SPAIN to the AMERICAS by Elisa
Here is a recent interview with Elisa describing how she toured the Americas. Edited and published in La Voz de Galicia in Spanish.
With love and respect, xfiltrate
Dr. Elisa Rosales, La Gallega- Intellectual, Adventurer and Elegant
Elisa Rosales was born in A Coruña, Spain and and has lived in Mera every summer. Her story is inspirational and a tribute to academics, motorcycle adventurers and to the elegance of women. In 1985 Elisa was awarded her masters in Spanish literature (licenció en Filología Hispánica) from la Universidad Autónima de Madrid, and a full scholarship from Syracuse University in New York, EEUU for her doctorial research. She authored "Pencimientos de la Poesia de Antonio Machado," two other books, and many articles for respected academic journals.
Q: How did you feel about leaving Spain to continue your studies in EEUU?
A: Very excited, very curious and a little apprehensive. When I was young, I was a girl of the pueblo, who fished from a small row boat, helped our neighbors (vescinos) harvest the crops, load chickens and live stock for market, and then as a university student lived with my family in Madrid. In the pueblo, I learned to speak Gallego. I could read and understand English, but could not speak it. And, I had never flown in an airplane.
Q: After completing your doctorate at Syracuse University what did you do?
A: I worked as a university professor of Spanish and Spanish Literature at Hamilton College in New York, the University of Northern Iowa (as Director of the summer Master Program in Spanish, I relocated University of Northern Iowa's graduate program from Soria, Spain to Santiago de Cospostella), and concluded my academic career by teaching seven years at Northern Arizona University. I have also taught at the Universidad de Arica, Chile and the Universidad of Heredia, Costa Rica. At the same time, I published journal articles and lectured at academic conferences in Mexico and Cuba.
Q: Why did you leave academia?
A: Literature, was without a doubt, my first love, but I arrived at a point where I wanted to go beyond words. During my paid sabbatical year, I flew to Buenos Aires to research and document the contemporary tango scene. It was fascinating, but, I wanted to learn more about South America, I wanted to discover South America like Che Guervara did by motorcycle. I bought a new Honda XR250 Tornado motorcycle, in Buenos Aires, and rode it for four months and 12,000 kilometers through Argentina, Chile, Perú, Bolivia and Uruguay.
At the end of my sabbatical year, I returned to the States, said goodbye to the academic, and returned to Argentina so I could continue my motorcycle adventures . Meanwhile, to support myself, I decided to become an actress, and studied two years the Acting Studio of of famous Argentine actors Dora Baret and Sebastián Blanco Leis.
Q: Wow, what did you learn during your motorcycle journey through Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Bolivia?
A: I learned that the peoples and the natural resources of South America have been exploited by dictators and democratic governments alike. They have been the victims of economic and political assassins. I learned that the people are very warm and hospitable to me, but are faced with overwhelming challenges to their survival. As I rode my motorcycle over the Andes, I leaned I could survive extreme cold and the lack of oxygen at 5000 meters. I learned I could survive with my sleeping bag, my tent, very little food and water and a few cooking utensils. I learned that I am much stronger and able than I believed. I learned from shamans along my route that I am more than a body, and I am beginning to understand the spiritual nature of myself and others.
Q: What has your family, friends and colleagues said to you about abandoning your academic career to motorcycle South America and become an actress.
A: Fortunately, when my father began dating my Mother he rode a motorcycle. My Mother's greatest concern was that I use lotion to protect my skin. Two of my brothers are surgeons, one is the captain of a port and the other a very successful contractor in Madrid, my sister is a professional forest ranger (guadia bosque), but each accepts and loves me and therefore admires and respects me, including my career choices. That is what family love really is, isn't it? Respect and admiration.
After teaching at Northern Arizona University for seven years my colleagues were, at first shocked and amazed and said so. But, I believe most of them are, as Henry David Theaureau (famous American poet) said " living lives of quiet desperation," and would very much like to pursue their own dreams, but don't dare because of financial considerations, based on a belief that they could not survive without the expensive goods and services mandated and promoted by society today.
In every South American pueblo I rode through, people waved and cheered me on. It was like riding in my own personal DAKAR.
Q: You have also driven a 4 X 4 from the State of Arizona, through Mexico to Panama, Central America and back, what similarities and differences did you perceive between Mexico, Central and South America?
A: First of all, we can learn much from the Aztec and Mayan cultures of Mexico and Guatemala. For example the Mayan calenders are more correct astronomically than own own Gregorian calendar. The Mayans have predicted the beginning of a new age in December of 2012. The wisdom and understanding of the curenderos and shamans throughout Mexico and Central America are as interesting and enlightening as the less documented knowledge and enlightenment available from the peoples of the rain forests of Brazil. Knowing how to know is the key, knowledge is available everywhere, if you look. Mexico, Central America and South America, if one ventures beyond the tourist hotels are as educational as any university. Oh yeah, I learned from the typical "tourists," and from not so typical "official" foreigners, what NOT to do when guests in a foreign country. Shame on you guys.
The games of growing and destroying the plant (poppies) that produce heroin and cocaine are being played out between many South America people and various governments foreign and domestic in South America. Billions of hard working tax payers' money has been expended to stop illegal drugs, yet the illegal drug money profits help to maintain, though legal and illegal investments, the economies of many countries, especially the United States.
Speaking of drugs, a couple of weeks ago, soon after my arrival, actors and a film crew from the Gallego television series Matalobos (canal 7 Mon and tues 10:05pm) were filming right under my beachfront balcony in Mera. I have watched a couple episodes of "Matalobos" and am hooked. So much so, that I have my sent my photos and CV, and, asked for a casting for a role from the producers. I am, after all now an actress, and know I could contribute to "Matalobos" in very meaningful ways. I know my breakthrough will come, and it just might be in the Gallego series Matalobos, I hope so.
Q: Good luck Elisa, "break a leg" What have you been up to recently?
A: My husband and I purchased part of a commercial parking building in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Many international adventure motorcyclists ship or ride their motorcycles to Buenos Aires, and then return home. We provide these interesting foreign motorcycle adventure tourists the option of safely parking their motorcycles in Buenos Aires, until they return.
And, earlier this year I completed the translation of New York Times best selling author, Neale Donald Walshes's book En Casa con Dios, for well known Argentine publishing house Kier. I more recently translated Kier's TangoZen , written by Chan Park, a former NASA scientist... into a bi-ligual edition. I recommend both books.
In February 2009, I did another motorcycle journey with my husband, this time tracking down UFO sightings and other strange events throughout Argentina. I rode my second new motorcycle Honda NX400 Falcon more than 7,000 kilometers from Buenos Aires, to Cordoba, Mendoza, the lake districk, Bariloche and Las Pampas and then back to Buenos Aires, camped and even bush camped most nights while interviewing witnesses to UFO sightings and other strange events like cattle mutilations and chupacabra attacks.
Q: What's next for you?
A: More adventure motorcycling in South America for sure, and acting.... after I appear in "Hola" magazine as "Ms Elegante," just joking... about Ms Elegante!
Q: Thank you Elisa, you are very elegant.
Last edited by xfiltrate; 12 Jun 2009 at 09:42.