First of all, I can't tell you how gleeful I've been reading all of these comments. It's exciting. I wish my own writing could match the passion and eloquence that of my AMAZING friends and family. Thank you guys, you make this exciting day even better.
I have to tell you quickly about my last day in Valencia and how everything went from a bit blah to non-stop smiles. Let's see. I think I caught up on rest and travel bookings in the afternoon before I went off to attend the Cinema Jove International Film Festival. I didn't have anything screening there myself but I thought it'd be great to check out their short film program and support my fellow filmmakers.
I ended up watching two shorts programs at the Edificio Rialto down the street from my hostel. Great films. My favorites were LA LECON DE GUITRARE (The Guitar Lesson) by Martin Rit, France. A charming film about a guy finding passion. I watched a kind of funny one that made me think of my friend Dan Lee. Dan, look into AVERY'S GNOME by John Driftmier, Canada. It's shot like it was done in the eighties or something and has some fun gnome puppetry.
The second program was filled with gems. KONIEC LATA (The End of Summer) was a nice Polish film by Karolina Bielawska but what it really did was make me reminisce about a film Kirk Diaz worked on back in the day called Summer's End. Never finished but played a part in keeping us creative. HERFRA TIL MANEN (To the Moon) by Katja Eyde Jacobsen, Norway was a moving short about two young brothers getting into trouble in the middle of a snowy nowhere. Familial bonds always get my heart swelling. The Spanish film by Jose Manuel Carrasco, PADAM, was exceptional. A nice balance of humor, heart, and social consciousness with a dating service as the premise. Genius. SECURITY was a great German short by Lars Henning that also wowed me with its simplicity and irony. And finally, THREE TOWERS by Emily Harris and Yoni Bentovim was a different perspective on 9/11. It made me remember how much sympathy the world had for the US after the World Trade Center was destroyed. It kills me that in just a few short years, sympathy has turned into hatred. Which leads me to the rest of the evening...
Back at the hostel I met a few American chemical engineers who were traveling in Spain together. They invited me to join them for dinner so I suggested a paella at El Rall since I hadn't had one yet (I tried the night before but there was a two person minimum for paella there...argh). It was delicious. Freshly made and full of seafood. I was having such a great time, I passed the bill on to my friend MB (You rock!) to make it perfect.
With an awesome meal in our stomachs, we were ready to continue the fun, except we ran into this tall dude who asked us, "Americans?" We said yes, expecting some sort of pleasant exchange. Instead he started ripping into us. He called us despicable. He said he was Irish and muttered something about Guantanamo. We were all a bit stunned. Unfortunately, we were all walking down the same alley so we were essentially following him. He kept muttering hateful things and every now and then he'd pull some change out of his pocket and toss it at us. Chucking a 5-cent euro he shouted, "This is for your President!" A few steps later another 5-cent piece falls at my feet, "This is for your vice-president!" He reaches into his pocket again. This time a 10-cent coin rolls under a car. "This is for your human rights!" We didn't know how to respond. He was obviously drunk and we weren't about to provoke him. Finally, he reaches in one more time and grunts as he flings a 2-Euro piece at us. I picked that one up since he didn't indicate who or what that one was for.
Complete buzz kill. For the rest of the evening we agreed that we were from Canadian (except for Oscar who's from Columbia). We kept walking around a bit and ended up watching some football fans raving by a fountain (similar to the scene in Madrid a week back) before having some drinks and telling stories late into the night.
By 4am I had to be up to catch a train. It was surely a memorable evening.