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Chile

The flight down was as good as any 24 hour door-to-door without lots of money can be. Or better, I got an early flight out of La Serena so saved 1.5 hours. I think it was my first time on LAN (the national airline) since my first flight down: back was operated by American, then Air Canada in 2010, and maybe Delta last year? It makes a difference: I think the seats are slightly bigger (seatguru.com), and you get metal utensils, and free wine with dinner. Good white wine too, at least by my standards. OTOH, seatguru's promise of seat power was a lie, as was the claim that seat F had less legroom due to the enterainment unit under the seat; in fact, that was D, aka my seat. I turned out to have DEF to myself, though.

The entertainment options are ridiculously extensive; I ended up watching some 21st season Simpsons episodes. I've heard Simpsons had gone downhill, but I found them funny.

Surprising bit was advertising for a certain printer/toner company in the middle of the "where in the world" plane map cycle. Also how the route seemed to curve to the west of South America, not a straight line route.



When I first landed in 2008, I called S to come get me and said "I'm at the station". I have outside photos from this visit, but haven't uploaded them yet. http://mindstalk.net/Chile2008/img_2851.html shows the interior; it shows literally half the airport building. Planes dump you out on the tarmac, you want directly into the luggage room, which opens into where I was standing to take the photo.

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Despite being "socialist now!' G says Pinochet had his good points, as murderous dictators go, the biggest being stepping down peacefully when he lost a plebiscite. Given that he came in by overthrowing an elected president this sounds simplistic to me, but it's clearly better than Assad. My friends said he also gets credit for the low-corruption government and police in Chile; he'd wanted Chile to be a First World country, and knew cutting corruption was a key part. Not clear how it was done, though S said applicants to the carabineros are heavily screened; not only do you have to be crime-free, but so does your family. And they're paid decently; the first rule of preventing corruption must be to make sure your officials *can* live decently without taking bribes. (Attn: Mexico.)

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The 3.5 year old has not said anything that proves she remembers me, but we sure fell into familiar patterns fast. I'd been unable to recall her saying anything intelligible last year, but memories of a little voice saying "Push, Damien, push!" got unlocked as I once again pushed her around the patio on a little truck. She's grown: now she says "push me!'

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They Might Be Giants apparently specialize i children's songs now, not that this means any marked change in their silliness or sense-making. G2 knew some world alphabet song fairly well, and I helped her find the countries in it on a small globe I brought for them (same model as the one I gushed about a few months ago.)

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S2 picked up my "Twinkle Twinkle EFG" pretty quickly.

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I got a Movistar SIM card this time; it seems to not work with my N900. The card works; was tested in another phone. My phone should work, it took Entel last year, unless it *just* fried. I was surprised T-Mobile didn't roam down here.

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My tradition of buying clothes down here continues. Instead of a hat, or its replacement, I've now gotten shorts and jeans. Turns out no one in Boston sells shorts in the winter. Pants I could have gotten, but didn't. Still need to get sandals, but the kind I want were very scarce.



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Damien Sullivan
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