Story Salad

Whatever place I visit, I cannot believe there have been other places before and more will come to see. My minds stick to this shaky sense of reality. So every time I return to my home city it feels like I suddenly wake up, as if months spent in Malta and days in other places are not true and I never left this place. And I know, in Malta I will get the same feeling.

Four flights for the last week – four different places. Four different places: Sevilla, Malta, Moscow and Astrakhan. Now, seeing this grey scale world outside the window, alcoholics hiding between garages with a cherished bottle, I cannot believe there was Sevilla with its old brick roads, orange trees and handsome people with the flame in dark velvet eyes.

1. Airport accident

Short but memorable accident happened in Malta International Airport where we were going to have our flight to Sevilla. The security member suspected me, particularly, my boots. And asked me to take them off. “We are having lots of problems with Libya”, she explained. The request came unexpected. For a few moments I left my file with the passport, the boarding and money oversighted. Next few minutes boomed on my head: after passing through the frame I realized the file vanished! Some people are magnets for all sorts of adventures. Loss of passport together with money would make nervous whoever, even a person tempered with past adventures. Of course, nobody noticed anything suspicious (why the hell were they staying there?!). And the trip could not have happened if not a smiley man from North Africa, who brought the file and vanished as quickly as appeared. Big luck, if not the miracle!

2. The dog who minded photography

In Sevilla, while others went to see the Museum of Corrida, I continued hanging around with the growing sense of curiosity. And there was this gorgeous dog, big fluffy Chow-chow, lying on the balcony. His head was between the rods, he looked pleased with life, watching the word passing by. Nothing revealed his arrogance (because he actually was an arrogant and stubborn dog!). As soon as I aimed him in my viewfinder and took some time to arrange the focus, he stood up and went hiding inside the room. First, I thought it was a coincidence. So when in 10 minutes time the dog appeared on the balcony again, I repeated my attempts. With the same result! Seeing me with the camera, dog barked a couple of times, expressing his deep dislike and disapproval. Hiding behind a tree was an old trick and the dog got to the core of it. The tree did not help me to take a shot either. Failure! Obviously, this fluffy malicious creature minded me taking a photo of him. Could be he was a local celebrity and hated paparazzi. Or maybe, he did not consider himself modeling to a newbie. Anyway, his reason will always remain a mystery…

3. A friend of Pedro Almodovar

The day was perfectly nice: warm, windless, sunny. Plaza de España greatly impressed me with its special sophistication. Nice photos had already been captured and I could rest quietly on one of those colourful tile benches until a man interrupted my peace. “Puede asacar mi foto?” he asked politely. Of course, I could take a picture of him and I did. The conversation started from nothing and unexpectedly turned into an interesting one. My company looked like a plumpish version of young Bruce Willis and almost did not speak English. Using a mix of his very limited English, my very limited Spanish and hands we managed to talk about so many things, including philosophy, morality and religion. Often ideas get twisted when translated into words, something gets lost and something unnecessary adds. But absence of common language did not disturb us, or maybe even it was an advantage, helping to filter the pure meaning from everything unnecessary. He asked about my job and I had to show interest in his. It appeared that he was involved into a film-making industry and worked with Pedro Almodovar. And I was so much in my distrustful thoughts regarding his job and close collaboration with Pedro Almodovar, that even did not think of asking him for an autograph…

4. Place of no return

Trip to (and back from) Sevilla was my first experience of flying with Ryanair. After landing in Malta we enter the airport through a boarding gate. And immediately got confused: never before I had not returned from the boarding zone to the airport. The only way out I knew was the way in. But very soon it turned out: at the airport ways in and ways out cannot be the same.

5. Curious immigration security officer

Aiports again. This time I had a flight to Moscow, Domodedovo. Moterland welcomed us with the grey sky, little rain and long queue to passport check desks. When my turn came and I gave my passport for the check, a security officer smiled (!) and said “Ah, you came from Malta as well. So how is it in Malta?”. Must say, from my whole experience of flights there never was even one case like this: smiley officer asks a question not related to a passport issues or any other official subject. Thus, it was a reason for my minds to get lost. I did not find anything better than to say “Too much of religion. And they have no right to divorce!”. The officer opened his mouth and asked with a surprise “No divorce???”. Everything would have promised a good conversation if not the strict airport conditions and angry looks of the queue. “I would tell you more, but people are waiting”, and I pointed my hand to the queue.

“Is it good for tourism at least?”. “Yes, but not in winter. My passport please. Thanks!”.

Probably, it was most unusual accident in my life. Who could think that those people in uniform with metallic suspicious look might smile? Miracles do happen sometimes!

6. Footprints in cement

This story happened not with me, with a Russian friend of mine. Once he stayed at work till late, needed to finalize a report or some important task. Exactly that day was chosen for maintenance of the entrance of the building where he worked. Administration of the institution could not expect there were people able to stay at work till late and did not find a reason to make a sign “Caution! Mind the steps!”. To be more precise, there were no steps at all: all old steps had been removed and instead, a few new ones were in the process of forming out of a wooden frame filled with cement. Our friend did not expect any adventure when exiting the building… and found himself stuck in the bloody cement! Swearing aloud, he hardly managed to get out. Next morning administration was searching the pest who left deep foot prints in the fresh cement of new stair.

“How right you were!” – he told me. Few years ago I told him “In this city every single morning leaving home I am prepared for adventures. And if a brick decides to land on my head, I will not be surprised at all”. “But adventures came to me from underneath, not from above” – he resumed.

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