Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day One - Coming Home

It's overwhelming arriving here, Chile and Peru in a single day. Not because of the 15 hours of flying or the two layovers totally almost 10 hours. It's not the nerves that consistently stay present because the very idea of bringing this film to Latin America has me sporadically tearing up with love, pain or confusion. I have this continent running deep inside me and arriving here only confirms it. Every time I step off a plane and touch Latin American soil, I'm confronted with my other half. A half that only perks up in small spurts when I'm not here. Eating an expensive but decent 'completo' at la Chilenta in Montreal after an hour osteopathic treatment and even hearing pockets of spanish being momentarily spoken in random public places gives me the fix that I need. The simple sounds and smells that waft, weaving in and out of my senses, I always smile and enjoy these moments, always hoping they never end. But they do.
Today I wait in a line at a Santiago subway station to get my first metro ticket. During this very long afternoon layover, I eventually arrive at my cousin's house in a wealthy part of the city. His lovely maid prepares us a plate of 'charquican' and I politely thank her after ever course. The homemade flan she made tastes like poetry. With every piece of conversation my smile grew and I felt warmer.  On our way to the airport  to catch my next flight, this time to Lima, the streets seemed empty. With plenty of time to watch some sunday night HBO and AMC television, I waited at my gate with my shoes off very content. After boarding we spent four hours in the air and almost two hours in a terrible line at Peruvian immigration because of their lack of organization. After completing a task of incredibly patience I was whisked away through a very large crowded airport into a very large crowded vehicle. Off to my hotel. spinning through the city, I realize how many horribly contrasting worlds exist not just in Lima but every Latin American capital city I've ever experienced. With no help from the door men because of my 'no money over here' apparel selection, I juggle my belongings across the lobby. After checking I strangely step into the partially gold plated 'ascensor' in a semi-glazed sleepy state. I catch in the corner of my eye a group of men and women. They ignore me while attempting to hide their roots under a blend of make-up and expensive suits. I arrive at my room and collapse onto my king size bed with exhaustion. This bed is a cloud. Staring at the ceiling, despite the incredible apathy and contrasting states of wealth, I realize how much I still love this continent in the same way that I continue to love my father. A man that was sick and too stubborn to get better. Too set in his ways to look at his errors… but he was glorious. Those he touched flowed deep. I was lucky enough to have a father that sacrificed himself for his family. But to such a degree that he was willing to take his own life. He fell on his sword and I wish he hadn't. But I do love the fight he had in him. I remember him in the same way that I recall my formative years growing up on a small street in Quillota, Chile. They all merge together now, as one vivid memory. I smile with thoughts of pots and pans at 8pm while my mother is trying to put me to sleep. Laying in bed at this hotel, moments race through my head at the last 24 hours. All that lingers are small evidential moments of how this continent is still recovering from its past, still too proud and ashamed to admit it. 

Even though he or it is partially resting, the past feels very present.

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