Exactly halfway through my two-month trip, my still and video cameras were both stolen, along with the accompanying lenses, a netbook, and a few other knickknacks. I resorted to a couple of disposable cameras to document everything, and eventually picked up a 1960s-era Soviet Zenit (sans light meter) at a photo store in Hungary. This shot, though, came from a disposable camera I had picked up in Zagreb, a day or two before I hopped the train to Budapest.
When I was young, my parents would send me to summer camp with one-time use cameras, and I remember conserving my remaining photos like I was storing them away for a cold winter. Every shot had to count, and I made sure they did. That same sentiment returned in force this time around, and I caught myself in the business of hunting magic.
Play is the great unifier—it crosses just about every barrier that differentiates people from each other, and in my deliberate choice to conserve film, by chance I happened upon a ragged vagabond with two sticks tied together with surgical tubing, like a silly-looking nunchuk. But there was a breeze, and the vagabond was more clever than I: with a flurry and a splash and a careful arc-motion, he set free a thousand soap suds, each growing and gliding across the cathedral courtyard. Children converged from all corners, laughing and smiling, and just like that: one hundred strangers, suddenly fast friends.