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Overheard at the Ñuñoa Feria in Santiago, Chile from Eileen Smith on Vimeo.

If you’ve ever walked around in a public place, letting the words wash over you, you know some voices carry more than others. And if you happen to be in a foreign country, or the people are speaking a language you don’t understand, you might listen to them and think, I wonder what they’re talking about.

So if you want to pretend you’re doing that, watch the above video either with your eyes closed (I believe we call this listening), or without reading at the subtitles. And then once you’ve done that, give it a whirl with the subtitles, if you don’t speak Chilean Spanish. If you speak Spanish from some other place, now is the time to exclaim about how odd Chilean Spanish sounds to your ear. These guys are not particularly difficult to understand, I’d say they’re on the standard to clear side. And if you’re reading this on a reader, really, none of this makes any sense until you click through to see the video, but to each her own.

There are a few things that are interesting to me in this video. The first is that one of the guys is complaining about the general bitterness of the feria where he normally goes, and talking about how nice the people at this one are. Is that true? Well, yes, actually, I think it is. We had a nice talk with a guy sawing a squash into pieces (story to follow, sometime), which might be because we were two pale, curly haired gringas in skirts and hoodies and such, filming in the feria. Or it could just be because the people at this feria, in Ñuñoa, on Wednesdays, really just are so lovely that you’d want to comment about it. Which indicates that despite occasional gringo meanderings into wondering why it’s not the case, Chileans really do enjoy good customer service as much as the next person. (I’m right now (figuratively) looking at a particular friend who may or may not have told off the people at his cellphone company just the other day when they failed to return his phone to him at the appointed time because the lady who had his phone was at lunch (no lie)).

The other thing is that I think it’s pretty universal that people like to bitch and moan, and that they often direct said bitching and moaning to people who can’t do anything about it. Here the main speaker is telling his friend how awful the people at the feria near his mother’s house is. His friend cannot do anything about it. But this is what we do. We complain to the wrong people.

Then there is one other, other thing. A good friend of mine (Mandi) shot the video, as we were filming me purchasing items to make a dish to then take photos of and write an article about for an online magazine. So you see, we have videoing the cooking so there can be writing and photography. It’s all very recursive. The clips of the purchasing sit on hard drives large and small, but this is a little ancillary piece I whipped up that Mandi recorded while I was off recording what I now understand to be called “wild sound.” I am just now learning to edit video in a very rudimentary fashion, using iMovie, and I figure it’s a good skill to have for the whole storytelling thing, which in the end, is what I really love. Even more than ferias and celery-avocado salad.