Friday, April 27, 2007

Trip to Las Varas, From Chacala and Back

On my last trip to Las Varas ( to go to the internet, lavanderia ATM, and Kodak shop) I ran into something I didn’t expect to see. A photo shoot.I grew up in the area of Los Angeles where many films and TV shows were filmed. The first time I saw my house in the movie was in the film “Executive Suite”, where one of the scenes was shot at the Little League field across the road from my home. It’s funny what you remember from your childhood.The bus stop where I waited for the one mile ride to my high school (University High) was in many different shows and films. And our drugstore was the scene for many episodes of the old TV show, “I Led Three Lives”. And there were a number of scenes shot at my favorite cool place to hang out: coffee house on Fairfax. I saw the film on my first date in college. We went to the movies and the second feature (remember when they had those?) was some loser film, but it was shot at the coffee house, with the singer/owner, Terrea Lea, performing. I think my date, a boy from the hills of Oregon, didn’t believe me when I told him I had been there. Anyway….I don’t know what they were shooting, but this morning there was a cameraman, and three helpers, and maybe the boss, filming some scenes. While I watched the main scene was the blond walking up the street, talking to a man. The local people did not seem to be particularly thrilled, and keep walking through the filming. So the filming was going very slowly.

There were a number of young men hanging around, flirting with the two models or actresses, or whatever. It was something different for Las Varas, that’s for sure.

The other new thing I noticed today was at the bank. They have added a counter for doing your paperwork, deposit slips, whatever. I don’t remember seeing that before.There were two guards armed with machine guns (rather than the "normal" one) outside the bank today. And a police truck. When I walked in (to get change for a 500 peso bill) there were about twenty people standing around. I put two and two together and got “bank robbery”. But it was just people waiting in line to see the one banker-at-a-desk on duty. There was no one waiting in the teller lines, and all four windows were staffed.

Very unusual. Usually there is one teller and 30 people waiting in line. And four people working at the desks, with one or two customers. Times change.

I walked around to the collectivo stop, and Miguel Angel/Prieto, the former collectivo driver, was there. I think he was hanging around visiting and waiting to go to his new four day a week taxi driver job. As opposed to his old collectivo job, where he worked 7 days a week, 12-14 hours a day. With about 4 days off in more than three years.He saw me walk up and came over with a big, happy smile. Then he whistled loudly and waved at the Chacala collectivo, which had just left and was over across the highway. The driver heard Miguel Angel, and stopped and waited for me to get over there. Worked out great.

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