The Whiskey Chronicles (in Buenos Aires)

The Whiskey Chronicles (in Buenos Aires)

Friday, May 20, 2005

For the Love of Sport

I like the idea of soccer. I respect the notion that soccer players, for the most part, don't get any timeouts, that there are few substitutions, and that soccer fans are so insanely dedicated that countries like Brazil can build stadiums holding 100,000 people that still sellout. Besides, everytime I see some major league baseball player rounding third with his gut flabbing back and forth and a curdle of tobacco-filled drool sliding down his chin, I can't help but think that those guys aren't real athletes.

But for all my love of the ideal of soccer, it doesn't mean I know anything about the game. I tried to learn a few things last week with my latest article, which you can access online at:

Friday, May 13, 2005

Don't Panic! (thanks to Douglas Adams for this one)

In my experience, whenever government officials have to ask the public to remain calm, there's usually a very high likelihood that that won't happen.

A little background: Last week Congress passed an oil & gas law that has the multinational business community threatening to go to court and stop further investments in the country. It also has the most radical leftist groups angry because they want to nationalize the industry, or at least tax it to death. Congress sent the bill to the President, who had two options: revise portions of the bill and return it to Congress, or approve it.

On Tuesday the President decided to punt, saying he would send the entire bill back to Congress (essentially a veto) but calling for a Grand Meeting of National Unity on Monday to draft an entirely new bill. The only thing is, he neglected to find out if anyone wanted to go to his meeting. Sure enough, Congress said no way, the Supreme Court said no way, and this afternoon the meeting was called.

Protests had already been planned for next week, but the hope was that the unity meeting would put them off. No more. The government is now urging the public to "remain calm". Fortunately, my sister-in-law and her mother are already on their flight to La Paz and will have no idea what's going on until we brief them at the airport. Wish us luck.

Monday, May 09, 2005

For those wondering if I'm doing any work, one or two more stories should be out later this week.

For those wondering what I do when I'm not working, you might remember that last February, Dana and I were up in El Alto with Habitat for Humanity. A few weeks ago, we helped inaugurate the completed 3-bedroom home for Martin and Lucia Huanca and their two children. Martin and Lucia are now responsible for making $25 monthly payments over the next 12-13 years to pay off the $4000 cost of the home. In a country where most people make less than $100/month, that's a substantial bill.

The volunteers on the project were all Americans associated with the U.S. embassy, which donated a pile of towels, sheets, and food to help stock the new home, one of the realtively few in the area with running water and electricity. Check out our group shot below. (Admiring comments on the high-quality brick work can be sent my way...)

Martin is second from the right (in baseball cap). His wife Lucia is wearing the blue v-cut sweater. Their children are in the middle. Posted by Hello