Categories
South America

Help Us Feed Those Affected by COVID 19

WATCH RAW TRAVEL SEASON-ONE ON-DEMAND & HELP FEED HUNGRY IN COLOMBIA & GUATEMALA

As tough as the economic toll of this pandemic has been on the USA, it’s been devastatingly worse in many developing countries where the poorest of the poor live day-to-day. These folks, who struggle mightily in the best of times, have been unable to work to garner their daily meals due to lockdown restrictions.

The governments of these countries do not have much if any, social net to speak of. Only private individuals, companies, or NGOs are able to help and they are now struggling as well. The United Nations has issued dire warnings of hunger of biblical proportions is something isn’t done. So what can we do?

We can each do something big or small (a little goes a long way in developing countries) to help trusted and vetted partners address their communities’ hunger.

If you remember my pal Andres Ocampo from Medellin Colombia (Los Suziox lead singer, Raw Travel theme song composer & El Sub music venue owner) from Raw Travel Episode 706 – “Going Solo: Medellin Rocks”? Andres has turned lemons into lemon aid (pun intended). His venue, El Sub is unable to host any events or concerts during the lockdown, so Andres has turned the space into a repository for donated food & toiletry items for the poorest of the poor in El Castilla and surrounding working-class and poor neighborhoods in Medellin, Colombia.

Hungry Homes put out red flags to alert charities that there is a hungry
MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA Red flags indicate homes where there are locked in hungry people

People who are unable to feed themselves let their needs be known by placing a red flag outside of their home. As you can see by the photos and videos, there are lots of donated items, but there are lots of red flags outside of homes as well.

MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA: El Sub Video Tour

GUATEMALA: Our old friends at the orphanage of Casa Guatemala are doing something similar in rural Guatemala, collecting funds for their neighbors who are locked in and unable to work and thus feed themselves. Casa Guatemala is a much-respected resource in their rural area of Guatemala near Belize, and they understand that their neighbors are suffering.

We didn’t want to simply call attention, we wanted to come up with a way that our affiliates, vendors, advertisers, and viewers could help, either big or small.

Casa Guatemala is sharing food with their neighbors.

Between now and May 15th, 2020, donate $50 or more to either Casa Guatemala HERE:

or for El Sub’s Relief for Medellin, Colombia HERE: and we will donate the money directly to the organization.

Then simply send us an email of your donation receipt to RawTravel@aimtvgroup.com and we’ll forward you a pass for a free rental pass for Raw Travel – Season 1 good for all 19x episodes of Season One HERE

If $50 is too much to ask for this vulnerable time, we have smaller increments and rewards:

2) Between $6 and $49 donation will get you access to all three of Season One’s Colombia and Guatemala themed episodes:

Or if you prefer to rent any individual Colombia themed (#105 & #105) and/or Guatemala themed (#116) episodes between now and May 15th, the $1.99 entire rental will be donated and split between both organizations.

I know these are tough times, so we are trying to do our best to give you an avenue to help in a small or big way depending on your situation and hopefully at the same time help you remain entertained while at home.

But please if you are suffering economically yourself, do not donate. But if you are like me, feeling blessed at having a fairly secure job and outlook economically I thought this could be a good way to help.

As always, thank you all. God bless and stay safe… and sane. I know, I know… easier said than done.

* Please note this offer to view episodes is limited to viewers in the US only. Sorry Canada and others, it’s a territorial rights issue. But please do feel free to donate if you so desire and still send me an email and we’ll work out a way for you to be rewarded as well.

UPDATE MAY 17th, 2020 : Thanks to the following contributors who helped Casa Guatemala raise several thousand dollars and our pals at Justice for Andres in Colombia raise hundreds of dollars to help feed their neighbors in during the Covid 19 crisis. Special thanks to:

Stacey Pryor – Casa Guatemala

Laura-Lee Gosa.- Casa Guatemala

Rosalba Gordon – Colombia

Judy Smith – Colombia

Heather Pauli – Colombia

Brian Eubanks – Colombia

Lauren Wheat – Colombia

While our fundraiser is no longer active, if you do wish to donate, please feel free to do so at the links above and we will make sure the money gets to the right place as hunger, as you know, doesn’t take a holiday!

Categories
North America

Remember the Alamo but Forget Alamo Rental Car

May 1st, 2020

Today Alamo announced all employees are required to wear masks. I don’t know if our posts had anything to do with it, but I assume it didn’t hurt. Let’s hope other car rental companies follow suite. Here is the letter I sent their customer service.

To Whom it May Concern at Alamo Rental Cars / Enterprise Holdings

My name is Robert G. Rose. I’m the producer and host of Raw Travel TV and a recent Alamo customer. On April 1st, 2020 during the beginning of the peak of COVID 19 pandemic in New York City , I decided to travel and self-isolate on the farm where I grew up in Middle Tennessee. I booked a one-way flight to Nashville Tennessee.

After flying on a near-empty flight to Nashville International Airport (BNA), I proceeded to pick up my rental car from Alamo, which I had reserved for 14 days since I knew I would be self-quarantined at least 14 days. During the trip, I took every possible precaution, including wearing a mask and gloves the entire flight and drive home, as well as frequently sanitizing my hands.

When signing paperwork for the vehicle, I asked the gentleman at the counter if I could extend beyond 14 days if needed. He replied I just needed to call into the number on the receipt jacket to do so.

After my initial 14 days of isolation, it became clear that New York City was still not safe. I thought it safer for me and others to remain on my rural farm rather than a small apartment in a crowded city rife with the virus.

On or about April 13th, I called in to extend my rental. I spoke to Michelle, who said she would extend the rental for 14 more days until April 29th at the same weekly rate I’d previously booked. She specifically recommended April 29th as the return date because that date would lock me into a lower weekly rate rather than a more expensive monthly rate. I thanked her and agreed to her terms. She gave a reference #35133893.

I took the opportunity to report to her that the front passenger tire had a leak and was flat on day 2 of the rental, but that we had fixed the tire by plugging it ourselves to avoid any unnecessary contact with roadside assistance. Also, I told her about damage on the rear left fender, which I hadn’t noticed when I had picked up and she said she made a notation

On April 28th, when it became apparent I would not be returning to NYC anytime soon, I called customer service again to inquire about extending the rental for another two weeks. The lady I spoke with informed me that since I had already extended once on the phone, that I would need to go into a physical Alamo location to extend the rental again.

I’m taking safety precautions, why can’t Enterprise Holdings’ Employees?

I asked her if I needed to go to the Nashville Airport location specifically, or if there was a location closer to me where I could take care of it.

After giving her my current zip code, she suggested that I instead go to the Huntsville, Alabama airport (approximately 40 or so miles away from me as opposed to Nashville almost 90 miles away).

Since I had an issue with the tire and back rear damage, I inquired about the possibility of exchanging the vehicle.

She stated that if I wanted to exchange the vehicle, I’d have to do that in Nashville, but if I just wanted to extend the current reservation, I could do so in Huntsville. She stated she was sending a message for Nashville to ring or email me within 48 hours to be certain, but I never heard from them (and my frequent phone calls and emails went unanswered or flipped over to the national customer service).

To my initial confusion, she also insisted that the vehicle was not due back until 6 pm on April 30th, not April 29th as I had in my notes. After a little back and forth, I took her word for that. However, to be sure, I did call back a few hours later and spoke to Robert, who confirmed the information, and he also stressed that the vehicle was not due back until 6 pm on April 30th and he again confirmed that I could extend the rental at the Huntsville airport.

On April 30th, I ultimately chose to extend the car rental in Huntsville because it was 1) closer than Nashville and 2) I was short on time and 3) I could then be assured of keeping the same vehicle which had only had one occupant for the month, so I knew it was clean and safe from infection.

I arrived at Huntsville airport at approximately 5 pm, one hour before the car was supposedly due at 6 pm. I was surprised to see that receivers at the return area were not wearing masks, nor were they seemingly practicing social distancing, even though I had on a mask and gloves and was clearly trying to maintain distance.

When I walked into the airport to extend the rental, the clerk was behind a makeshift plexiglass window, and she did seem to be sanitizing her hands frequently. However, after a few minutes on the computer, she informed me that she was unable to extend the rental beyond one more day.  And when she tried to extend for one additional day the entire bill increased by over 50%.

She seemed incapable of grasping the billing discrepancy but made no attempt to call Customer Service Headquarters or to ask for help from an on-site supervisor who she said was busy with other customers.

So, I called Customer Service while standing there and after getting hung up on by someone initially, eventually spoke to Danilo. He said that because I returned vehicle April 30th instead of April 29th, the extra day had kicked in the monthly rate instead of the weekly rate I’d been quoted.  

Frustrated that was getting late and I was getting nowhere fast, I informed the lady at the counter that I was going to try to drive to Nashville and return it there before they closed. I asked her what time BNA closed. She again was unhelpful and was unable or unwilling to tell me and replied that every location has different hours.

Before heading back to the vehicle to drive to Nashville, now a 2-hour drive instead of a little over an hour drive, it would have been for me initially, I tried customer service once again. I spoke to a young lady whose English-language skills were challenging. However, she did connect me promptly to a supervisor, David.

Unfortunately, David only made this deteriorating situation worse. Instead of helping to resolve the problem, David droned on endlessly without pause how company policy was that rental extensions had to be taken at the physical location where the vehicle was picked up.

When I was finally able to edge a question in, I asked why both previous agents had told me otherwise. David deflected and again went on a long-winded explanation about company policy, without addressing the erroneous information I’d received or offering a hint of apology.  

He also all but accused me of being a liar, saying that he had no record of me extending the vehicle to April 14th. When I gave him the reference number provided, he said he could see in the notes that I’d called in and wanted to extend but saw no evidence of the contract being extended. He kept saying he understood that I thought I had extended but that since Michelle didn’t extend the contract in “the system,” I hadn’t actually extended the agreement. Thus, because I had returned the car a day later, I would be subject to the higher monthly fee. He then added that I was currently in breach of contract because it was past 6 pm on April 30th and would be subject to even more potentially higher penalties and fees.

I asked for David’s employee #, and he gave me #E772PF, but given how the conversation was going, I have doubts that is his real Employee #. If that is indeed David’s employee # and if his role is to de-escalate tension and retain customers, he did the exact opposite. Because of David’s rude tone and could-care-less, glib response to my inquiries, I then decided that I’d return the vehicle to Alamo and use any another car rental company my remaining time in Tennessee and, if I could help it, for any future travel.

When I finally arrived at Nashville Airport about 2 hours later nearing 8 pm (4 hours after I had set out) with a fully gassed up vehicle, the young attendant who received me was without mask and gloveless. He was climbing into the vehicle to check the mileage, etc.

He asked if everything was ok and I told him I was not happy. He then walked me over to the night manager and asked him if he could help me. The mask-less night manager and the other young man were standing right next to each other, about a foot apart. Despite me having a mask and gloves neither appeared to be practicing any social distancing.

When I mentioned there was a pandemic going on, they did apologize and separated a bit. But when I aired my grievances with the night manager, he mumbled something about the car was no longer accruing charges and that he’d take up with management in the morning about my billing and treatment.

I rented another vehicle with Budget Rental Car on the spot paying a premium for the last- minute rental. I sprayed and wiped down the new car from Budget as much as possible and drove home with my mask and gloves on, trying not to touch anything other than what was necessary to drive safely. I arrived back home at about 11 pm, roughly 7 hours from when I’d begun an errand that should have taken 2 hours to complete.

Despite the billing hassles, the repeated misinformation, and the glibly rude treatment by David the supervisor and the shrugging treatment by the Nashville night manager, by far, my biggest concern from this experience was Alamo’s attitude towards customers during this pandemic. Instead of making it easy to extend via telephone, I had to interact with up to 6 people in person yesterday, each seemingly taking safety precautions much less seriously than their customers, many of whom were wearing masks.

This morning, May 1st, Anthony, the Nashville Tri-Brand Manager for Alamo, Enterprise and National called to apologize and straighten out the billing. He informed me that as of today, May 1st, 2020, all Alamo employees are required to wear masks when interacting with customers. Anthony was going to send me an email with his contact info and billing summary, but as of the writing of this letter about 4 hours later, I have not yet received it.

I did, however, also receive a call from Mr. Shawn Hurley, VP of the Middle Tennessee area rental car locations, and he assured me that corporately, Alamo and Enterprise Holdings do take customer safety seriously.  Shawn expressed his frustration at my treatment and said he would do everything he could to improve his staff’s behavior when it comes to safety. I appreciated Shawn’s call and believe he will try his best to address this issue.

Based on my observations, neither Nashville or Huntsville Airport Alamo Rental Car employees are taking enough safety precautions to protect themselves or customers. It’s frustrating to see and hear companies pay lip-service only to something as crucial as customer safety.


I, like many, am extremely challenged during this time. I’m trying to continue to run my business, while working remotely. I am trying to ensure my employees, vendors, freelancers, and others who depend on this show for their livelihood are taken care of while keeping myself and my loved ones safe. I’ve had many friends and friends and relatives of friends who have had COVID 19 and recovered but it was tough. I’ve had others who have not been so fortunate and have succumbed. I take this dangerous disease and health recommendations seriously and if you want my business, I believe you should as well.

I specifically chose Alamo because I felt the service would be better than an off-brand, less expensive choice so I could focus on other, more pressing issues. Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred. As a result, I am behind on my sleep, my work, and my business.

Yet, I consider myself very fortunate compared to so many who have lost so much. I owe it to them to do what I can to communicate the urgency of this matter to others who may not understand or comprehend the potential of this situation. It is absolutely zero fun to watch a pandemic explode all around you, while you wonder if you will be next, or do you already have the virus and not know it or does your neighbor have it or who will die next from the disease or to wonder if you should shelter in place or escape while you can to a safer environment?

I could have easily dropped this matter when the billing discrepancy was adjusted. However, I feel a bigger responsibility to my friends, family, viewers and social media followers to be transparent so that they can potentially avoid any unnecessary safety risks or additional stress during this stressful time. I regret that I cannot recommend Alamo Rental Car to them.

I hope that by publicizing my experience, this may help in some small way bolster Alamo’s commitments to better customer treatment, more robust customer service training, and most importantly, during this unique time, a much more significant commitment to employee and customer safety and health.

Regards,

Robert G. Rose

Executive Producer & Host

Raw Travel TV

Categories
South America

Raw Travel Season 7 Trailer

Welcome to Raw Travel’s record-breaking Season 7!

Raw Travel Season 7 – Travel by the Numbers Trailer
Categories
South America

Raw Travel Hits Record Growth 6th Straight Year

Raw Travel visits Omo River Valley in Ethiopia for Season 7

RAW TRAVEL TV HITS ALL-TIME HIGH AUDIENCE GROWTH, YET AGAIN 

– Series Proclaims Authentic Travel is Stronger Than Political, Paranormal or Gossip – 

NEW YORK, NY: December 18th, 2019 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that its internationally syndicated television series Raw Travel® recorded its most substantial audience full season figures to date for its just completed 6th season. With a still-growing affiliate list that includes 173 cities in 95% of U.S. TV households, the 2018-19 Season 6 of Raw Travel was the sixth straight year of both audience and distribution growth.

The producers further crowed that the soon to be completed calendar year of 2019 is on track to be Raw Travel’s best year ever with +4% year to year total audience growth over calendar year 2018. Raw Travel’s continued growth, as most shows face eroding audiences due to fragmentation, continues to surprise observers.

The recently launched Season 7 (2019-20) includes a roster of far-flung destinations including, China, Ethiopia, South Korea, Indonesia, Georgia (the country), Turkey, Ukraine, Lithuania, and more. Closer to home destinations in South America, the Caribbean, and the USA are also featured.

With outlets such as the former Travel Channel switching to “paranormal,” Raw Travel has diversified to showcase a more extensive array of travel, such as Recreational VehiclesRoad Trips, Sailing ExcursionsSolo Travel, Voluntourism, Ecotourism, and more. 

“There is such an obvious void on U.S. television of authentic travel content,” states Robert G. Rose, Executive Producer, and Host. “Cable seems to have lost its bearings, is floundering and frankly seems desperate. We believe this presents a great opportunity for Over the Air, Free Broadcast TV, assuming broadcasters answer the call,” said Rose. “As cable continues to zig, we’ll continue to zag, and as they continue to lose their audience, we’ll continue to grow ours. If they are going to leave the entire niche up to us, we’ll gladly serve it,” Rose Continued.

Also bucking current media trends, Raw Travel has continued to attract younger demographics to broadcast TV while growing traditional core demographics from lead-in programs all across the country. The fiercely independently produced show has ranked #1 or #2 in key demographics in time-slots in significant markets the past six seasons, even when up against network or large studio productions, showcasing viewers’ appetites for authentic shows with socially relevant messaging.

Besides pay-TV outlets in Europe, Asia, and Africa, several major commercial airlines and cruise ships have begun licensing the series, spreading the Raw Travel movement of socially conscious, authentic adventure travel to viewers in all corners of the globe.

A short trailer showcasing Raw Travel’s Six Season growth spurt seasons can be found at www.RawTravelTrailer.com while www.RawTravel.tv and www.RawTravel.tv/wheretowatch offers more info, listings of U.S. cities, affiliates, and time slots.

# # #

ABOUT RAW TRAVEL TV

Raw Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing socially and environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of eco-tourism and voluntourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a unique way. Each weekend the show is seen in over 173 U.S. cities on major broadcast affiliates as well as in several international territories (Asia, Africa, Europe, etc.). It can also be found on several major airlines and soon in Over the Top (OTT Digital) platforms as well.  AIM Tell-A-Vision Group produces and distributes the show domestically. Visit www.RawTravel.tv for more information.

ABOUT AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP

AIM Tell-A-Vision (AIM TV) Group is an independent content and distribution company founded by media veteran and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. Since 2000, AIM TV has been producing and distributing positive, compelling content that reflects a mission of presenting “Media That Matters.” Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com for more information.

Categories
North America

Crazy Horse Prediction Coming True at Pine Ridge

Mother Nature got you down? Yeah, she seems kind of angry.

Well, here is something uplifting. In 2016 we visited the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota, located in the poorest county in the USA where the avg. male life expectancy is 48. Let that sink in.

The famous Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief Crazy Horse predicted that the 7th generation would lead a resurgent comeback for his people. They are here and It is now happening with Lakota youth at the Red Cloud School (where 95% of graduates are accepted into college) leading the way.

Here is a link to a short, but inspiring photo essay. https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2017/08/a-reservation-restored/535656/#disqus_thread

Categories
Public Relations

“Raw Travel” Season 5 “Firm Go” in Record Number of U.S. Cities

“RAW TRAVEL” IS A FIRM GO FOR SEASON 5 IN 160+ CITIES & 93% OF THE U.S.A.

– Nation’s Leading Travel Show Bucks TV Trend With 5 Years of Rapid Growth –

 NEW YORK, NY: JULY 18th, 2017 AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that their syndicated television series “Raw Travel®” is a firm go for its 5th season of production and syndication this fall. Season 5 will debut in late September and early October in a record number of U.S. cities representing over 165 DMAs in over 105 million and 93% of U.S. TV homes.

Once again, Raw Travel has added several new cities to its affiliate lineup as the syndicated travel show saw its 4th season achieve record audience growth with double digit audience increases.  In the most recent May ratings period, Raw Travel averaged over 850,000 weekly viewers, extending its lead as the “most watched authentic travel show on U.S. commercial television” for three seasons straight.

Continuing a trend begun in Season One, Raw Travel attracted younger viewers away from mobile and cable, over to broadcast TV, while maintaining or growing older demographics from lead-in programs in markets across the country. In numerous large markets, Raw Travel was ranked #1 or #2 in key young demos and time-slots and ranked as one of the top drawing weekend shows for several affiliates.

“Five years is a milestone most TV series never achieve. To still have so much momentum at this stage, is truly remarkable for an independently produced and distributed show” says Executive Producer and Host, Robert G. Rose. “I’m gratified and thankful for the support we’ve received from our affiliates and business associates, but especially from our growing legion of viewers, now from all corners of the globe. Episode number 100, here we come,” Rose continues.

In addition to its domestic growth, Raw Travel continues to expand its international footprint on major networks in territories in Asia (National Geographic People, Amazon, etc.), Europe (Fox, RTL, etc.) and Africa. Raw Travel was also added to several In Flight Entertainment (IFE) offerings on airlines such as Air Canada, Virgin America, Aer Lingus, Finnair and more.

For Season 5, the producers plan to celebrate their milestone season and 100th episode by offering viewers an opportunity to win free trips, clothing, travel gear and more.  In what is being dubbed as a “Season 5 Thank You Giveaway,” Raw Travel hopes to thank and reward their growing throng of loyal viewers.

Raw Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of eco-tourism, volun-tourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to television.

Visit http://www.RawTravel.tv and www.RawTravelTrailer.com  for more information.

# # #

ABOUT RAW TRAVEL TV

Raw Travel is the most watched authentic travel show on U.S. commercial television and is a soft adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of eco-tourism, voluntourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a unique way. Each weekend the show is seen in over 160 U.S. cities, by over 850,000 viewers, and in several international territories (Asia, Africa, Europe, etc.). It can be found on several major airlines and soon in Over the Top (digital) platforms as well.

ABOUT AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP

AIM Tell-A-Vision (AIM TV) is an independent content and distribution company founded by media entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com for more information.

 

 

Categories
North America

Happy Independence Day USA

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY USA: – I’m thankful for the unfettered opportunity to present our truthful travel and world experiences directly to our audience, free of government (or corporate) censorship, interference or fear of reprisal.
 
This simple but powerful right is still not enjoyed by too many in the world. May we always remember it, and not take it for granted and/or abuse it by presenting exaggerated, inflated, misleading or manipulated information to support a pre-judged position for the sake of money, power or influence.
 
May we always recognize, that each of us, by our very nature of being human, see things through a prism of beliefs and attitudes already embedded by our unique education, experiences, upbringing and exposure to information.
 
May we always seek to continue to evolve and grow based on new information and knowledge that travel brings and understand that we are all “works in progress” and deserve each other’s honest but respectful dialogue, regardless of whether we agree with someone at any given moment in time.
 
May I judge less and love more and understand that life is a short but powerful gift that should not be squandered.
 
Travel safe (but not TOO safe) out there and Happy Independence Day everyone!
Rob
Categories
North America

When Travel Goes Wrong – Azores the Trip That Wasn’t

We were all fired up about our trip to Portugal’s Azores Islands to film over the Memorial Weekend Holiday.

Weeks of planning had taken place and the Visit Azores folks had everything set for us and put together an excellent itinerary. This was going to be a great couple of episodes, but first, we had to get there.

Azores Air flies direct to the Azores once per day out of Boston Logan Airport at 9:05PM. Our flight was scheduled weeks in advance and was to leave on Thursday.

I had lunch with our Providence affiliate, WNAC Fox 64 and MyRI 64.2, so I decided to drive up from NYC via a rental car from Avis/Budget which has an office near where I live in Manhattan.

I booked a flight for the film crew on Delta Airlines leaving from JFK in NYC at 3pm and arriving in Boston Logan a little after 4 PM. Our plan was that I would meet them there around 5 PM after my lunch and a couple of afternoon meetings in Boston.

I was worried that the crew would be exhausted waiting around Boston Logan before catching our fight out hours later as we were to begin filming immediately on arrival to the Azores the following day shortly after  6:30 AM, so we’d all be sleep deprived.

Turns out, my worries were misplaced.

I began getting texts from the crew around 2 PM that Delta Airlines was postponing the flight. I began to get worried because I know things can go south quickly when this begins to happen. It was a rainy, dreary day but a little light rain shouldn’t be enough to cancel flights, especially a shuttle flight from NYC to Boston which are pretty much every hour on the hour. I’ve made that same commute many times myself.

After receiving notification that the flight was going to be really late getting into Boston Logan, I decided to pull over at a rest area about 70 miles and 1.5 hours outside of Boston Logan to make some calls.

I alerted our travel hosts at Visit Azores and called Azores Air to see what our options were.

They indicated the crew should be at the gate no later than 8PM. Delta’s new ETA for the crew’s flight into Boston Logan was now 7 PM (or at least as best as my crew could decipher from the reportedly un-helpful gate agent at JFK’s Delta terminal).

At that point, I could have booked the crew on the following evening’s flight on Azores Air out of Boston as the ticket agent told me there were exactly 3 seats available. But those 3 seats would go fast and the Azores ticket office was scheduled to close soon.

I decided against it assuming Delta would make the flight happen. Bad decision.

Flat tire…

To complicate matters, after visiting the restroom at the Rest Area, I discovered my rental car had a flat tire and, surprise, surprise…the car did not come with a spare tire.

Roadside Assistance was called but the folks they arranged to tow the car were 1.5-2 hours from being able to assist me, so now I was in danger of missing the flight as well. David, the very nice telephone agent at Roadside Assistance, advised me to abandon the car and get an uber to the airport if I could.

No Spare?

I set about arranging for uber pick up and was in luck as one happened to be in my area. Uber driver Keith swung by to pick me up and we were on our way, albeit in heavy traffic.

Minutes later I get a call from the crew informing me that the JFK flight had just been officially cancelled. Delta gate agents then suddenly became helpful and booked the crew on a flight out of LGA to Boston that would get in around 7:30 PM, it would now be really, really tight but we could still make it. The Domestic Terminal was a 15 minute walk / run from the International Terminal I was told.

I instructed the guys to sit up front as much as possible. They already only had carry on luggage/gear.

But flying out of LGA is especially nightmarish these days, with construction going on. I was afraid the crew’s taxi wouldn’t make it on time with car traffic a mess there.

They actually did, but it didn’t matter because as soon as they arrived the LGA Delta Flight to Boston Logan began getting delayed, and eventually cancelled.

Unfortunately for us, all this happened too late, the 3 seats were no longer available and the ticket office for Azores Airlines was closed.

When I arrived to the airport (1.5 hours and $96 poorer from the Uber ride), I promptly checked in and received a call from my Azores Tourism contact, who, was working into the wee hours of the night there to try to accommodate us and save our trip.  I felt so guilty.

She suggest I fly in (it’s not like I could just turn around and go home as I’m now in Boston, live in NYC and had abandoned my transportation due to the flat tire/no spare scanrio) and then we either try to get the crew on the next flight in the following couple of days, or I could scramble and try hire a local crew there. Either way, hopefully,  I would still be able to shoot something.

Taxi back to the gate

Alas, after the Azores Airlines flight at was on the taxi way at around 9:30 or 10PM, we received word from the Captain that the flight had been cancelled due to a technical problem with the plane.

After waiting what seemed like hours for my checked luggage, I did a quick online search only to realize there were no hotels to be had in Boston as this was Harvard Graduation week. I had not graduated from Harvard, but even dumb little old me could figure out this was not my time to visit the Azores.

I could hang out in the Boston Airport for more than 24 hours and hope to catch the next flight to the Azores or take a train home (I was already exhausted having been awake since 6AM and it was now 12:30 AM the next day).

I ended up sleeping (or trying too among the bright lights and constant airport announcements of “if you see something, say something” and “Lexus the official car company of Boston Logan” or some non-sense announcements)  at the Boston Logan Airport before taking the 5:05 AM train to NYC.

The Amtrak train home was by far the most pleasant part of the journey.

A lot of sweat equity and money was wasted on a trip that never materialized thanks to  bumbling, fumbling travel corporations that dropped the ball and just plain old lady luck.

I also share the blame because obviously, in retrospect, I should have never relied on airplane travel or even car travel, I should have just trained it. But with Amtrak’s own woes of late, that carries it’s own risk.

Train Ride Back Home

Is there a boat service up to Boston that anyone is aware of?

I’ve included  some photos and a short video of the entire experience. I hope you can enjoy it because I sure didn’t.

P.S. Be on the look out for this and more misadventures in Season 5 when we premiere “When Travel Goes Wrong” in February 2018 and here’s hoping the Azores trip gets rescheduled. Stay Tuned.

 

6/10/17 POST SCRIPT: 

Avis / Budget Bills Me for Roadside Assistance

Today I received this bill from Avis/Budget Rental Car for $182.04 for the Roadside Assistance and Towing.

Remember they didn’t provide a spare tire in my car rental and advised me to call RA and take an Uber to the airport as a result. So let’s see

(1) Original 1 Way Car Rental Cost NYC to Boston = $115

(2) Uber to Boston Airport = $75

(3) Roadside Asst. Cost = $182…

so my $115 Car Rental Tab is now $372.04 for a trip. Ouch. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Categories
Africa

The Impact of Raw Travel on Endangered Rhinos

Care For Wild Africa 

People say I have a great “job”, and I do, but producing Raw Travel is also a ton of work and sacrifice. I’m 99% sure I could make more $ doing something else, but I figured out a while back that old cliche about $ and happiness is actually true.  The impact of the show and feedback from viewers is one big part of the reason we carry on. At times I wonder if the show is having an actual impact other than entertainment, but then I hear stories like this Toronto gentleman who saw Raw Travel last year (we’re not licensed in Canada so I assume he saw the Buffalo or Detroit feed).

After tuning into our story on Care For Wild Africa/ African Conservation Experience this gentleman booked a trip to volunteer for them in South Africa and has returned a changed man. He’s telling others about his transformation and about this critical issue as rhinos near extinction. Here is his story and I thought I’d share it.  P.S. You can see our segment on the CFWA again this summer in “Amazing Animals” July 1st-2nd, 2017.

A link to his story can be found HERE:

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Categories
Peru South America

Lovable Lima Premieres in the U.S.A.

“RAW TRAVEL – LOVABLE LIMA” PREMIERES  IN THE U.S.
– Nation’s Most Watched Authentic Travel Show Shines a Spotlight on Peru’s Surprising Capital City –
 
NEW YORK, NY: May 17th, 2017 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that its syndicated television series Raw Travel® will premiere “Lovable Lima” this weekend, May 20-21, 2017.
 
To produce “Lovable Lima”, the producers worked with a mix of locals, travel experts and expats to shine a spotlight on the hidden and not-so-hidden charms of Peru’s largest city.
 
In addition to discovering the appeal and diversity of the different neighborhoods of Central Lima, Barranco, Miraflores and Callao, “Lovable Lima” explores the unique Asian influence on the South American country’s culture with a visit to historic Chinatown.
 
With a host of gastronomical influences and a plethora of homegrown, organic produce, Lima is also arguably the foodie capital of Latin America. Raw Travel explores this aspect of Limeño culture, with a visit to local markets and hidden gem restaurants to get a taste of the city’s heralded gastronomical delights.
 
“Lovable Lima” then gets a shot of adrenaline as Lima’s scenic cliffs, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, provide the perfect backdrop to paraglide over the city in one of the most unique adventure travel experiences available to urban explorers. Raw Travel also visits the Cemetery of Nueva Esperanza, the picturesque and surreal indigenous cemetery on the outskirts of Lima, that some claim is the second largest in the world.
 
Keeping with Raw Travel’s mission of showcasing ways in which travelers can give back through voluntourism, Raw Travel visits the French based organization “Niños Del Rio” (Children of the River), which works to get abandoned and runaway children off the streets of Lima and into a loving home.
 
“Travelers too often ignore Lima and the rest of Peru in a rush to more publicized areas such as Cusco or Machu Picchu. We want to show visitors what they’ve been missing, beginning with Lima, one of the most unique cities in all of South America” states Robert G. Rose, Executive Producer and Host of Raw Travel.
 
“Peru is a large, diverse and magnificent country. Stampeding to the same sites in a quest to check things off a bucket list is neither authentic nor responsible. We want to encourage visitors to diversify and explore Peru in a more sustainable and potentially more fulfilling manner” Rose continues.
 
The “Lovable Lima” Episode will be followed by a road trip down Peru’s southern coast which will kick off Season 5 of Raw Travel in late September and early October.
 
Visit www.RawTravel.tv for more info, www.RawTravel.tv/wheretowatch for local listings in 160 cities and http://rawtravel.tv/video/raw-travel-416-lovable-lima-trailer/ to for the “Lovable Lima” video trailer.
 
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ABOUT RAW TRAVEL
Raw Travel is an authentic, adventure travel and lifestyle television series currently in its 4th season and airs in over 160 U.S. Cities (93% of the U.S.). It is broadcast in syndication on local affiliates (Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC, CW, My, etc.) as well as on a variety of international outlets such as National Geographic, Amazon, Fox, etc. in Asia, Europe, Africa and more as well as featured video entertainment on several airlines. Raw Travel showcases the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware independent travel. The series weaves together themes of ecotourism, voluntourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to U.S. television. More information can be found at www.RawTravel.tv and viewers can visit www.RawTravel.tv/wheretowatch for a complete listing of cities, affiliates and time slots in the U.S.
ABOUT AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP
AIM Tell-A-Vision Group (AIM TV) is an independent content, production and distribution company founded in 2000 by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com for more information.
 
SPECIAL THANKS
The producers want to thank the local travel partners featured in “Lovable Lima” including “Vamos Expeditions”, “Eureka Travel”, “‘Viento-Sure Parapente” and “Aracari Travel” for their help.