Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Train in Spain

I had the pleasure last night of finding another one of those situations where human nature can be just so charming and so willing and so very kind and sincere. I was riding the rails from Montpellier to Barcelona in a car which held at most 20 people. It had been another hot afternoon and I sort of passed out in my seat for a while before coming too in half an hour and looking around for something to do. Eventually, I pulled out my camera and as we passed through a tunnel, I took a self-portrait. This gave me the necessary conversation point to introduce myself to the lady opposite me and to tell her about my film project. She was descending at the next stop, but was interested, so we continued to talk. When we arrived at her stop, she said goodbye and left the train.

Meanwhile, another lady on the train had been overhearing our conversation and we eventually started to talk. She wanted to be interviewed to pass the time and because she found the project interesting--enough even to admit to having eavesdropped on my conversation with the other lady.

We sat down and did an interview and when done, she pointed out to me that there were people in the car with Mexican and Argentine accents and then went to them to enlist their participation in the film on my behalf! It was really sweet and kind of her to help me find people to interview.

The next interviewee was a young lady from Los Angeles, a latina who was traveling with her family. We chatted about how the US is very good at creating citizens of second class and that white middle America seems to be ignorant of that fact. In the end, I interviewed a Japanese American man who also shared those views, especially after having moved to middle America himself.

The most striking encounter for me though was with an Argentine lady and her son who worked as translator for her. I listened to her talk for about 20 minutes in Spanish, understanding a word here and there and thinking that I knew what she was saying before the son stepped in for the filmed interview. During the interview, the tape ran out, then immediately, the battery ran out. She was so passionate about what she had to say and I was worried that I wouldn´t get her message recorded. As it turned out, her views were based in religion and she didn´t understand how gays could be allowed to adopt. Her son added that gay people are completely against nature. I didn´t have the time nor the energy to debate them, but would have loved to explain my viewpoint a little better. In the end, it was she who sought me out on the platform to ask if I were certain that the film had worked. There seemed to be a desperation to be recorded on her part and I was reminded of an Italian film where the cineaste visited small villages to record screentests for people in the light of Valentino´s successes. Some of the faces of those villagers were so touching as they pleaded to be taken away from their small world.

º º º

I got to my hostal and dropped off my bags. At 11pm, I left for dinner and when I reached the doorway, the girl from Los Angeles and her family were coming into my small hostal as well. Of all the cars in all the trains in Spain, I had met these people. Then we parted and of all the potential hotels and hostals and other destinations, we were staying in the same place. As the photographer of 1 Giant Leap would say, this is ¨the leap¨. The odds are too great for this coincidence to happen, but you just have to take it as it is...a sign from the universe that we matter and are being observed in some way perhaps.

I am off to Mallorca by ferry this afternoon. To avoid the heat, I am in an internet cafe. James Taylor just sang on the intercom that he is ¨going to Carolina in his mind¨. For a brief moment, I was nostalgic for home, but adventures await. Life is good. Hello to those I love and who love me.



Anonymous Paula Pedroso said...

Yes, we do love you!
All these coincidences and happenings are very interesting! If you weren't like you are all of those things just could pass without being notated. The "leap" is inside the last and simplest thing we could imagine. So, how we need to have the eyes opened!
Bee good, querido amigo!
Um grande abraço!

7/23/2005 01:23:00 PM  

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