The headlines for this country:
(Click on screenshot)
I am now ensconced in a hotel by the port in Valparaiso, Chile (the port for the capital of Santiago), and will be leaving in a few days for cruise #1. Chile, as you probably know, is in deep turmoil, with people protesting all kinds of financial inequities as well as corruption. It started as a revolt after the fares in the Santiago Metro were raised, with protestors torching buses and wrecking over 20 Metro stations. The president of Chile then backed down and didn’t raise the fares.
But it didn’t matter. The protests are continuing in several large cities (including Valparaiso), and, as CNN reports, 15 people have been killed. Here’s more:
Several cities in the country have also been placed under a state of emergency as thousands have taken to the streets. The corporate headquarters of a utility company in downtown Santiago were firebombed Friday, and on Saturday, in the port city of Valparaiso, the offices of the country’s oldest newspaper, Mercurio were torched, Reuters reported.
Hundreds of flights were canceled from Santiago Airport over the weekend and schools have closed. Images on social media show long lines of people queued up outside supermarkets in the capital waiting to buy food and supplies.
My own initial flight to Santiago (on the national airline, LATAM) was canceled the night before I was to leave, and I had to scrabble for a replacement. Fortunately, American Airlines has a nonstop flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Santiago, and I arrived in Santiago this morning, where a nice driver met me and drove me the 90 km to Valparaiso.
There are not many obvious signs of the turmoil where I am. The lines at ATMs are long, and I’m told that there isn’t much food to be had. People are clearly worried. And in Valparaiso we’re under a 6 pm curfew. But my hotel has food and we’re safe here until the ship arrives (the MS Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian vessel and the world’s first hybrid cruise ship), and in four days we’ll be aboard.
I was told people were worried about me, but I’m fine. Thanks for your concern.
Here’s a 20-minute tour of the ship I’ll be on (this is its maiden voyage, but don’t make Titanic jokes), and note the concentration on science. I am a bit worried about the dissection table, as I’m not sure what’s going to be dissected. . .