Friday, October 28, 2005

Just one more day at Pensión Stein

Enrique Frei, my host at Hotel Pensión Stein

Rain this morning. I'm just not ready to leave anyway. Something, some sense of guilt, tells me I have to push on, but another voice asks "what's the rush?" I've really enjoyed being here, and that's welcome, when there have been so many places I've stayed where I had to grit my teeth and bear it. And I always feel a sense of relief when I have told the receptionist "una dia mas!" One more day.

Had breakfast this morning with the families adopting children. Afterwards we gathered on the porch, and I snapped a few photos. James is returning to Brooklyn today, Soraya staying on another week to finish up the business here.

James and Soraya DiGiorgio of Brooklyn with daughter Gabriella, and Colinda Provily and Henk Arens of Holland with sons Andrés and Manuel

From Holland, Ron and Sylvia De Boer, with sons Miguel and Alejandro. They are currently in the process of adopting little Alejandro. They first came to Colombia four years ago to adopt Miguel.

I'm enjoying getting caught up on news. The Grand Jury is expected to announce indictments today in the investigation of the leak to the press of CIA Agent Valerie Plame's identity.

Watched "Democracy Now"'s webcast. I've been fed CNN and Fox "news" throughout Central America and Colombia, and am disgusted by the lack of content in these network vanity productions. For months, one of Fox's main stories has been the case of the white girl missing in Aruba. It appears that to them, the story is more important than the war in Iraq, the earthquake in Pakistan, the AIDS epidemic in Africa, global warming, etc., etc.

At the hotel here, Fox is the only TV news option (in English), so I've had a chance to see what they parade as news. At the expense of "fair and balanced" journalism, they are blatant defenders of, and apologists for the present Administration. You really have to wonder whether they in fact broadcast from "The West Wing". Touted (by themselves) as "the most powerful news", I'm embarrassed that they represent the United States to the World.


Fox appears uncharacteristically humbled by today's indictment of Louis Libby on five counts. This seems to be shocking news to them (and to the country); which is incredible, as legitimate news sources, such as "Democracy Now" have covered this story in some detail for the past two years.

Fox commentators talk as if this is a personal attack and a personal loss: not the sign of objective reporting. They strategize about what "we" can do. Real journalists, not actors, would report the facts, without all the hand-wringing.


Meanwhile, back on my favorite subject, food. At every meal here, I find myself asking "what is this?" There's always something new and interesting. Nothing is plain, or ordinary. I'm forced to try new things. Today, a passionfruit, or maraluyá nectar was wonderful. I was also forced to enjoy Corvina in coconut sauce with potatoes au gratin and torte de pan, bread pudding. As is his custom, Enrique comes into the dining room and greets everyone, making certain all is well.

A group of 11 or 12 French seniors has arrived. At lunch, I met Jaime Guarnizo, a young food-packaging engineer from Medellin. It was an interesting chat, because in my (former) job, I worked quite often with packaging engineers.


By evening, Fox's coverage is all about putting the best spin on the day's events, discrediting the critics and minimizing the indictment's impact. As they say, today's big news is "Karl Rove was not indicted...a victory for the White House."

But even Bill O'Reilly's commentary seems quite measured and even-handed tonight. I shock myself, agreeing with his uncharacteristically-neutral assessments! "Judge Napolitano", their Senior Legal Analyst seems to be among the most objective voices on the broadcast. He has an understanding of the judicial system where others merely speculate and opine.

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