Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Work, Ski, Run (Bandit edition)

5 talks in three days kicked off my trip to Chile.  We have an ongoing exchange program with the Jesuit law school in Chile which hosted my first visit to the Chile.  With varying degrees of formality, I spoke at the national competition agency, the specialized tribunal (3 lawyers, 2 economists) who hear the cases, two panels at a symposium at the Jesuit law school, and a breakfast seminar at the University of Chile law school center on regulation and competition (Regcom).  That plus various meals with those and other folks from the Chilean competition community all left me quite impressed.  Its a knowledgeable and sophisticated but small community of folks who all know each other and are committed to bring real antitrust principles to a highly concentrated economy with many formal and informal connections between the families and the businesses which control much of the country's wealth. 

And then I went skiing.  Spring skiing in the Andres at 9,000-11,000 feet, only 30 miles from Santiago, but a two hour drive because of the endless switchbacks up and down the mountain.  The snow was a bit slushy but it was August (beginning of their spring and end of the ski season just a couple weeks away) and it was nearly 70 degrees with blinding sunshine.  Didn't get hurt, didn't get burned, and had some fun.  Long day though, all in all 13 hours door to door from my hotel for about 4-5 hours of skiing.

And then there was the Santiago 10K on Sunday.  Didn't know anything about it until I woke up on Sunday (kind of sore from skiing) and saw the main street blocked off and some runners either finishing or warming up.  The concierge told me there was a 5K, 10k, and a half marathon.  I saw the race start a few blocks from my hotel and head off in the other direction.  Based on the course map and my very imperfect sense of direction, I was able to connect with the 10K group about 1.5 miles into the race and follow them along the river past the art museum, through the Parc Forestal, across a bridge, and back down through swanky neighborhoods to finish in front of the Presidential Palace.  I ran about 35 minutes with the group that finished in about 45 so far more passed me than I passed but great fun.  Very surreal sight as dozens of the placid, but stray, dogs that inhabit Santiago would jump up and lope along with the packs of runners until they ran out of energy and were replaced by new dogs from different areas.

Have to think seriously about Santiago for a future antitrust marathon.  Nice city, good course routes, good food, many quality hotels, almost everybody speaks English, April annual marathon (our October), and would be easy to find reliable co-sponsors.  Downside is the smog which blankets the city most of the year and the expense and lengthy travel time to/from Santiago. 

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