Buenos Aires, day 1: Whistleblowers and Friends

We started our day early in the morning – still not early enough for me to catch breakfast – for our Globalization through film lab, and hopped on the shuttle bus. In this port even the field trip buses are not allowed to the port, so they were waiting for us outside. The bus took us to the restaurant, a nice place with a screen set up, and we watched a movie – El Rati Horror Show.

It’s a documentary by Enrique Pinola, a local moviemaker known for his whistleblowing films. One that we watched earlier was Whiskey Romeo Zulu, covering the corruption and negligence within one of the Argentinian airlines that led to a plane crash some years ago. El Rati Horror Show is about the guy who got a 30-year sentence for the crime that he did not commit, served 7, and got released after the documentary production was completed and it was presented to the court. The documentary investigates the details of the accident that led to the death of a couple of people, when a police car was chasing the robbers but confused the car they were chasing with another one, of an innocent guy. Mind that the police car didn’t have any sirens or signs that it was a police car, so the guy though they were robbers and tried to get away. Got 18 bullets in his car, ended up in the hospital, and then in jail. Now Pinera is shooting a sequel, because the court tries to get that guy in jail for 15 years for something like “illegal usage of guns”, which could not possibly take place, from what we saw in the film evidence. They use animation to recreate the events of that day, with all the eyewitness testimonials, tests and experiments. Pinola talked a lot about it when he joined us after the screening. He never studied film, only acting; they use three 1000$ cameras to do what they’re doing, rarely professional ones; no scripts; they don’t make much money with it, but they keep doing it. It was also interesting to learn that Whiskey Romeo Zulu was also based on a true personal story, because that one is a full-meter movie that might seem yet another product of Hollywood-affected imagination.
We had an awesome, awesome lunch after the Q&A was over. After two weeks of same food served every day the Argentinian beef steak was a blessing from heaven. There was another floor of the restaurant above our heads, and the ceiling was partially made of glass, so we could watch the weird shades, boots and stilettos march by.
The next stop was the studio where the post-production of the movies takes place. The tour was short, sadly, because the people working there were super nice and ready to answer our questions and explain how things worked. They’re real Apple geeks over there, all the gadgets and computers were Apple, and little white bitten apple stickers could be seen here and there. They had a very pleasant and creative work environment for sure.
The bus brought us back to the ship, and I had to pack fast; I was to meet Jose at the terminal in about an hour. ***
I cannot believe I’m meeting Jose in twenty minutes. It’s been what – over two years?? God, how time flies!
We met at this GEOS language school in New York. Jose (Uruguay), Abdul (Saudi), Jin (Thailand), Julia (Korea) and me were hanging out together for over a month, exploring different cuisines and fun places. It was such a good time – my eighteen years, first time abroad alone, first time in the US, first time in an English-speaking country after many years of studying English, excited, confused, a bit uncomfortable – but just a bit… And now, twenty-one, in Buenos Aires – I kept laughing when Jose was telling me that I must come visit, it’s such a way from Moscow! – with SAS, after almost three months of a journey around the world, excited… Confused! Still not believing!
We always stayed in touch, more than with anyone from our group, but meeting in person seemed so unreal. He traveled Europe when I was in the US; I was home in Moscow when he went to the US; the bus is almost by the terminal – and I don’t even remember if he’s always late or always early… Sooooon!!!
***
It literally was like we just met after a weekend, not two-something years. Crazy. I’m in Buenos Aires. Who could’ve thought? We agreed that I’ll be staying at his place for these days and bring Rachel with me. So we went there to drop my stuff and set a meeting with Rachel, who was touring the local sights with a bunch of people. The apartment is located in the financial district of the city, on sixteenth floor, with quite a view. I still keep thinking what city Buenos Aires reminds me of most, but I cannot decide. It’s like a weird combination of New York, Washington and Moscow. More like New York. Later at night, after we met Rachel and walked around for a while, I was standing on the balcony watching the red signal lights glitter. They’re all over the tall houses, showing the way to the airplanes. The city noises – of cars, and people, and constant buzzing of some engines – seemed so alien. Last time I was in the city like this was what – Paris? No, not even Paris. Moscow. All over Europe, and in Africa, we never saw really tall buildings. And these New Yorkish narrow passages, and people rushing somewhere without looking where they’re going – it was alien and almost hostile after the peacefulness and calmness of the ship. It was like arriving to this Jamaal Al-Fna square in Marrakech – too many people, noises, sounds, smells. No, I don’t like big cities, concrete jungles. They make me uncomfortable. No matter how entertained I am, I always want to be in a more cozy and homely environment. I guess that’s because I grew up in Saint Petersburg.

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