Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hot hot days

I retreat to air-conditioned comforts as the temperature soars.

SO I'VE been in Cordoba for the last few days. It's a city remarkable in it the fact that it is so incredibly ordinary. The most notable aspect of the last few days is that I have found that the further north I go (coinciding with spring progressing to summer) the hotter it gets. The past two days the board in town said it was 38.5 degrees. My blood is too thick for this punishing environment. And it's only going to get hotter. I have sought asylem from the oppressing heat in the pleasures of the local multiplex. Sadly there has not been much to take my fancy but sitting in a cool dark room with a Pepsi and some random Latinos has been heaven.

First up I saw Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, in which Stone turns one of the most dramatic events of our lifetime into a schlocky TV melodrama with cinematic pretentions. It's fairly interesting untill the towers collapse, but then it's a just by-the-numbers rescue story with Stone cutting beween the guys trapped in the rubble and their families, explaining to us that they were VERY WORRIED. It's heart was in the right place but there wasn`t much interesting happening bewteen Cage and his trapped collegue, on account of them being pinned down by immovable slabs of concrete (which move when the characters breathed).

But the most interesting part of my World Trade Center viewing experience was when the film ran down and stopped, like you see happening in movies but not real life. It was like that bit in Gremlins 2 when Hulk Hogan yells at the projectionist to turn the movie the hell back on!

Today I saw Pulse, a Wes Craven-produced remake of a recent Japanese shocker. The film features the original themes of GHOSTS and COMPUTERS. You see the ghosts COME THROUGH THE COMPUTERS. Amazing. Can anyone stop them? Ironically the 'good guys' spend most of their time acting like the very dead things they are running away from. Because the idea is not to die, you see, although everyone looks pretty miserable anyway and you wonder if maybe it's for the best. Perhaps it would help if someone, anyone, wore something with a little colour. A little sparkle. Who knows.

The ghosts kill you by sucking the life out of you. So the characters literally give up living. After about an hour I felt I could really to relate to them (oh, how droll!). The only thing that keeps out the ghosts is red duck tape. Obviously.

Overall I think Pulse is generic, formulaic and only confirms that Wes Craven has probably got a worse 'miss-to-hit' ratio than John Carpenter, and has also contributed more than anyone to the niche of average-to-bad horror.

However, although I may mock these films, they kept me fairly entertained on days when the alternative would be to sweat copious amounts of sweat. For ages. I really like popping into the cinema to see pretty much anything on a hot, sticky afternoon. It only costs little over a pound and who knows, maybe one day I'll actually see something genuinely good.

But I haven't just been wiling away the afternoons in the cinema. Oh, no. The other day I was passing by Cordoba Zoo and I thought, why not? Six pesos later I was walking among lions and bears and the like. Well, I say 'walking among' but in truth it was more like 'stare at them lounge about in the shade with a drink'. Again, I could relate.

On the way back from the zoo I picked up some copied cds from The Beatles, Jacko and some Creedance Clearwater Revival. The guys in the shop had done some amazing work copying the song titles. On the Beatles cd I can look forward to treats such as 'I Feet Fine' and 'Get Bach'. Fantastic.

There have been a group of Swedish girls at this hostel so in the evening I've been spending time with them. They've been here soing a Red Cross project type thing that I can't quite describe. Whatever it is, they are DOING GOOD, and that's all that matters. They have been living (all of them) in a dorm with their teacher Goran, who is about 40ish. Some people might think that's weird. A male teacher sleeping in the dorm with 7 21-year old girls. Not me. I think it's perfectly fine. And if you think otherwise, well, you're obviously disturbed.

I have accompanied these Swedes out to the bar area of Cordoba where I have explored the cocktail selections. And last night we went for a nice meal where I tried to take a picture of a fish head on a fork placed stratigecally in front of the camera to create the illusion that one of the Swedish girls had a fish head instead of her own head. Actually the girl was from Chilean descent, but I don't think that makes it either more or less likely that she would have a fishhead instead of her own head. It was a Kingfish, but again, I don't think that bears much relevance at all.

I'm starting to change my eating habits from 'Malbec and steak' to 'white wine and stuff that goes with white wine'. I'm red wined out completely. Having said that, I don't know if they have anything remotely sophisticated like wine in Bolivia so maybe I should still take advantage while I can.

Anyway, all in all Cordoba hasn't been that bad. It's been hot as hell, and this hostel is really weird. But it's been interesting. Last night at the restaurant was really nice. Classy service. Nice Sauvignon Blanc. Swedes. All the things you need at a good restaurant. Oh, and I had some kind of lemon sorbet made with champagne for a dessert that I can highly recommend. Alcoholic sweets are the way forward, I believe. It came with a preposturously long spoon which of course Goran, being an eccentric Swede, wanted.

We stole it.

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