a conversation before takeoff
Flying a Kuwaiti airline from Spain to Greece. I find it somewhat comforting that the airline plays an Arabic prayer over the PA system before takeoff. I always say a small prayer before any major travel... for protection, for smooth arrival, for the flight crew, for new insights... and Arabic prayers are like musical meditations to me. My seatmate, a young Gaditano, reveals to me later that he (and i think everyone else on board) was freaked out when it started playing.
”Is this some kinda joke? Are we about to end up in Egypt or the Middle East?” he says.
We laugh about it. I assure him that the prayer is common for airlines based in Muslim countries. “Ahhhh!” he says. Its his first time traveling out of the country. I smile broadly and congratulate him.
“It’s good to travel. You have to travel a lot, especially while you’re young. Its like an education.”
He looks genuinely confused by that statement. '“Como?” he inquires.
“Well...” I say, (while thinking to myself, ‘Bruh. Didn’t you just learn something? And we ain’t even off the ground yet!’) “How do i know what I’ve been told about the world is true unless i go out and see for myself? Go to new places and learn about the people there, their language, their food, their music. Their... prayers?”
A light is slowly dawning in him. He tells me that he’s studying psychology. That he also plays flamenco guitar. He shows me a video of him playing. He’s good. And he has a smoldering intensity for someone so young. “But flamenco isn’t valued much in Spain,” he tells me.
”Ah, cuz there’s lots of people who can play?”
”Well, that’s even more reason to travel. People love flamenco outside of Spain, but they usually can’t hear or see it live where they are. In my country, se flippan!”
He stops and repeats what I said, then cracks up laughing at my use of the colloquialism. We continue talking, I tell him he should try to find other musicians on social media who play similar music or who would like to learn more about flamenco. Invite them to come crash at your place if you have extra room, offer to teach the something about flamenco and ask if they’d be willing to do the same for you when you visit their countries. Ask if they would mind introducing you to their network of other musicians and music learners. Post videos of you playing on your Instagram, Facebook, etc. Use what you know to take you where you want to go.
He ponders this for a few moments.
“That idea would never have occurred to me,” he muses aloud. “It’s like you said, you learn things when you travel and talk to other people who have experienced a lot.”
I nod. This sobrino is starting to get it. I pray that he does.