I can go to bed.

In the interest of time, I think I’m going to streamline several topics that could certainly warrant full posts, and I’m going to hold off on pictures until I have way more time for that. The WordPress upload system is fine, but does not lend itself to big albums or slow connections. Also, I’m going to talk about Peru separately.

• I had the opportunity to cover the presidential debate here in Chile for the Santiago Times, which was pretty amazing. I’ve pretty much taken over the politics beat for the paper, so my editor got me and Kendal (photographer) press passes to go. I got to sit in the section for “Accredited Press” near the front, and chatted up another reporter, who I actually ended up walking back into town with afterward. The debate itself was interesting, if a bit dry, as the three main candidates failed to really say anything, as to be expected. The one candidate up there without any real chance of winning was the only one to take any sort of stand on anything, and it only really got exciting when everyone started accusing each other of breaking various laws, from insider trading to failure in campaign finance disclosure, which are for sure sexy topics.

I was more than a little concerned that I would not be able to understand the Spanish in the debate, but it turned out to not be too incomprehensible for the majority, except for the young Marco Enríquez-Ominami, who talks ridiculously quickly. All in all, a fun night, including the drinks I snuck from the reception afterward, though I didn’t get home until 2 am and was forced to try to write the article with my internet popping in and out. Here’s the article.

• I went to the Gay Pride Parade in Santiago a couple weekends ago, and met up with a surprisingly high number of gringo friends in Plaza Italia, a few blocks from my apartment. There was a mobile stage set up, with a few emcees spurring on the audience and talking about various things, including candidates coming up and talking about how much they support the “gay cause.” They introduced the cast members for the first “gay” TV show in Santiago, and brought out the musical guest: Lady Gaga, a popular singer and outspoken supporter of the gay community. This turned out to be a man in drag, naturally, but the audience loved it, and sang along loudly. The stage, which was attached to a truck, pulled away, with people singing and dancing (including two men in very small, tight underwear), and led the parade down Alameda, blasting music and good cheer. We all followed, many with drinks or other substances in hand, and followed the crowd (which numbered in the high thousands; I heard one estimate of 25,000) to La Moneda, the presidential palace, where it stopped and set up camp.

While walking, I noticed that I was one of the very very few straight guys that came to the parade, though it reminded me of the severe uneasiness when we tried to get our Chilean friend to come with us to a gay club.

“Straight people don’t go to gay clubs here.”

“No really, it’s fine. It’ll be fun!”

“No, really. Straight people don’t go to gay clubs here.”

We eventually went in, but he was very uncomfortable. Anyway, where was I?

As it happens, even streamlining takes a long time, so I’m going to head to bed and catch up a bit later. Articles will be posted soon and photos will be added, and many other things will be done in the passive voice in the time to come.

Peace out.

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