Categories
Colombia

The Amazing Amazon

DAY 1:

We arrived by plane to the small Amazon gateway port town of Leticia, Colombia. The airport is really small and was full of mostly tourists heading to the Amazon.

Buildings Along the Amazon

We just missed the boat to Puerto Nariño, which was fine with me because they don’t have ATMs in Puerto Nariño and I was pretty sure we didn’t have enough money on us to last the next 5 days anyway.

It was really hot and humid and almost everyone was on a motorcycle or moped. There were very few cars. Internet was painfully slow and the food choices not that diverse. But we made the best of it, checking into a cheap hotel (the Hotel Anaconda was full with a professor’s convention) and hunting down the ATM to garner more cash. No credit cards in Puerto Nariño either!

We try to sample the nightlife of Leticia but either we’re too early or there is just not much going on. Just as well, we have another early day tomorrow to catch the boat to Puerto Nariño.

Amazon River

DAY 2 –

Up really early, too early!

We piled into the rapido (speed boat) in the port at Leticia to take the 2 hour boat ride up the Amazon River to Puerto Nariño.  The muddy bank leading to the boat launch is set at 45 degree angle and is a slippery mess after all the rain. I see one lady with stilettos digging into the mud. She’s not some unprepared Gringa, she’s a native.

Heading to our Cabana

My first impression of the Amazon river was that it was huge, muddy, amazing and powerful. There are occasional houses hugging the river and I got the sense that it is everything to the economy in the Amazon.

After about an hour the boat started to make stops along the way dropping off people and supplies or picking something up to take a little further upriver. The river is the Amazon’s interstate highway and where goods and people can most efficiently move.

Our Roommate.. Babah Boohey

We took a right fork to Puerto Nariño and I instantly fell in love with the town. It’s a peaceful, beautiful little hamlet built on the banks of a small gulf of the Amazon river. Kids were swimming to stave off the heat and fisherman were casting their nets . There are no cars or motorized vehicles in Puerto Nariño, and other than the motorized canoes, the only sounds were the buzz of insects and the hum of daily life as the villagers went about their normal routines.

Shooting in Puerto Narino

The crew and I were met by representatives of our Cabañas, the Alto Aguila (High Eagle), and we piled into a small canoe with an outboard engine to take the 5 minute trip upstream to our cabaña.

The walk up the muddy, grassy steep hill to our cabaña is hell with our gear. It’s a slippery mess though they’ve done all they can to make it not so, building natural wooden stairs and walkways but for me, this is already challenging. I’m a runner and work out almost daily, but I was huffing and puffing and a big sweaty mess when we finally arrived up the hill at our cabaña backpacks and gear in tow.

The cabaña consisted of four bunk beds and not much else. Oh and a baby owl screeching at us menacingly that instantly popped on my backpack (while it was still on my back I might add!).

Our guide, Witman, assured us in Spanish the owl was harmless and we find out as he gently removed him from my back and the owl perched on his hand.

I put my hand out and the owl gently nibbled it. Perhaps when he’s older these bites will hurt but  for now, they just tickled and this bird, cute as hell, was our instant mascot.

Piranha Fisherman

We proceeded to think of names for our new friend and Moses settled on BabaBoohey which stuck. BabaBoohey would be our companion the next few days and keep our cabaña free of nasty little critters in the wild, amazing Amazon.

We unpacked and quickly got ready to hit the lake just upriver for some Piranha fishing. On the way, we spotted some freshwater pink dolphins surfacing. These dolphins are nearly blind but are extremely intelligent.

Getting ready for my Amazon swim

I took a swim in the Amazon, being assured by Witman,that it was completely safe and that the Piranha wouldn’t attack unless I was bleeding or wounded. To my knowledge, I was not, so I dove in, heartened by the sight of all the young kids swimming in the river I had witnessed on the way up.

After a swim, we fished for Piranha but the closest we came to catching anything was watching Witman pull them in one after another. Still, watching them attack the meat on the end of my hook was pretty cool.

The View from Alto Aquila

Later that night, we went to town for dinner and witnessed a local soccer game.  On the way back, a sardine jumped into the boat, so we ended up catching a fish after all.   I’ve done a lot of fishing in my life, but never had a fish actually jump in the boat with me.

Local Kids

That night, as we crawled underneath our mosquito netting and the fan stopped running (the electricity cuts off every night at 11PM until 5 AM the next morning) all I could hear were the wild sounds of the amazon mixing in with my roommates’ snores and pretty soon, exhausted, I was joining in.

Categories
Colombia

San Basilio de Palenque

SAN BASILIO DE PALENQUE

Picking up Supplies at the Market in Cartagena

I felt like we’re preparing for a week long trip instead of a day trip to San Basilio Palenque. But not a lot of tourists do this trip, and it’s a little tough to get there in normal situations much less when it’s been raining for days no end.

After an early call time, we stopped back at the market in Cartagena to gather food for the Sancocho that Luis Towers’ (who is originally from Palenque) family was to make for us. While Luis and Renzo shopped for food, Moses and I stayed with the taxi driver in some skinny shade in the withering heat. We were so bored we started to shoot some more b-roll of the market.

Killing time with our taxi driver

We shot me risking death and injury crossing the busy street, we shot the fish hung up, the rooster tied to the top of a crate, young kids waving at the camera… you name it.

Finally Luis and Renzo made their way over with a couple of young kids enlisted to help them carry the food. We loaded it into the trunk of the little taxi. Renzo and Luis are big, tall guys. Moses and I are average size and the taxi driver is pretty small, but you add it all up, we have 5 people in a tiny, yellow economy taxi and  I’m sitting “bitch” (middle) in the back with a sack of food on my lap.

Our taxi for the last part of the journey to San Basilio de Palenque

We determine we’d never make the 1 ½ taxi ride to Palenque this way so we decide it’s best if Luis goes by bus and meets us there. My cramped legs thanked him for his sacrifice.

We were all in heaven again with our own seat when Luis unloads onto the bus. At first since I’ve been in Colombia, we got stopped a lot by the military at different checkpoints along the way. Luckily our taxi driver’s papers were all in order so each delay is not entirely brutal.

Preparing the San Cocho

When we finally arrive at the turn off for Palenque, Luis has already arrived (the bus beat the taxi, unbelievable), and there is a big 4 wheel driver cargo truck that will take us the rest of the way to Palenque as the roads are still a muddy, rutty mess from the rains.

The Entrance to San Basilio de Palenque

We all, taxi driver included, climbed into the truck and made the slow, bumpy, muddy and slippery journey into town. Palenque is what I expected thanks to Renzo’s vivid descriptions of the place. It was founded well by escaped slaves from Cartagena.

The people who live there today are all direct descendants of this brave group of runaway slaves. There is electricity but I understand that it goes out a lot.

Renzo with the kids and their "new" baseball gear

Luis’ family’s house is one of the nicer ones in town and it is where we set up camp to shoot and unload the food so the ladies could start preparing the Sancocho in the wood stove in the back yard. It’s hot and humid but I enjoyed getting to know the people from town.

There are lots of young boys and girls who were curious and came over to see what all the fuss is about. I was able to get to know a few of them as we shot.

Me and my drum teacher

I spent a little time with an expert on the Palenque language which is a unique dialect that combines elements of all the African languages represented in the village with Spanish. He taught me a few words, but considering I’m still having difficulty with Spanish, you can probably guess that my lesson was slow and painful.

Trying the pan de coco (Coco Bread)

I had even less success in learning the African drum, which is called the Alegre (a Spanish word for “happy”). I had more success eating the Sancocho whose delicious smells wafting through the house kept me motivated.

After lunch we headed over to the ball field where Renzo had brought some old bats, gloves and balls to give to the kids. They loved it! We played a few innings of baseball with palm leaves serving as our bases. The kids seemed unimpressed when I chased down a ball and helped get an out but these guys are hardcore baseball and soccer players.

When it was time to head back, Renzo decided to stay overnight and catch a bus back in the morning. So Moses, the taxi driver and I were loaded back into the big Cargo truck who took us back to our taxi parked at a friend’s farm. The cargo truck charged us $15 U.S. for the round trip, which is pretty expensive but the only other options would have been  to hitch a ride on the back of a motorcycle trying to balance expensive camera equipment over really rough terrain. I think we made the right choice.

We were sort of in a hurry to get back, to be honest, but we shouldn’t have bothered. After we got into the taxi we were not on the road  for half an hour before traffic suddenly stopped and we find ourselves in the middle of a traffic jam on a bridge in the middle of nowhere.

The church in San Basilio de Palanque

There had been a trailer truck overturned in the marsh earlier that day and they had decided to pick that evening to get it out. Just our luck. We’d sit on that bridge with hundreds of other cars, buses and trailer trucks for 2 hours before we could start heading back to Cartagena. As hard as it was for us, I can’t imagine what it was like for all those people crammed on the hot buses.

I walked past a couple and heard screaming babies and it reminded me of being stranded on a plane for hours on end, except no climate control, no bathroom or beverage service and mosquitoes attacking you relentlessly. And while maybe the passengers could disembark on a bus, I didn’t see any do it. They say patiently, screaming babies, mosquitoes and all, for 2 hours.

Drum Ceremony

Traveling in Latin America can really take some getting used to but seeing San Basilio de Palenque was worth it. The Afro-Latino culture is really unique in Colombia and they have their own unique history and culture that is worthy of exploring for the curious traveler. If you’re ever down in Cartagena, think about taking a day to go see the village of San Basilio Palenque. The roads will most likely be better and I think you’ll find the people very friendly and hospitable and the culture very worth exploring.

Check out more pics from our trip to San Basilio de Palenque HERE

Categories
Colombia

Food Market – Would you like flies with that?

CARTAGENA –  December 3rd, 2010

Today we visited the food market which is primarily Afro-Latino. It’s a muddy, unhygienic mess because of the horrible rain and flooding. I’ve been to markets like this before in Brazil and other countries and it takes some getting used to seeing the raw meat just laid out bare on tables, without refrigeration and crawling with flies.

Freshly caught fish at the local market in Cartagena

The one thing I always seem to notice is how everything gets used, we’re not just talking pig’s feet here, we’re talking pig brains, bull nuts, you name it they got it at the market.

And that is why the locals come here. It’s a cheap place to buy meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, but not just food, you can also buy toiletries, toys and you can get a haircut or buy some music, recharge your cell phone (or buy a cell phone).. it’s like a mall, not as nice by a long shot but way, way cheaper and full of mini entrepreneurs selling their wares and wheeling and dealing to make their living.

We get a decent amount of footage shot with Luis Towers providing the guidance, but once again just as we’re getting rolling, the rain sets in and dampens the rest of our shooting schedule.

Moe and I head out at night to a new part of the city, Boca Grande, and eat Mexican (a nice change of pace from the typical Colombian food we’ve been having) and get some footage of the Chivas, Colombian party buses. Boca Grande is not as charming as the old city but it’s a nice change of pace from the constant touts and vendors hounding you to buy buy, buy!

Dinner @ Bazurto Social Club in Getsmani, Cartagena

The Next day, we shot some more in the old city during the day. We find an English speaking tour guide Rolando, who agreed to be on camera with me and gave me the lowdown on a couple of historic spots in the old city including the famous Plaza Santo Domingo, where  back in the day, slaves were bought and sold but today feature touristy restaurants with outdoor eating with live entertainment like traditional Afro-Latino dancing troupes, etc.

We get a few more establishing shots in before rain once again interrupts our plans.

Renzo enjoys some Champeta music

We chilled for a bit at the hotel and then headed to a cool little restaurant owned by my friend Flavia called “Bazurto Social Club”  on the edge of Getsmani for dinner. We were in luck because that night they were featuring live Champeta music,  which was perfect to get us in the mood for our trip to San Basilio Palenque the next day. Tomorrow was to be a long day, so we hit the hay early, but not before doing some damage on the dance floor. While Moe and Renzo were dancing for fun, I was doing my “please no more rain” dance. I hope it works.

Moe tearing up the dance floor at Bazurto Social Club
Categories
Colombia

African Dancing in the Old City of Cartagena

The weather the next day wipes out the planned trip to the beaches of Isla Rosario and we instead opt to shoot in the old city in between downpours.

Cartagena: The Old City's Architecture is Stunning

If you’ve never been, the old city of Cartagena is gorgeous with lots of history. The city is walled in and protected by forts, streets are cobblestone and some architecture dates from as far back as the 1500s.

It has a tragic history as one of the centers for the slave trade in South America and still has a very strong Afro-Colombian influence.

A Local Painter in the Old City

It’s a good romantic spot too, very international with cruise ships docking for the day throughout the week, guaranteeing a steady stream of tourists for the locals to hit up. Unfortunately, this is the only downside to visiting Cartagena, you WILL get badgered to buy, buy and buy some more.

Just put on your game face and be prepared to say “no, gracias” a lot or you’ll be broke before you know it.

Performance Artists Abound in Cartagena's Old City

But on the flip side there are some great local artists, from painters to performance artists to jewelry makers and most things are not that expensive so do plan on getting some cool stuff for friends and family back home (or maybe yourself!).

We ended up getting some decent shots during the day while the rain held off. Without the cover of constant clouds, Cartagena became it’s hot and humid self, but after days and days of soaking rains we were glad for it.

Renzo, still sick, battled valiantly but had to call it a day after lunch so Moe, Luis and I continued shooting. We took advantage of our “freedom” from our Supervising Producer to try different techniques, he, he. But we’ll see how many actually make it to air and how many make it on the cutting room floor!

Cartagena's History on Display

Luis shows us the major sites around town, but he couldn’t walk two feet without someone stopping him or yelling “Luis Towers” from a passing car. Dude is famous around these parts for sure.

Africa? No Cartagena

We wound up the day right with a perfect sunset watching some African dancing and drums. Not a bad day at all.

Check some video of Afro-Colombian dancing below and to see more pics from our trip to Cartagena go HERE!

Categories
Colombia

Cartagena: Wet and sick but still all good!

We woke up brutally early to catch a flight from Pereira to Cartagena with a stop in Bogota. Renzo, the Supervising Producer, was really, really sick all night. Food poisoning. Definitely not good.

Enterprising kids built a "toll booth" over the flooded streets

Once at the Pereira airport, complete with an hour long delay, Renzo was not getting any better. Poor guy was in hell. We arrive at the Bogota airport to catch our connection to Cartagena and I got something to eat but Renzo could hold nothing down.

Rain lets up so we grab some dinner in Santa Domingo Square in old city

At Bogota airport we met  up with Moses, our cameraman / editor who joined us for the remainder of the trip.  Moe is a talented and experienced guy so luckily, Moe and I could at least carry on without Renzo. There is never a good time to be sick when traveling but at least we have a back up with Moses.

Afro-Colombian Dancing in Santo Domingo Square

In Cartagena the weather was absolutely horrible on arrival. It had been raining hard for days and the streets were completely flooded. Our hotel situation was not nailed down either but Renzo’s buddy, Luis Towers, a local Champeta musician was on the case and nailed down the Villa Colonial in Getsmani just outside the old city. It was cool.

Since Renzo was exhausted after being up all night and needed some sleep, Moses, Luis Torres and I headed out to shoot some b-roll. It started raining again so we stop to have a light lunch, but we really don’t get much video shot. We instead go on a quest to buy ponchos for everyone as it looked like we’re going to need them.

Cartagena is beautiful, day or night

Later that night the rain lifted for a bit and Moses and I took advantage to get some night shots of the old city. I sure hope this rain goes away tomorrow. Cartagena is not as much fun when it’s raining, but it still beats snow any day of the week!

Categories
Colombia

San Vicente Thermals

We woke up early (are you sensing a theme here?) to head to the San Vicente Termales (Thermals), a beautiful, eco-touristic retreat about 1 and ½ hours outside of Pereira.  We were met by Laura (our film student assistant) and Alexa, our bi-lingual guide that had been recommended to us and we had met the night before.

The terrain of the winding road was really rough from the rains with the small rental car bottoming out numerous times, but the scenery was incredible.

River that flows through San Vicente Termales

We arrived in a dreamland of exotic foliage, waterfalls and ponds (thermals) with steam wafting from them.

The first thing we did was to take a hike and after Renzo fell and barely escaped pitching into the rolling rapids (along with the camera) we realized tennis shoes were NOT the right footwear for trekking in these parts, so if you go, wear boots!

Alexa and I then did a canopy, the 2nd canopy ride in my life (all in the past week) across an incredible landscape of greenery and trees whizzing by and below.  I did mine superman style which is laying belly towards the ground and going face first. Very cool!

Alexa taking a canopy ride

We then hit the thermals and it was like a really, really warm bath outside in the mountain air surrounded by trees, flowers and the sound of nature. It was incredible and naturally heated from the nearby and (I hope!) inactive volcano.

We broke for a delicious lunch and the owner, who is a well known expert on the healing power of thermals and somewhat of a celebrity in these parts, pulled out a crystal to read all of our energy. All but one of us had negative energy, so one by one he fixed us up.

After lunch it began to rain but thankfully that passed and we were able to continue shooting my favorite part, which is getting buried up to our faces in hot volcanic sand, followed by a Turkish bath, an  invigorating but painfully cold water rinse from a natural spring and then we hit the thermal spas again.

This combination supposedly opens your pores and allows the natural minerals to get inside, healing you from the stress of life from the inside out.  I don’t know about all that but I will tell you I felt like I could sleep for a week afterwards.

But wait, there was more. Then we were given mud baths from the natural algae pools. The greenish mud didn’t smell great but it was warm and gooey and afterwards my skin has never felt so soft, like a baby’s behind!

One of the many naturally warmed pools of San Vicente (75-80 degrees)

The drive back was exquisite with the sun setting over coffee country. A magical day thanks to the hospitality of the people from the San Vicente Termales.  If you’re ever in coffee country you really should check them out and their overnight accommodations are both charming and reasonably priced. You can find out more about them at their website HERE.

Some of the beautiful flora of San Vicente

Renzo and I grab a late dinner and discuss our progress and give feedback to each other.  So far so good and how could I complain after a whole day of pampering?

I think I’m beginning to dig this job!

Check out more beautiful photos from San Vicente Termales HERE

Categories
Colombia

Coffee Country

Driving to Colombia's Coffee Country

We woke up early to take the 5 hour or so bus ride to Pereira. The bus was big and comfortable and we made a couple stops to eat along the way so the time passed surprisingly fast.

After we pulled into the Pereira bus terminal we were met by Renzo’s friend Laura, a local film student who had agreed to help us out on our shoots while we were in town. We were glad for the help and she was glad to get some real world experience in her field.

After checking into the hotel in the central part of town, we rushed out to the rental car agency because Pereira was really just our home base and most of our shoots were an hour or so outside of town.

Javier Picking Coffee

After renting a decent sized vehicle we headed over to the Villa Martha Coffee Finca (ranch). The drive was absolutely stunning as we climbed the mountainous terrain and the weather thankfully held out. We arrived late afternoon, a perfect time for shooting.

Javier, the owner of  Villa Martha met us and, appropriately enough, offered us some of his home grown, organic coffee. I found out later that almost all of the best Colombian coffee is exported to places like the U.S. and Europe, with the worst quality held back for sale in Colombia locally. Not so with Javier’s coffee, it was extremely fresh, just picked and processed days before and I can honestly say was the best coffee I think I’ve ever tasted (and trust me, I’ve drank a lot of coffee over the years) .

Javier doesn’t speak much English, but I instantly liked him and we built a good rapport as we shot a few on-air segments with Renzo shooting camera, and simultaneously translating my English questions to Spanish for Javier and Javier’s answers to English for me.  Not an easy job even without the worries of shooting camera!

Villa Martha Accomodations

The Villa Martha Coffee finca (farm) is relatively small and the sole purpose is tourism. The coffee it grows is sold exclusively to tourists and those who come to the finca specifically to buy the coffee. The accommodations are rustic but beautiful and run around $30-$50 US Dollars per night, depending on the season. There is also a nice pool out back, tiny hummingbirds and colorful butterflies all over the place.  All in all, it looks like a very relaxing and tranquil place to vacation and I was bummed we weren’t going to be spending the night.

We met one young European guest who was in the middle of an epic motorcycle journey from Alaska to the tip of Argentina! He had some great stories to tell but since he’s hoping to write a book about them someday I won’t steal his thunder.

Villa Martha Pool

We wrapped up the shoot and headed back to Pereira just as it was getting dark.  I felt really good about the shoot today. I sure hope tomorrow that the Termales (Thermal Spas) will offer more of the same.

Categories
Colombia

Guatape and Penol

We woke up early to head to the town of Guatape, home of Penol, the big rock, about 1½ hours outside of Medellin.

The weather was gorgeous as we headed out and were joined by our friend and guide Jonier, a longtime resident of Medellin.

In the morning we stopped off in Guatape and roamed around the town square, taking some b-roll (footage) and talking to the locals.

We took a ride in one of the three wheeled motors down to the lake waterfront where we ended up taking a canopy ride over the lake.

The "Rock" in Penol / Guatape

This was my first canopy ride and I wasn’t sure what to expect. After riding to the top with a guide who spoke no English, I rode down on my own at a very good clip. The water zoomed by underneath as the camera crew zoomed by to my right. I wasn’t really paying attention as I headed into home base at an even faster rate of speed, and to my shock, I did not slow down at all.

I wonder if this had something to do with what the guide was telling me at the top…?
I’ve really got to get out of that habit of saying “si” every time someone speaks Spanish and I can’t understand.

Were they telling me how to brake? Oh hell! Luckily there was a padded landing that I hit, albeit pretty violently. Thankfully it gives some time when I slam into it and a couple of workers come over to help me out of the harness. I’m ok but a little dazed by the hard landing.

When it was time for Renzo, the Supervising Producer, to take his turn I strongly urged him not to take the new AND expensive camera with him. MY new and expensive camera that I hadn’t even had a chance to shoot with yet since he’d commandeered it for use in the show.

He ignored my plea and headed up the canopy peak. I thought I was going to at least enjoy watching him slam into the mat and present him with a nice little bill for the camera when he breaks it.

To my shock he glides slowly down at a very conservative rate of speed and lands effortlessly on the landing pad without so much as coming close to the crash pad.  What gives?

Turns out he had asked the operator to let him down slowly so he could take some b-roll footage with the camera. It sure pays to speak fluent Spanish sometimes. While I was disappointed that Renzo didn’t share my pain, I was relieved the camera would be operational for a while longer and maybe I’d even get a chance to use it soon.

After the canopy ride we broke for lunch at a beautiful outside hilltop restaurant that served typical Colombian food. The views were amazing but about half way through lunch it began to rain like Armageddon and we had to abandon the rest of the planned agenda and head back to Medellin, unfortunately before we even had a chance to climb the famous Penol rock.

We rested up and then shot a scene with my buddy Raul and I at one of his friend’s bar/restaurants in Parque Lleras. Raul is a videographer as well and is a Colombian-American from Virginia now living in Medellin. Raul has lived in Medellin for a few months and he’s gotten to know Medellin quite well, so I really wanted his input on what it was like for an American living in Medellin, especially one with Colombian roots and who speaks the language fluently.

Afterwards we headed over Parque Poblado area to hook up with the local punk band Los Suziox (LSZX) as they rehearsed. The rehearsal space was really tight for two cameras but the music was really good. LSZX plowed through their big “hits” “Armas Silenciosas” (Silent Arms) and “Perfeccion” (Perfection) before launching into some of their older songs  that they are in the process of re-recording.

Andres from the band "Los Suziox" and Robert

About half way through rehearsal they surprised me with a rendition of Social Distortion’s “Don’t Drag Me Down”. They knew it is my favorite song so they invited me to sing lead while Andres (lead singer) sang backup. It was a thrill and we made it through most of the song without a hitch, but I do shudder to think I’ll have to look at the footage when we review the dailies. Hopefully that will never see the light of day.

After a brief on camera interview with the band we headed back to the hotel to pack. Turns out I had neglected to bring sunscreen to Guatape and paid the price. I was sporting a beautiful farmer’s sunburn.

So far so good but I can’t say I’m comfortable being on camera just yet. I know it’s just a matter of time but I’m not sure how much longer I want to continue feeling this discomfort. Life was so much easier behind the camera, directing someone else.  Now I have to worry about bags under my eyes from lack of sleep, sunburns and what to wear.

Speaking of sleep I better get some. Tomorrow is another early day as we have to wake up early to catch the bus for the 5 hour ride to Pereira. I’m off to pack!

Categories
Colombia

Medellin Punk Concert

Punk Concert in Medellin

Day 3 in Medellin and we were able to sleep in for a change. The only thing on our agenda was to grab some b-roll (extra footage) from Pueblita Paisa and then hit the big punk concert in Barrio Castilla, which featured my amigos Los Suziox and some other bands like the famous Colombian rock band Aterciopelados and Konflict who came all the way from Slovakia.

After shooting Pueblita Paisa it started to rain, foreshadowing a pattern that I’m afraid will follow us the rest of the trip.

We got to the concert way early and the rain delayed things transforming the concert area into a muddy mess.

Enjoying the Concert despite the rain

Early in the concert, I was afraid a riot was about to ensue when one of the policemen made a young punk assume the position while he searched him. Things were thrown, a crowd formed but just as quickly as it all started, it dispersed without any incident and the punks headed back to enjoy the music peacefully.

The bands were great and we got some really nice footage of the punk scene in Medellin as well as some great footage of Los Suziox on stage (see video below).  We scheduled a shoot for Sunday night to see them in action at their rehearsal.

With Andres from Los Suziox before their set

After Los Suziox’s set, we left around 8pm because we were set to visit Penol/Guatape early the next morning on top of all of us being a bit tired of being cold and wet.

I enjoyed the concert immensely and felt it was a good day. A day at  a punk show with lots of positive energy and good people…life is not bad indeed.

Los Suziox on Stage
Categories
Colombia

Medellin

Paula from Medellin Tourism

1st day of shooting and we get an early start meeting with Paula from Medellin Tourism office. Paula has a whole agenda planned for us so we start the trip off with an intense schedule that includes stops all over Medellin.

We begin at Barefoot Park where I am forced to remove my shoes and wade around in the water, grass and sand and get in touch with Mother Earth. The park is tranquil and the weather is splendid but I am in desperate need of a tan. I probably haven’t been this white in months… why didn’t we start in Cartagena?!

I’m pretty nervous and not used to the camera following my every move. This is going to take some serious getting used to.

We head from there to the Metro Cable and take the cable car up to the barrio Santo Domingo, and to one of the five new libraries the city has constructed in poor areas throughout the city. The views from the Metro Cable are stunning! And looking down gives you a glimpse of barrio life from above. It’s a must do when traveling to Medellin.

Metro Cable - A Must Do In Medellin
Barrio Santo Domingo

After touring the library, we break for lunch and meet one of Paula’s counterparts, Cristina, from the Medellin Convention and Visitors Bureau. We have a delicious lunch and head over to Parque Explora to take in the science museum. It’s full of schoolchildren and the most memorable part was going in the earthquake simulator which simulates a 6.0 Richter scale earthquake. To be honest it wasn’t that bad, but that is of course without buildings collapsing around you.

Pueblita Paisa @ Night
Pueblita Paisa in the daytime

By the time we finished Parque Explora it’s getting late so we fight rush hour traffic and head over to Pueblita Paisa, which is a reproduction of a typical little town in Colombia. The view is incredible but it’s too dark to shoot much so we’ll have to come back tomorrow to get b-roll.

We head back to the hotel and I grab a quick workout before we head out for some legendary Medellin nightlife.  Our first stop is Woka in Parque Lleras, where we order a drink called La cucaracha or something like that and the bartenders set the bar on fire. Good TV!

Nightlife in Medellin

From there we head to a couple of really cool clubs and end up the night in Sabaneta at a place called “Dulce Jesus Mio” (My Sweet Jesus), that is a real trip. It felt like Halloween inside the bar with so many people dressed up in costumes, but to be honest I was so exhausted that I couldn’t really enjoy it. I just wanted to go to sleep. It was 3AM and I’d been up since 6AM the previous morning. All in all, a pretty intense first day!  Travel ain’t easy!

Renzo shooting in Sabaneta