Selective experience

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Fri 9 Aug 2013 04:59
A young woman went to Venice with her parents. As they came back there was some gathering with friends and the womans parents where describing the wonderful sceneries from their journey.
There was no end to how wonderful it was. Suddenly the young woman interupted when she could not agree about the description of the wonderful canals and the water. "It was filthy!" she said, "It was not!" her parents responden, "It was! There where even dead rats floating around everywhere!"
So went the discussion and to her it was a shock that they had  entirely different views of the same city.
As you might guess this is about what we choose to see, or why we see what we see. And for those who missed it I posted some pictures in Papete with city pictures and the back of signs.
As a traveller writing about what we encounter I feel some responsibility to raise the question on what we are transmitting to you.
As I started my career as a photographer, there was a lot of discussion about how to be objective. Well you can't. It does not matter how many Dogmas you create, as soon as I  point and shoot I have made a descition. I can decide to give you the most horrible stories or pictures or the most wonderful sceneries of paradise. And as a matter of fact it can be just a 180 degree turn at the exact same spot.
The whole question came to my head as we have passed a lot of stores in Papete selling postcards for everybody to send home.
And in that uggly little city, full of cars and motorcycles, the only postcards I found showed the islands of Bora Bora etc from the sky, where you can see the marvelous colors of water around the reefs etc. Some showed topless women with a ukulele on a deserted beach with palmtrees (of course).
Well there is not only what they want to show, I guess it is all about what we want to show off, to everybody who did not make it to Tahiti.
Just the name inflicts big flowers, coralls, smiles etc.
And it might be even so that you as a reader do not want to read or see uggly things. You might want to just dream away.
Well another thing that made me think was my stepmother who said recently," I read every day but I skip the broken outboard engines part"
And that is well so, some read just to see how family is doing.
Some good firends have the patience to read and look.
Some read to prepare themselves for a journey, that we know.
And so on. So as you read you SELECT what interests you.
So there are a lot of selections made on the way:
First authorities can select to close us off an area (some ruined atholls for instance)or as in the US they create VISTA POINTS along the scenic roads.
Second we select what to show and it is easy to point and shoot at things you expect, a white sandy beach with palmtrees, Salsa on a nice spot at anchor, the kids when they laught (not when they just hurted themselfe)
Third you select what to see, if you are a sailor you might want more pictures showing how we set up things, if you are family you want more pics of the kids etc
What is left?
Not only that, there is some kind of established unwritten rule on what we do see. I think the back of signs is  laughtable.
Most of us just do not see them. And the same goes for many things. When you live in the same place for a long time your selective brain has stopped to look at your environment. When we come to a new place we suddenly see that they have different labels, signs, even letters sometimes. And our brain wakes up.And maybe that's part of the fun to go to a new place. Suddenly even a supermarket is an adventure. For us it becomes even more "interesting" as we have to hunt for things for the boat or our daily living. Everytime we land in a new place we have to learn where things are and how they work.
That would be nice if it could be communicated, since that is more our dalily living than a local dance performance. The problem being that if I had to both communicate with somebody in a foreign language I do not know, and take pictures from it we would not get things done at all. Strange, isnt it?
The most important thing is the hardest to pass on to you. That is what's most important to us. It does not matter where we are in the world, what it looks like. All is a backdrop. It is our relations with each other, with other people ashore and on boats.
That's what makes this journey unique. And if I write a lot about engine service or other technical matters it is because we are extremely dependent on our own supply of energy, water and food. IF I could get Ellinor to blogg she would probably give you another perspective from the same journey.
Another selection.
If you feel something would be more interesting to read or see, le us know.
Hope you will continue to enjoy our diary...