| Introduction | 11/22 | 11/23 | 11/24 | 11/25 | 11/26 | 11/27 | 11/28 | 11/29 | Alfred C. Snider | Debate Central |
My travel schedule was less than easy. My donated ticket left from La Guardia airport in New York but returned to Newark airport in New Jersey. I planned to drive down to the New York metropolitan area from Vermont, a not so bad six-hour drive through beautiful countryside. However, given that I left from a different airport than the one where I arrived, I made plans to drive to Newark, park my car there, and then take a shuttle to La Guardia so that I would have my car available for me when I returned to Newark. This all necessitated my leaving Vermont at about 5 AM. I actually left on time.
SOME PICTURES OF SANTIAGO TO GET YOU READY...
| THE ANDES AS SEEN FROM SANTIAGO | SANTIAGO FROM ST. LUCIA HILL |
The drive down was pleasant even though rain and fog often accompanied me. My daughter Sarah, now the program manager of the Washington, DC urban debate league (the Marshall Brennan Urban Debate League) and she talked to me about her hopes for a debate exchange with Chile for here teachers and students who spoke Spanish. She seems to be doing a great job in DC and I am certainly proud of her. I zipped into New Jersey and found a reasonable parking lot and made my way to the terminal to catch the ground shuttle to La Guardia. At La Guardia I was hoping to meet Rodrigo who wanted me to transport some birthday presents to his clever and beautiful young daughter Amparo (means shelter). I waited at the ticket counter until I was concerned about getting through security in time for my flight and made my way through the ever-tightening security arrangements at American airports. No sooner was I through security than I heard Rodrigo calling my name. I went back out and had a happy few moments with Rodrigo. He coached me for my visit and how I could be useful and what to watch out for, and then I took his parcel of gifts for Amparo. I went back through security and was thankful that they did not think my quick rescreeen was suspicious. I went to my gate and watched a brief section of one of my Doctor Who videos on my iBook while I waited. The flight took off and I was in one of many full planes I would experience on this trip.
After landing in Washington at Dulles airport I had time for a quick lunch while I waited for my flight to Miami. I was concerned for my luggage because our changeover time in Miami was only 50 minutes. I was even more worried when our takeoff from Dulles was delayed. Finally we were in the air and on the way to Miami.
| SANTIAGO AT DUSK |
Arriving in Miami I quickly made my way to the end of the F terminal where flights to Latin America depart from. At 11:30 PM the place was very active. The vast majority of flights to Latin America seem to leave the USA late in the evening so that the arrival is in the morning of the next day. I have never seen such an active terminal so late at night. The beautiful sound of Spanish was all around me, confirming my previous statement that in many ways Miami is a part of Latin America. Surrounded by Spanish and on my way to work with debaters and debate teachers in Chile I was struck again by the idiocy of a statement recently made by a judge from the US Naval Academy while judging one of my Vermont teams at West Point. He was judging an elimination round with one of my teams that has Spanish as their first language. While speaking to each other during preparation time in Spanish he asked them not to speak in Spanish because he found it “offensive.” My experience with those two wonderful students, my interaction with high school students at the Pan-American Debates in New York City, and with talented debaters and teachers from Spanish speaking nations has convinced me that Spanish is and will be an extremely important debate language. It is probably the second most international language in the world. Attitudes that view Spanish in debate as “offensive” are the kinds of narrow perspectives that we need to reject. Hopefully the maturity of the global debate community will roll over such biases as these.