Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Traveling with Hillary

After a long absence I am going to try to revive this blog with a new focus. I'm now covering the State Department and Hillary Clinton for Reuters, which means a lot of travel, and I will try to use this as a record of some of the stops along the way.'

The first thing about traveling with Clinton is the schedule is manic. I started this beat in October, and we've been flying almost non-stop -- Pakistan, Morocco, Israel, Egypt, Belgium, London...they keep the stops as tight as possible, and we are lucky to see much "outside the bubble". But it is fascinating to see how the secretary of state moves around the world, and how she and her aides fine tune policy along the way.

I'm writing this from Brasilia, the half-way point in a five-day, six country tour of Latin America. We woke up this morning in Buenos Aires, spent the afternoon at the airport in Santiago, Chile, where she was delivering some earthquake relief (cellphones..only thing they could get on the plane on short notice) and then flew to Brazil

She's got meetings with the Brazilian foreign minister tomorrow and President Lula, and will be pressing them to support moves in the U.N. to put new sanctions on Iran. From the looks of it it could be a tough sell.

I'll try to get some of the news in here..if I can remember how, I'll link to my stories along the way. But this is more of an online diary of the trips. The challenge will be finding time along the way to update it -- sometimes we hardly have time to get out the news. But I will give it a go.

To start us off, here is a couple of pictures of Montevideo, where we spent Monday. It looks like a lovely city -- from wintry DC, it was into bright South American summer sunshine. There is a long marginal and lots of beaches, and on a holiday (inauguration day) the locals were soaking up the free time on the banks of the Plate River....

This was apparently for a long time the tallest structure in Latin America, and is Montevideo's trademark. Too bad about the antennae they've added to the top!

I wish I could have seen more (that is a constant refrain) but I liked what I saw -- I guess one thing about this job is it will help me hone my list of places to go when I've got more time to poke around.