...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

How do you travel in a country where you don't speak the language?

The Israeli guy we're talking with at the hostal just called Cusco ''Cost-Co.'' Like, the huge bulk-discount stores we have in the US, or in the northwest at least.

I'm always a little baffled by people who travel to a country where they don't speak the language. One the hand, I'm impressed by their adventurism and spunk, and it's not like I speak Spanish perfectly, so of course I've had my share of misunderstandings and failures in communication too, but still. How do they...survive?

The breakfast guy at our Cusco hostal yesterday gave us the news on the Chilean presidential elections--it's going to a second round between Michelle Bachelet and Sebastian Pinera. That's not a surprise, but I am surprised that Bachelet won--according to the breakfast guy--about 44% of the vote, compared to Pinera's 35%. That's a higher percentage of the vote than I would have thought. Still, though, I think it's going to be hard for her to win in the second round. Assuming that everyone who voted for the far-right Lavín will vote for Pinera, and everyone who voted for far-left Hirsch will vote for Bachelet, Pinera's got it won. On the other hand, if Bachelet had gone up against Lavín in the second round, she could have expected to snag a lot of Pinera's center-right supporters who aren't comfortable with Lavín's far-right politics and religious extremism.

We''ll know in January, I guess.