a wandering woman writes

Sunday, August 28, 2005


I have been having the strangest sensation walking through Salamanca lately.

I seem to have suddenly found myself living in an NPR radio feature.

You know the radio stories I mean? Where they carry you through a ciy neighborhood or a factory floor or the backstage of a theatre or a busy restaurant kitchen or..somewhere and this being radio, they are forced to paint the picture purely with sound? And it works?

You hear the footsteps of the reporter, sounds build as he travels toward a car or a construction site or a group of children and fade as he continues on past them...and you feel yourself IN the story, in that place, much more than when you simply watch a video.

Well, either I've gotten tired of looking at Salamanca or my sweet little town has become aurally interesting. Or maybe I've just gotten better at listening.

I first noticed how loud my Salamanca soundtrack had become - and suspected that there just had to be an NPR microphone involved - on my way to work one morning this week. I suddenly realized that I was hearing nothing but my own footsteps echoing against sandstone walls. My own very loud footsteps.

As I climbed up toward the Old Cathedral, I passed 2 construction workers singing their hearts out, later the Cathedral bells clanged out 9 o'clock, 2 Salmantinos had a hell of a loud laugh at the kiosk at the end of La Rua and a little boy happily hummed his way to school, clinging to his dad's hand and scuffing his shoes to the beat of his walking tune.

Salamanca's Sunday morning soundtracks are far and above my favorites. There are so few people out when I go out to buy my Sunday paper - aside from tourists - that my soundtrack dramatically drifts in and out, from pure Sunday silence to the frenetic clicking of tourists' cameras and the shrill call of the woman who sells postcards by the Casa de las Conchas.

Today I passed from the silent canyon of Calle Tentenecio to a rapidly changing tour guide soundtrack first in French, then Portuguese, then Spanish. Later the song of my favorite roving lottery vendor faded in and out - an endlessly repeated Gregorian chant you could easily mistake for a part of the Catholic mass. Llevo loteria, los que tocan...llevo loteria los que tocan.. (I secretly always expect him to wack himself upside the head with a stone tablet like the monks at the beginning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the end of every verse: ...los que tocan.. Whack! but that's a blog entry for another day.)

As I wended my way home, the cackling French tourists faded and a blue-clad nun opened the door of a convent I'd never noticed before and - mmuah! mmuah!- enthusiastically kissed the woman she found there. Finally the song of a lone guitarist singing by the old cathedral took over (something about Llorar llorar llorar! No tengo trono ni reino......) until I returned to silence on the final descent toward home.

Next week instead of the camera,which I've learned to drag along on Sunday mornings, just in case, I'm thinking about packing the digital recorder. Live from Salamanca, it's Sunday morning....



  • Beautiful post! I've had that experience many times, mornings when I lived on the island and then again in Litochoro. Sunday mornings were definitely always the best, because you could hear the Orthodox priests singing their chants at the services.

    By Blogger melusina, at 4:44 PM  

  • What a delicious read my dear...which, of course makes no sense for an aurally oriented post...

    By Blogger Laura Young, at 4:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home