Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chilean Chat: Storms, Snow and "Reciprocity" Update


Last week, early and heavy Pacific storms hit central Chile, flooding the streets of Santiago and Valparaíso before they cleared. That’s the bad news, but the good news is that they also dropped enormous loads of snow in the nearby Andes and, this weekend, the ski resort of Valle Nevado will have one of its earliest openings ever. Barely an hour from downtown Santiago, the front brought nearly a meter (about three feet) of new snow, leaving slopes in mid-season shape. This Saturday’s opening is about three weeks ahead of the usual schedule (images courtesy of Valle Nevado).
Piñera in Washington: An Update
In a speech before the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has confirmed that Chile will soon acquire Visa Waiver Program status that will allow Chileans to visit the United States for up to 90 days without having to go through the cumbersome and expensive visa process. As I mentioned in my earlier post on the topic, he did not address the “reciprocity fee” issue but, since he was not really dealing with the issue of US tourists visiting Chile, I wouldn’t attach much importance to that.
The video above runs nearly an hour but covers numerous topics on Chilean politics, trade and international relations. The highly articulate Piñera speaks English with a mild accent.

Moon Handbooks Chile, in Saratoga
In less than two weeks – Monday, June 17, at 7 p.m., to be precise – I will offer a digital slide presentation on travel in Chile at Santa Clara Country’s Saratoga Library (13650 Saratoga Avenue, Saratoga CA 95070, tel. 408-867-6126, ext. 3817). Coverage will also include the Chilean Pacific Islands of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Juan Fernández (Robinson Crusoe), as well as southernmost Argentina (Tierra del Fuego and the vicinity of El Calafate) that appear in the book. I will also be available to answer questions about Argentina and Buenos Aires. The presentation is free of charge, but books will be available for purchase.

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