April 14, 2009

A deluge of sensations

April 4
th, 19:20hs - Sitting outside, at Pub Saint Jacques or Polly Magoo

There are so many experiences lived, so many moments, people, places. I'm not sure where to start. I am now having a beer at this funky Arabic bar, sitting on a table outside. I have been walking for the last 40 minutes, along a busy peatonal full of bars, restaurants, shops, smells, sounds, languages. This particular pub is located somewhere near a busy street, but at least not as hectic; which makes it perfect for writing. To my right, the Seine. To my left, Notre Dame peaks curiously behind some random buildings. The temperature outside is almost perfect and I am in the perfect mood. Gloria Stefan is being played at some near by bar, which is kind of odd, but somehow adds to the whole scene.

There is so much going on that it actually takes a big effort to stay grounded and not want to be everywhere at the same time. I tell myself to breathe, to let as much as I can in, even when it might get to be overwhelming. Again, I find myself running short of words to express all that I'm feeling. It's a combination of wholeness, fascination, happiness and enjoyment. My two cameras have run out of batteries, which gives me the perfect excuse to absorb every little detail I possibly can, without the lens as a divider between me and the experience.

I just came from LaChapelle's exhibition at "La Monnaie de Paris". I have been talking about him for the past two weeks and, conveniently enough, I get to see his work live in Paris. I have to say it was moving. I never imagined that one of his photographs could make me tear up. He's more of a "pop photographer" playing around with a bunch of famous people and an extravagant use of colour. Nevertheless, I love his imagination. But this exhibition was a bit different form what I've seen so far. Destruction, sorrow, pain, flood, wars, blood and the Holy Spirit. Two of his photographs impacted me the most: La Pieta and Deluge.

La Pieta portrays Courtney Love holding Kurt Cobain in her arms. Pills, blood and a halo. She honestly looks like a Saint, holding her lost loved one. The image imitates Michelangelo's sculpture of Mary holding Jesus after his cruxifiction. In LaChapelle's version, Cobain has the same stigmata as Jesus Christ, but also his arms are covered with open wounds, inflicted by heroin abuse. On the foreground, a child piles up letter cubes that spell "Heaven to Hell". It's amazing how much can be said with just one image... sometimes it's more than words.

Deluge is the representation of a big flood in modern times. We are like animals, floating amongst Gucci and Burger King destroyed signs. In a desperate attempt to survive as species, we hold on to whatever is still floating. Lamp posts, garbage, neon signs, expensive cars and other people. An apocalyptic image full of pain, sorrow and desperation. And it felt too real to me.

From the same series as Deluge, a photograph of a flooded museum. Half drawn, half surviving. The ruined sculpture on the center, seems to be alive... breathing anguish... holding on...History has been flooded, it has drawn, it has been forgotten. All is gone and we are just frightened animals trying to hold on to our fragile lives.

But to change the tone of the writing, let me tell you about another "odd" occurrence. Today, as I waited in the line to go up the Eiffel tower, I wondered if celebrities would get special treatment to avoid all the people. I imagined how it would be like to walk around Paris being famous, going to touristic attractions and so on. I know, what a stupid thing to wonder. But I admit it, I'm not always thinking about profound things, sometimes I let my mind be entertained with these kind of thoughts. Is like watching reality shows... Anyhow, why do I mention this? Well, it happened a couple of hours later. It wasn't Gael Garcia Bernal as I could have hoped for, but they were "famous" nevertheless. When I was at LaChapelle's exhibition, I met with two Argentinian actresses...

It's not that I thought "How cool to see so and so..." -I don't even remember their names- What is worth mentioning is the fact that I actually THOUGHT about it earlier. The more present I become, these kind of "coincidences" are becoming more and more frequent. Like yesterday, for example. Having lunch with Marcel, outside a small organic store, I was looking at the cheese on the window and I said to him that I wanted to try some of it, because it looked sehr gut. Ten minutes later, the owner of the store comes out with a small plate of different samples... I'm really happy Marcel was there to witness what I constantly experience, if not I could begin to think that I'm going crazy. Really, this stuff is happening more and more... Breathe, smile, be present and everything that you need will find a way to get to you. It's fantastic! if you allow it, it will happen...

Speaking of fantastic, I went up the Eiffel tower today... That was also amazing. I spent 5 hours up there. One and a half hour in the lineup and the rest taking pictures and chatting with a guy I met up there. The only time I wished I wasn't travelling alone, it was when I wanted a photograph of myself looking down at Paris... Of course I found a way to do it by myself, as always, but it could have been nice to share that with someone. I finding myself doing more and more things on my own and I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not, but as time goes by, I become less and less dependant on people. I have become -or have always been- this independent creature who could very well survived if left alone. But emotionally, ufff... I need people like there is no tomorrow. And this is what I love about travelling alone: I do whatever I want, I go wherever I please and when I need some human "contact", I just meet people. And I usually meet cool people, if only for a brief moment. And travellers are usually very cool, except for the guy who tried to kiss me on my first night in Paris... Yes, I forgot to mention it... but it's just a funny anecdote about which I may or may not want to write later.

One last "weird" story to finish. Last night I was invited for dinner at Marcel's Canadian friend's house, Marie. Observing her interaction with her boyfriend, with whom she lives, made me think of my golden times with Ignacio. I thought of those times, living under the same roof with the person I loved. It wasn't me anymore, it was us. I haven't had that feeling in ages. I haven't thought of him in that way till yesterday. I actually missed cooking with him, being a couple, working as a team. This morning at the hostel, I saw a guy that looked EXACTLY like him. And I'm not exaggerating... except for some facial details, this guy looked very much like my ex-boyfriend, and he decided to appear in my life just after I thought of him. During breakfast, he sat next to me and we talked. He was from Argentina and his mom from the same Italian city as my ex mother-in-law... No comments... I never could have imagined I would spend a whole day walking in Paris with a clone of my ex. Same hands, same gestures, same jokes... if anyone wishes to see, I have pictures to prove I'm not making this up. It happened...

I just finished my beer and it's getting cold for me to sit outside. I think I wrote enough for the day. Tomorrow I have a few hours left in Paris, but I'm sure that I will live many adventures. Thank you life for being so good to me, even when I give you for granted... even when I seem to not appreciate you enough. Even during those times of apparent indifference, you always remind me how joyful you can be!

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