Friday, September 21, 2007

South America Part II: Street People


I’m having a hard time adjusting to the late dining hours. Last night a large group of us had dinner at La Casa Violeta, a beautiful restaurant overlooking the water. They serve salad and meat, period. Oh, and some decadent layered chocolate thing for dessert. But I have to tell you about this meat. It’s unbelievable. We were served thirteen (count ’em) courses of it – everything from various smoked sausages, ham, chicken, pork, to the most tender beef in the world. These are more like samples, not huge pieces, that you can chose or not, and are presented on the skewers they were cooked on. I am all meated out.

Yesterday I wandered around a bit by myself, but not too far from the hotel. I feel like a prime target: the white American female… I’ve been told there’s not a lot of major crime here, but to watch out for purse-snatchers and young boys wearing engaging smiles and larceny in their hearts.

On my return to the hotel, on a side street, I came across a man playing something classical on a violin. I stopped to listen because he seemed especially accomplished. A small crowd gathered but nobody gave him money. When the piece ended, I found some pesos in my jacket pocket and an American dollar bill. Handing him the money, I said that his music was lovely. He thanked me in English. Walking away, I realized that I hadn’t taken his photograph. So I returned to where he was playing and photographed him. When he saw that I had returned, he handed me his CD. I said, “Oh, you don’t have to do that” but he wanted me to have it. It turns out this man is world-class violinist David Juritz! Mr. Juritz is on leave from his job as concertmaster for the London Mozart Players.

From Around the World and Bach:
“On 9 June International violinist David Juritz left London with a backpack and an empty wallet for a 60,000 mile busk around the world, playing Bach's Partitas and Sonatas. He aims to raise money and awareness for a new charity, Musequality, which funds music projects in deprived areas across the world. The first project is the Tender Talents Magnet School for aids orphans in Kampala.”

The CD is beautiful. I’m playing it now, listening to selections from Bach, Vivaldi, Elgar, Debussy and Tchaikovsky. You can be sure that Musequality will be seeing a few more of my dollars. God bless you, Mr. Juritz.