Friday, January 20, 2006

3 Hours in Vancouver... A Month Ago

Even though I have been hanging out in the Western hemisphere for years, I never paid attention to the north from the US.... right, it's not tropical, no palm trees and agua de pipa. So I never been to Canada before...

This time, it was acutually on 16th of January, on the way back to Brooklyn from a short visit to Japan, my flight was via Vancouver with Air Canada. I had about 3hours of connexion, I decided to hang out a bit in the town since I never been in Canada before. So, I was kind of hoping, out of these 3hours, how much of Canadian things, like culture, foods, people, anything about Canada I could taste.

I got out of the Vancouver airport and looked around, the city was far. I decided to take a bus to get to downtown Vancouver. I sat down on a bench at a bus stop and looked at my more than 5yrs old Casio G-Shock. I still had Japanese time on it. I needed to know Canadian time, so I asked a beautiful young lady sitting next to me what time it was. She gave me the right Canadian time.

We had a very short talk like a usual one with a curious stranger, like where I was from, what the purpose of visiting a place was, stuff like that. I told her it was my first time to be in Canada and wanted to check out the town a bit. She replied me sayng it was not really a good day to be in Vancouver since it was raining. On a sunny day, she said, Vancouver has surprisingly beautiful scenery. You see waterfront urban buildings surrounded by mountains, the Canadian mountains.

Anyway, so we were conversing a bit while waiting for a bus. Soon, a van stopped infront of us and she stood up. A guy came out and helped her carrying a bag. At this point, I finally knew what kind of person she was. She was a flight attendant of Air Canada and the guy was someone from thier office to pick her up.

Right before she got in the van, she looked back and said to me, "come with me. I will take you to downtown. You look honest." ...Yeah I tried to be honest but did I look like it? Well, she said so. Then, there was a seemingly her co-worker telling me "just say 'yes' and go with her". I had no moment to think what would be the right choice. The following moment, I was in the van with her. The pick up service driver dropped us off at their parking lot and we got in her a few yrs old BMW5 heading for downtown Vancouver. Que wow, no? It was very unexpected and/but exciting to meet interesting Canadian people.

She told me a bit about herself, her BF, her job, and Canada (how East coast and West coast of Canada are different from each other, like NY and LA).

...Whats my point? Bragging that I met a beautiful Canadian woman? Maybe so... But not entirely so...
I guess what I wante to write here was... Great! to meet someone who is not scared of meeting new people. This flight attendant, she could've been scared of knowing a new person who she just met, which is me. But her choice was to pick me up, totally a stranger, and share where she lives... good hospitality. And I appreciate her bravery.

Some people on this planet seem to be very scared, or too worried, about meeting new people and risk oneself to explore what one encounters, I guess. It's sad to see this unseen fear rules alot of people's behavior, pattern, mental block etc., like in NYC.
On the subway here in NYC, I dont catch almost no ones eyes... very weird... People seem to make great effort NOT look at no one... Doesn't sound like cool environment, no? But I understand, it is not comfortable to look at hundreds of thausands of strangers everyday. If you live in NYC, it is very easy to indifferent to others. For those who live in NYC, it may be clear and common not to look at no one...
But don't we really look at no one? I dont think so.

We look at people anyway, but we look away when the eyes of that person move towards you. This is when we feel fear, fear for unknown eyes. Because, I think, eyes are powerful. "Something unseen" behind of eyes are not only powerful but also mysterious. We, the "civilized people", often find ourselves trying to understand things that our logical brain functions attmpt to process... but there are unlimited things, both tangible and intangble, that we "sense". these things we feel are the key to ease your fear.

Believe in yourself, not your skills but your intuition, the small voice from deep inside.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

$100 Dinner

Good morning todo el mundo,

Last night, my friend, his Europen friends and I went out to an Italian restaurant in Williamsburg, seemingly a white neigborhood in Brooklyn. The restaurant was located in the middle of bodegas/warehouses area. We had nicely refined and presented foods and a few bottle of wines... I really enjoyed the beautiful presentation of the foods and unique taste that I could tell lots of ideas and efforts were in it (that's what I was missing in Latin America, greatly refined ideas and efforts in food). One girl from southern France kept lecturing the dishes and drinks in details while we were eating. After having a bit classy Italian style dishes, we all ended up with paying $100 dollars each... Que? What? Nani? $100 on a meal? That's 30 casados (lunches) in Costa Rica. Did I really spend 30 lunches on ONE dinner? I can't keep up with these European people.

So, it was kind of a surprising "welcome to the capital of capitalism". My friend parhaps felt bad for me, so he said "pay me $70 coz you didn't expect to pay this much". I accepted his considerate offer in exchange of cooking my version of Mexican or Japanese food for him and his GF. Yeah, at least for now, me as a student, this way of socializing more suits me... cooking and eating together, than being served.

But then, since I am in NYC, I want to learn some of apparently snobby European mentality and manners. Actually, I have never exposed to hard core Europen manners. (In Mexico, I once had an situation in which all the foods were served by a made, and I had to eat a leaf of a lettuce by a folk and a knife... what a nonsense manner)

My friend told us, "Talking about the food, French culture and Japanese culture are very similar in a way. They both are pround of own culture since it is highly refined". I guess it is true. But also, that is a sign that people from this kind of environment could possibly be blind because they are too pround of their own things. These culturally blind people may not able to appreciate others refinedness... since everything they judge is through their own filters.

My voice, "How can I bring these people's essential qualities together, to cultivate some sort of profound and collective consciousness?" It sounds like long way to go.