For two days this week, mysterious helicopters hovered above central Salamanca, first circling Puerta Zamora and later sweeping a wide circle round the river and the Roman Bridge, the day I headed up the hill to pay the landlady.
We don't get a lot of helicopters in Salamanca. At the time, I was just hoping they were ours, in the aerial attack sense.
The whole event had an interesting effect on my fellow Salmantinos. The noise caught my attention first, obviously, but much more amusing, once I'd accustomed myself to the whir of the engines, was the view of Salamanca straight on as I walked up Zamora through the Plaza to La Rua. Cranked necks, twisted bodies, a moving mass of strangely malformed sky watchers -- a rapt population staring overhead. Stopped in their tracks, twisting and turning while double-wide eyes followed the seemingly friendly invaders out of sight.
Helicopters in Salamanca?
According to today's La Gaceta and the weekly DGratis, the noise was a small price to play for fame and glory - in Hollywood. The mysterious choppers were filming aerial footage for a Hollywood movie, Vantage Point, starring Sigourney Weaver, Eduardo Noriega (excuse me, but: yummy), Forrest Whitaker, Dennis Quaid and William Hurt. To keep costs down after that tiny expenditure on the cast (!), the film crew built an impressive replica of Salamanca's Plaza Mayor in Mexico City. (Eerily close, except for the high rise hotel rising behind it in the photos posted on Chronicas Charras.) Most of the movie was filmed in Mexico and in the studio. The director wanted just enough aerial authentic Salamanca to set the stage for the film's action.
The movie's premise?
An American president is assasinated while attending a World Terrorism Summit in Salamanca.
I just hope they didn't pull those aerial shots in too close. Or the stage will be set in a strange land of gawking pedestrians who could all use a good chiropractor.