Caracas - Day 4
What a day!
Last night Clif and I slept in a 1 bedroom studio in Naiguata with Franco and his wife Marielena + dog Rosa and cat Gragga. Things worked out quite well except for the snoring and mosquitoes...
Today we packed up and moved to Franco's rental apartment in Caracas. After changing money thru a hotel (with "the midget"), we went for Venezuelan Hamburguesas ... burgers on Arepa bread with ham, egg, cheese, fried potato strips, ketchup, mayo, mustard, and optional salsas of aguacaca and picante. Wow... Can you say YUMMY?
So we just finished our burgers and then we met randomly met Ricardo, a friend of Clif's from his last trip. Ricardo is a big fan of Clif's poetry book, and has been teaching prison inmates a poem of Clif's called Tu Celda, 'The Cell'. He invited us to join him in meeting Francisco Massiani, one of Venezuela's most famous writers and poets! We fretted about not having the video camera (it was at the apt recharging).
We met, and Clif read him a few poems from his book, which Francisco seemed to enjoy. Turns out the meeting was a contract signing between Francisco and his editor for his new book. Clif and Francisco were talking, and Francisco asked if Clif would translate one of his books of poetry. Clif said he was interested.
Francisco started telling us a number of stories, most of which I could understand pieces (but not the punchline), and after awhile Ricardo said he wanted to make a written record of them. These were all 'oral tales' from the past, and Ricardo is a writer and was very interested in chronicling the stories. I suggested that perhaps Clif and I could videotape Francisco telling his stories, and everyone was in agreement. So this project could become a short film, or perhaps something longer, and possibly added with Ricardo's book!
Meanwhile, Clif asked Francisco if we could interview him for his feature, so that will happen too. Exciting! Looks like we'll be doing that next week.
Clif and I are talking about ways to film that interview. I'd really like to see it as Clif and Francisco having a conversation, and have Clif on camera. Clif says that I'd have to direct it b/c he doesn't see directing something like that AND having himself in it. I like it b/c they both are quite unique and strong presences.
Working with Clif for the past few days is quite an experience -- he's a very talented and driven person, but he's also quite humble. He has published multiple books and recently a feature film (which he filmed and edited!), but he is very 'down to earth' and a real person. One thing we're discovering working together is that my 'laid back' angle is often a good complement to his 'high strung' energy. At other times, his drive helps me keep going where otherwise I might drop.
Clif pointed out to me that I was 'boxing him in' by trying to define his values. Namely we've had a few discussions about Capitalism, and I'm surprised every time that I'm the one defending it!! But let me clarify by saying that I have never once said it's a great system; all I've said so far is that, with some checks and balances in it (like the 'Green triple bottom line' -- people, planet, then profit' -- and a more democratic manner of operation), Capitalism could be a healthy way to have sustainable agriculture.
However, even typing out my argument, I can see Clif's point -- as well as the other more 'revolutionary' viewpoint, similar to Venezuela's current govt viewpoint -- that Capitalism, with oppression, exploitaiton, and hierarchy, is unsustainable in itself.
I don't see how the 'free market' would discourage exploitation or environmentally unsustainable production ... without a strong 'check' by the govt. And it seems that this check has to be FORCED on business by the people. Maybe we can figure something out?