AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP ANNOUNCES “RAW TRAVEL” TV SERIES
– Indie Producer Announces a New Kind of Travel Series for Curious Travelers –
– AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV), the company that pioneered syndicated English language TV programming for U.S. born American Latinos, announced today their latest production “Raw Travel®”, a new kind of travel series showcasing the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel.
The series incorporates eco-tourism, voluntourism (giving back) and adventure sports, with underground music and culture in a way, that is unique to television. The inspiration for the series occurred when AIM TV Founder Robert G. Rose was traveling abroad and discovered a trend among a growing number of socially conscious travelers who were striving for more authentic and rewarding experiences.
Rose collaborated on the project with his long-time production partner, Renzo Devia. The award winning duo rekindled their creative relationship and enlisted the help of other trusted associates from their many years in production to create four (4) complete, one hour episodes. The crew traveled to off the beaten path destinations which offered unique opportunities for authentic cultural, environmentally sustainable and socially aware travel experiences.
True to the title, the program illustrates the raw and, sometimes unglamorous, frustrating reality of independent travel while simultaneously showcasing how this type of travel is not only more affordable, but can spur the kind of growth and fulfillment that rewards and changes lives forever.
“Travel is the most powerful experience I know. It takes you through a wide range of emotions ranging from often irrational fear to almost always incredible fulfillment. We hope to demystify the concept of socially aware travel and, in the process, encourage people to get their passports and go meet the neighbors,” states Rose, Executive Producer and Host of the series. “Travel can spur empathy, deeper cultural understanding and personal spiritual growth. These are experiences that I believe everyone can and should have,” Rose continues.
The episodes currently produced include treks to Colombia, Argentina & Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago and Ecuador with additional episodes slated to begin production once distribution is secured. An 8 minute video trailer can be viewed at the show’s website www.RawTravel.tv along with more information on the show, links to the blog www.RawTravelBlog.com and more.
AIM TV will be attending the upcoming NATPE convention as well as Real Screen summit to screen the series for interested networks & media outlets.
ABOUT THE AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP
AIM TV is an independent content production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects their mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com for more information.
Today it was time to leave our cabaña and take the 2 hour boat ride back to Leticia, Colombia and civilization or what passes for it in these neck of the woods. After 3 days of muddy, sweaty togetherness sharing a small and now thoroughly filthy cabaña with 2 other bunk mates, it’s not a moment too soon (no maid service in our Amazon adventure).
The only thing I could think of was how luxurious the non air conditioned private room I’d have at the hotel in Leticia that night. This was the same hotel that on the way in just a few days earlier I thought was a dump and the worst of the trip so far. Nothing like a few days in the Amazon to change your perspective on the little comforts of life.
I’d gotten up early to grab breakfast. Eggs and bread.. again. But this time they had coffee so I was in heaven.
We returned back to the cabaña to pack and say good bye to the now very smelly lean place that served as our shower and bathroom and the clammy sheets and mosquito netting on the bunk beds. A little less enthusiastically I bid goodbye to our new animal friends; the guard dog Sasha, the parrot, the duck, the two constantly masturbating monkeys and most fondly, the baby owl, Babbah Boohey.
Bidding goodbye to our guide, Witman, was equally bitter sweet. Witman was a real trooper, never failing in his duty and always looking out for us without smothering us or pestering us for a tip or to spend money or anything.
In fact, the first thing I noticed about the people of the Amazon is their lack of assertiveness when it comes to money. It just doesn’t seem that important to them. Rarely if ever did they try to sell us anything and if we chose to buy something we had to ask the price and make the first move. After Cartagena that was a refreshing change.
The people of the Amazon were sweet and humble and while some lived hard lives they seemed not the least bit hardened by their experience. Instead, they happily went about their business in a friendly but much understated manner.
The kids are the ones I’m mostly going to miss… the shy but beaming kids. Little guys and girls of various ages, living in paradise and not realizing it. A plastic grocery bag on a string for a kite? Fun for hours. An empty plastic bottle to kick? Just as good as a soccer ball. Kids are simple and these kids were simply happy to be alive it seemed.
I hope that when they grow up they can continue the tradition of their ancestors, but I’d be selfish and hypocritical if I didn’t also wish for them some degree of comforts of the modern age. Air conditioning, a more diverse diet, a movie every now and then, decent web access, nothing culture killing mind you, just some creature comforts because I’m telling you life in the Amazon can be really hard.
When we arrived to the port of Leticia I felt like we’d reached Manhattan. Cars and motorcycles! I had forgotten what they looked and sounded like, and of course that wasn’t such a bad thing but I’d be lying if I pretended I wasn’t glad to be back to a decent sized town where I could somewhat choose my food and finally check my email.
It was Monday night and we’d vainly searched for Monday Night Football to see the Giants play anywhere in town. We finally gave up and ventured over to the Brazilian side of the border to Tabatinga. The vibe was decidedly more gritty, and maybe just a wee less safe. When we crossed the border to Brasil (no passport required) almost as on cue, the lights to the city went out.
As I said it was Monday night and there wasn’t much happening on either the Colombian or Brazilian side of the border so we headed back to the Colombian side and called it an early night. I had no problems sleeping and looked forward to being in a major city (Bogota) tomorrow, to finish up the shoot and look at some dailies with the guys.
And while I was glad to be back in “civilization”, there is a slight pang of regret when I think that I may never see my friend Babbah Boohey or my other new Amazonian friends again.
It started raining about 1am and kept going all morning. There was nothing else to do so we did laundry, Amazon style, which in itself was a small adventure.
Rain or no we had to eat so we headed into town with our ponchos. Despite all the rain we had encountered this was our first real opportunity to use our ponchos since we’d bought them (at a premium) in Cartagena.
Lunch was fish or chicken with soup to start with. I was beginning to sense a pattern here.
The thing I noticed on the way over to town was the port was loaded with fisherman, many counting their haul already. Turns out after two days of sun followed by a big rain, the fish come to the top making themselves an easy target for fisherman. I guess everyone doesn’t hate the rain.
While at lunch it stopped raining and we were joyous because I just couldn’t envision a day in the cabaña just twiddling my thumbs. The U.S. was still too much in my blood for that. I didn’t even have a book to read and electricity was only on in certain hours of the day.
We decided to take the 1 & ½ hour boat ride down to the village of Macedonia where, it being a Sunday, we could buy some souvenirs and take in some authentic traditional dancing.
When we pulled into the town’s little dock, a representative came down to welcome us. The townspeople were all gathered with the men playing some kind of board game with dice and little boys playing a spinning top game called Trompo.
I tried Trompo but sucked at it so bad that I felt bad interrupting their game so I ambled back with the crew to take in some traditional dancing from 3 of the elder ladies in traditional costume along an adorable 10 year old girl named Esmeralda. They invited us to participate and I did.
It was much easier to follow along than something like salsa. It had a slow, simple rhythm with the ladies chanting something in their native language over and over. At the end of their dance they placed a small pot in the middle of the dirt floor, a not so subtle request for donations.
I gave them a nice propina (tip) because this was really the kind of experience I was expecting in yesterday in San Martin after the 3 hour hike. Had I known this was only a boat ride away, would we have taken the hell hike? Not sure.
I looked around at a few of the local crafts, asking questions of the artisans on camera and doing my best to be humorous and entertaining. I’m not sure I succeeded but I did unintentionally break a miniature bow and arrow on camera and the crew loved it. Breaking stuff is good TV evidently.
The lady in charge of this particular batch of crafts just laughed and I truly don’t think she was going to charge me. She kept looking at the broken toy like she was figuring out “how am I going to fix what this clumsy Gringo just busted?” but of course I paid for it. I bought a few other things, some that I didn’t even break first, and some food including a wonderful coconut cookie that helped fill my post lunch craving.
I also got a temporary tattoo of an anaconda on my chest. The tattoo is a religious purifying experience that draws out all the bad stuff within you over an 8 day period. After 8 days the tattoo then begins to fade as you become clean. I’m beginning to notice a trend where the indigenous folks keep wanting to cleanse me? Must be some dirty aura I’m putting off or do they just assume all westernized Gringos need this? We may never know but my spirit should be spic and span clean after this trip.
We jumped back into the boat and headed back to Puerto Nariño after saying hearty and appreciative goodbyes to the townspeople. The folks of Macedonia truly seemed glad to see us come by and even though we did pump a little (very little) money into their local economy, I got the distinct feeling it was more genuine than just our small economic impact.
They never once pushed anything on us and were not aggressive salespeople at all (such a nice beak from the aggressive rudeness in Cartagena), they just seemed like really nice and humble people.
This has always been my experience with the indigenous people I’ve encountered over the years. Even in touristy spots like Machu Pichu, Peru, they exhibit an awareness of themselves that so exceeds day to day things like making money and acquiring things.
Its true, most of them do seem to live hard lives but that just adds to my amazement at their self awareness. They didn’t show any outward emotion or joy at being paid for their artwork or dancing They would only ,matter of fact, discuss the price if you asked them. But if you did not buy they didn’t show the least bit of disappointment or negative emotion. They seemed happy that we had visited them regardless.
On the way back we could tell the sunset was going to be incredible so we rushed back to the cabañas for a sunset shot at dusk. We then had one final shoot with all the animals from the Alto Aguila (High Eagle) Cabañas, the dog, parakeet, duck, the baby owl (Babahboohey), and two monkeys… all on camera for one final closing shot. I felt like Dr. Doolittle.
Having grown up on a farm, I sort of took animals for granted but in the Amazon they are a bit more exotic and really do add to an already amazing experience. Nature of course is outstanding, but it’s the people I’ll remember the most. They are nothing short of incredible. I’m eager to get back to the comforts of civilization but I’m really going to miss this place, the animals and especially the people. It’s a truly magical experience.
Today we woke up early to prepare for a hell hike of 3 hours to the isolated, indigenous pueblo of San Martin. We hoofed it over to Porto Nariño from our Cabañas, about a 15 minute hike compared to a 3 or 4 minute boat ride. All 3 of use were dressed a little ridiculously and stereotypically for safari with cargo pants, long sleeved safari shirts and safari hats. I’m sure we looked like we’re headed to an expedition in the outer, unexplored regions of Africa.
Our guide showed up in tank top, shorts and mud boots and you can feel the locals stare as we passed by…Turistas!!
We were toting camera gear so I’d worked up a sweat and was exhausted already by the time we hit town.
At breakfast I saw a man, looks like a local, being toted in a stretcher to the infirmary. He’s not moving and his hand is over his head in what looks like severe pain. “The last person who hiked the trail” I joke. No one laughed.
After breakfast we stocked up on water and to our dismay, no food. There is not a sandwich to be bought anywhere in town to take for the 6 hour round trip journey so we buy raw fruit and bread, hoping that will get us through the brutal hike and back.
Starting off it was cool, lots of foot traffic along the path as it gradually gives way from a concrete sidewalk to dirt path. I noticed everyone on the path, be they young kids or old grandmothers are toting machetes. Luckily our guide, Witman had his own machete in hand.
We were carrying camera gear and though we tried to lighten our loads as much as possible, I realized too late that my trusty laptop was secured in the camera bag, so we’re carrying around needless 3 or 4 additional pounds, and risking a computer in the Amazon. Agghhh!
The hike was pretty uneventful at first; we met a volunteer machete road crew clearing the path around the road. They offered us some kind of alcoholic refreshment from a 2 litter coke bottle and I am the only one who decided to brave a swig. It was tart, not too bad though. They ask for a donation and I threw them one before we all head on again.
We encountered a small, poisonous snake, a couple of frogs, a tarantula, a few lizards and hosts of wild ass sounding birds along the way. About half way to San Martin we encounter a beautiful clearing where a small finca had been built and some people were gathering water and going about their daily lives.
After that, things got much more intense. The trail began to disappear before our very eyes and we are balancing ourselves as we crossed creeks and ditches on top of felled trees. This might work fine if your barefoot but if you are wearing work boots with equipment strapped to your back, the algae acts like a lubricant and we came very, very close to dumping ourselves as well as some valuable equipment (including this computer) into swamps and creeks along the way.
The final hour of the hike was absolute hell. Renzo, still recovering from back to back illnesses was bringing up the rear. We were going through water like crazy (15 bottles among 4 people) and yet no one has to relieve themselves. We were soaking wet top and bottom so we were sweating out fluids as soon as we put them in.
One hassle that could have made life worse that didn’t were hordes of mosquitoes. Thankfully, the combo of our external repellents and the oral repellent seemed to be doing the trick.
FINALLY we come to a large clearing and a steep bank overlooking a creek with kids swimming and homemade wooden canoes docked on the side. It was San Martin! We were so tired we didn’t really feel like celebrating… instead I’m sure we were all thinking “there is no way I’m making that hike back” (I know I was).
It was 12 noon and we would have to start hiking back by 1pm if we were to beat the darkness and no one, especially our guide, wanted to be out on that path in the middle of the Amazon in anything approaching darkness. There was no way that would be an option.
Hiking back in less than an hour seemed like a horrifying idea. We went ahead and shot some video diary footage overlooking the river and then one little girl of 6 or 7 paddled a canoe over for us to use. The kids were all swimming and soaking wet. They were shy but eager to pose for the camera. They were incredibly cute, with one little boy completely naked and his hair bleached blond by the constant exposure to the sun.
As we crossed over I noticed a boat with an outboard motor docked. I ask our guide if there is any chance we could take a boat back instead of hike. He seemed to think that was a realistic idea and said he’d ask the owner.
The owner was a solar panel installer who had made the trip to San Martin to replace the town’s solar panels, which need replacing every 15 years or so!
Turns out San Martin was not exactly what we expected. We expected indigenous people, some in traditional garb and living in huts. Instead everyone was dressed in t-shirts, jeans, shorts or work pants and either barefoot, boots or chancletas. There was a school, electricity, a church and even a store that sold soda (but no water, they use rainwater).
We toured the city, pick up b-roll with our cameras and do a few stand-ups though I can barely think straight and I’m pretty sure I look like hell, but I was so tired, I just didn’t care. We ate our fruit and bread, polished off our last bit of water and to our collective delight were told we could catch a 40 minute ride in the boat for just 40,000 pesos (about $20).
Let’s see a 3 hour hell hike back with no water, no food and darkness approaching or a 40 minute boat ride back for $20?! Yep, I am not ashamed to say we took the boat ride. Luckily for us we hit San Martin on the one day in 15 years that solar panels were being replaced I guess!
We made it back to Puerto Nariño in time to have a very late lunch. Incredible. The cold shower at the cabaña never felt so good and we all drifted off for naps before a big rainstorm hit and we waited it out before heading to Puerto Nariño for dinner. There would be no night out on the town this night. Just the sleep of the dead.