ADVENTURE TRAVEL SHOW “RAW TRAVEL” UNPACKS 8 NEW EPISODES
–New Episodes Kick Off This Weekend by Going Underground in Mexico City –
NEW YORK, NY: February 5th, 2014 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that their current production Raw Travel® is set to premiere brand new episodes beginning this weekend (Feb. 8-9) with an underground, raw look at fascinating Mexico City.
The adventure travel series delves deep into the culture of Mexico City uncovering the rarely before seen underground “rock-n-roll” flea market, El Chopo Market before heading out to take in a Lucha Libre wrestling match, sampling some chapulines (fried grasshoppers) and pulquerias (throwback fermented juice bars) then of course giving back by volunteering time to a group of special needs students; all while enduring an earthquake and a severe case of food poisoning along the way.
This weekend’s Mexico City episode kicks off a series of eight brand new, original episodes that were filmed over the summer of 2013. The Raw Travel crew began their journey in Mexico City and taped their land, water and air journey through Mexico and most of Central America before finally ending their eight week odyssey in Panama City, taping every step of the way.
“I’m proud of these new episodes. I think they represent an authentic look at how real people are traveling these days. In a sea of inauthentic “reality” content “Raw Travel” stands out as unique and audience reaction from our soft launch so far reflects that,” states Robert Rose, Host & Executive Producer of the series. “Travel expands the mind and the heart and this eight week trip forever changed us. My hope is that viewers will shake off the media stereotypes and be inspired to embark on their own adventure and get out and meet our neighbors, who are unspeakably hospitable & welcoming” Rose continues.
Future episodes will include never before seen looks into the burgeoning budget travel destination of Nicaragua, an alternative take on the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula, the magical, Mayan Guatemala, Tribal Honduras, the eco-adventure paradise of Costa Rica and an adventurous look at Panama.
The new episodes will also debut soundtracks from a variety of independent musical artists from around the world, many of whom were discovered while traveling. The page www.RawTravel.tv/music showcases the artists who contributed their music.
The adventure travel series can be seen in over 73 cities representing over 70% of U.S. Homes including New York (WWOR-My9 Saturday @ 12 Midnight),Los Angeles (KCAL – 9, Saturday @ 6PM),Chicago (WFLD-Fox 32- Saturday @ 11PM & Sun @ 12 Mid), Boston (WCVB-ABC 5, Saturday @ 12 Noon), Atlanta (WUPA-CW 69, Saturday @ 5:30PM), San Francisco (KICU -36 Sat @ 5PM & KTVU-Fox 2, Sunday @ 12 Mid), Dallas (KXAS NBC 5, Sun @ 12 Noon) and many more. Viewers can visit www.RawTravel.tv/wheretowatch for a complete listing of affiliates and time slots.
Raw Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the rapidly growing 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 U.S. television.More information at http://www.RawTravel.tv , Facebook.com/RawTraveltv, twitter @rawtraveltv
ABOUT 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 its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com and www.RawTravel.tv for more information.
Two days without any solid food. Only liquids and even they don’t go down without a fight. Was it the fried grasshoppers? The questionable tacos at the local food market? No, we’ve narrowed it down to some Italian food in a very touristy restaurant in the Zocolo. Figures. It’s not the authentic food that gets you, it’s the very bad idea to have Italian food in Mexico. The culprit was the sauce.
But the cause is irrelevant. The result is a full day in bed. No shooting for me. Except for that one shot of me giving a standup (more like a “laydown”) from my sick bed. My crew is relentless and insistent that we keep things real. I acquiesced, reminded myself that I had long ago given up vanity when it comes to this project and somehow croaked out a few words about feeling bad and I can’t even remember what else honestly.
Yesterday was a blur. I rallied for the evening because we had a big, Lucha Librematch to attend where we were set to see one of the most popular and historic sports in Mexico. The taxi ride there took forever because of traffic (I know, I said traffic was not as bad as I expected but when you are in danger of throwing up every other stoplight, any traffic is bad).
After what seemed like hours to garner permission to shoot, we were finally admitted entrance where the match itself was a spectacle. Lucha Libre has gone international and has a big following in the U.S. (very understandable given the immigration there) and in places like Japan (where there is virtually no immigration to speak of). In fact one of the wrestlers was from Japan and our guide and luchadore himself, El Kiss, told us of an instance of 2 Japanese sisters who actually moved to Mexico City to follow their favorite sport. Now that is dedication.
The acrobatics of the wrestlers were phenomenal. Despite the testosterone atmosphere there are many female fans and there have been female luchadoras for decades, including one legendary luchadora who is still wrestling in her 80s! Now that too is dedication.
I momentarily forgot my extreme discomfort and got into the match. It was so tremendously fun and addictive that I’ll probably go again, sans camera (and hopefully sans food poisoning).
Today, I was allowed to sleep in and I tried a little breakfast, mainly fruit and yogurt. No good. It’s bizarre not being hungry for so long. As diets go, the Moctezuma’s Revenge Diet is painful but damned effective. I’m pretty sure I’m down 5-7 lbs.
Today we hooked up with a local, Sitlali (an Aztec name), who took us to one of the most famous Pulquerias in town. Pulque are like bars but instead of beer, wine or liquor, they serve naturally fermented juices. It’s a tradition that is gaining new popularity with the young, hip crowds of Mexico City.
We walked in at 2PM and it was jam packed like a bar in NYC at midnight. Surreal. After garnering permission to shoot (this time, very easy, big hats off to the waitress with the half shaved head and leopard spot tattoos) we sampled a few of the drinks. In the hot, crowded, noisy bar with sever stomach issues, drinking strange, fermented juices is a no-no, but I did it anyway. At one point I was sure I would pass out, but somehow, I kept it together long enough to put together what we think will be on of the highlights of the show.
Then we took the metro (subway) back to our hotel and as if by fate, it began raining, just as our shooting day had completed.
I took that as a good sign because I will be 100% honest when I say being this sick, while traveling is disheartening and gives me pause. It’s one of those moments when I question myself and say “why am I doing this”… “what is the payoff”? Why oh why didn’t I take an easier, safer route?
While those moments pop in my head from time to time, they usually pop out just as quickly. Once momentum starts to happen, it’s hard to stop something and I feel it with this project. It’s been picking up steam since January. But now all I want to do really, is eat solid food again.
Then I’ll be happy and life will be good again.
DAY FIVE & SIX
I’m happy and life is good again. I honestly forgot what feeling normal felt like. Now I’m ready to work out and rip the world a new one. Right after one more swig of Pepto (OK, I’m not 100% just yet but I’m close).
More importantly, I feel back on track creatively. Thank goodness for my dedicated and TALENTED crew Renzo & Moses. They know just exactly what to do when I’m unable to contribute 100%. The show is a true collaborative effort and I think we balance each others strengths and weaknesses out naturally.
Today, it was off to the pyramids and ancient pre-columbian city of Teothuacan. This amazing human accomplishment has been around since BC times and at one time housed 150,000+ people. The climb to the top of the tallest pyramid, The Sun Pyramid, is a workout and you need to rely on ropes along the way it’s so steep. At the top, the view was incredible (best we could muster it was 21 or so stories high) but we didn’t dilly-dally long at the top because it was cold, rainy and windy. I felt we had just climbed Mt. Everest or something. I don’t typically do museums that often but the one at Teothuacan is a must see full of ancient artifacts and preserved skeletons from the burial grounds.
The next day the crew and I took some time to work with some special needs teens and adults in Southern Mexico City at The Integrated Center of Special Education school. It was raining and that cut attendance to 10 or so students but that was the perfect size for us. We were to teach them some recycling tips and how to reduce, reuse and recycle (they already knew quiet a bit so we were pleasantly surprised).
I’ve never worked closely with special needs people before and I was a tad nervous about doing it on camera. The last thing we wanted to do was come across as exploitative or glib. But literally after 5 minutes the personalities of the students began to assert themselves. There are no hidden agendas or politics with these guys, what you see is what you get. Omar was the class clown and he was hilarious, boasting 70 girlfriends and dancing a jig when some Mariachi music was played. It was Maria Jose’s birthday party and the staff and students invited us to cake and flan and we stuck around to help them celebrate. They even gave us each a parting gift of beautiful lamps made of recycled glass. I just hope I can get it home after 8 weeks on the road. You could tell there was no shortage of love in the school.
In many ways these are the lucky ones. The Center is in a nice neighborhood and is a private school where parents of these kids can afford to pay the tuition. I thought of the many special needs kids with parents more like the majority of the Mexico City citizenry who have precious extra $s to spend on their care and attention. Who is helping them? How are they making it in the world?
Next we headed by metro (Subway) all the way to the opposite end of the city (about 40 minutes by train I’d say), to the famous Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most visited religious sites in all of the Americas, and for good reason. Here is where the apron of Juan Diego that shows the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe is displayed. The Basilica is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Catholicism and is visited by several million people every year. The gardens and smaller basilicas were some of the highlights for me, so tranquil and beautiful, a true oasis from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City.
We had to cancel a shoot later in the evening by a Mexican-American journalist who jerked us around all week and finally, eventually just cancelled (ironic that everyone came through but that the person with the “professional” resume acted the most unprofessionally). No worries. We’ve got a great episode for Mexico City in the can. But like clay from the artifacts from Teothuacan it will need to be formed and shaped, pulled and formed.
But next, we switch gears completely and head to the the jungles of the Yucatan. Stay tuned for what are bound to be some tremendous adventures!
Mexico City began with a rumble, or more specifically, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake late Saturday night, early Sunday morning. I felt our hotel room dip and sway before the crew had ample time to say “what the????”. Things in the room clanged and clattered as the entire building moved back and forth for what seemed like forever, but was probably 15-20 seconds.
Sheer fear (we were on the top floor) and awesome power is the only way I can describe it. No injuries, no damage, just a serious blast of adrenaline making it hard to sleep. Despite having spent so much time in California, this was my first earthquake.
Had it not been for the earthquake, I would have definitely slept the sleep of the dead. Sleep has been a stranger to me this past week as I was super busy coordinating the shoot and preparing an 8 week journey through Mexico and Central America that has been months in the making. It will show on camera with some serious eye baggage and I feel like I’ve been run over by said earthquake. But keeping it raw and real.
Our hotel is conveniently located in Zocalo, smack in the very center of Mexico City where the epicenter of the Aztec Empire once stood. In fact, just a couple of blocks from our hotel in the middle of Mexico City sits the remains of the Aztec Templo Mayor (Major Temple).
The center is crowded but a great place to make home base as we were able to walk around the 1st couple of days to get to the major sites. I took part in an ancient Aztec cleansing ritual to start the trip off right. The Shaman was super cool and blessed the remainder of our trip. He must have done something wrong because 3 days in and I already have a case of Moctezuma’s Revenge. May as well get it over with I suppose, but if this keeps up we’ll be targeting some toilet paper sponsors.
OK on to more pleasant matters. On the weekends, the Zocalo reverberates with the sound of drums as Aztec dancers show off moves that have been passed down over the centuries. They dance for hours on end for tips (propinas) from the crowd.
Next we made our way toEl Chopo market which has to be one of the most unusual flea markets I’ve ever seen in all my travels and one you won’t likely find in any standard tourist guide. This market has been going on for 30+ years but instead of fruits, vegetables, etc. this one is full of all kind of underground music and paraphernalia like band T-shirts, Doc Martin shoes, anything and everything having to do with underground culture. Though it’s underground it’s also very official and very huge and crowded. There are probably more tattoos and piercings per square foot in El Chopo on any given Saturday than at a Metallica concert.
You really can’t visit Mexico City and not notice the influence of underground culture. It’s in your face. It seems every third or fourth young person is sporting some kind of tattoo, piercing or expression of a rock & roll lifestyle. I’m left wondering if they are somehow paying homage to their Aztec roots or is the California Chicano culture influencing Mexicans or visa versa.
To my knowledge, El Chopo has rarely if ever been covered by U.S. television (it has on BBC). Luckily we had trusted local pals to guide us there and tell us when it was safe to pull out our cameras. At first I was on edge and tense but the feeling quickly wore off as we got to know many of the vendors and attendees. Mexico City is a city of contrast and perhaps nothing illustrates this contrast more than El Chopo.
That night we headed over to Garibaldi, which is basically an area where scores of Mariachi bands and musicians gather to be hired out by locals. Mariachi music is everywhere but if you tire of the audio sensation, you can hop over to the food section and grab some tacos or other authentic Mexican food. We did, and I’ll just say LA is good but Mexico City is the real deal.
And yes, I did resist the temptation to purchase an over sized mariachi hat. For now.
We began the day at Torre de Latin America(Tower of Latin America) one of the tallest landmarks in Mexico City and the first “successful” towers to be built in this seismic region to withstand the numerous earthquakes.
Renzo made his way to the top to grab some aerial shots of the sprawling city while Moses and I strolled around to gather some b-roll at the Palacio De Bellas Artes (Palace of Beautiful Arts) and adjoining Paseo por el Centro Historico (Passage of the Historic Center) and park. The park is incredible and full of beautiful, classically designed water fountains that soon filled up with young, screaming kids cooling off on a hot summer day, (until a police officer firmly but kindly shooed them to another fountain made just for kids to cool off on a hot summer day).
We then made our way over the Lagunillamarket which is also off the beaten path and was just as big or bigger than El Chopo but was a bit more of a traditional flea market. Lagunilla offers up things to eat, drink and wear and appeals to a more mainstream clientele but that doesn’t mean the items on offer are boring. Not in the least. Among the items I spotted were antique stuffed Jaguar tigers, rare mineral rocks, one of a kind design T-shirts, ancient artifacts and more… much more like Chapulines.
Though I normally shy away from fried food, and specifically eating insects in any form, my crew and some convincing locals were enough for me to try some Chapulines, which is basically fried grasshopper. It’s marinated with lime and hot sauce but… add all the condiments you like, I’m still not digging it.
To rid ourselves of the aftertaste of fried grasshopper we headed to a local food market to partake of a massive but cheap and more traditional meal at one of the other local fruit and meat markets (always a good spot to grab an inexpensive authentic meal in Latin America).
Then it was off to one of the highlights of our trip so far, as we headed to the southern part of the city to XoChimilco (pronounced Chochimilco). XoChimilco was once where the Ancient Aztecs navigated and lived on the canals. Today the canals are where travelers, families and friends gather on colorful, rented boats to eat, drink and be merry and listen to live Mariachi or traditional Norteno music.
While being rowed down the canals, smaller canoes and boats pull up beside to sell food, drinks, souvenirs and… you name it. Our boat was named Violeta and we were fortunate to be on the river just as the sun was setting which made for some pretty outstanding footage.
On the way back to the hotel we headed over to Frida Kahlo’s old neighborhood of Coyoacon, an absolute treasure of a neighborhood where you can stroll among upscale Mexican families enjoying the park and unique Mexican sweets like churros.
SO FAR SO GOOD
I was surprised at how calm, safe and serene this large and supposedly chaotic capital city actually seems. Police (unarmed by the way) and security are highly visible in all areas and after 3 days of roaming all over town we’ve not had one instance of even a hint of danger.
Anytime you are rolling around a strange place with video equipment it is easy to be paranoid, but I have to say, (I don’t think these words will come back to haunt me either) Mexico City feels as safe or safer than Buenos Aires, Rio, Bogota or Lima.. and given my last few days there with the mass shootings and gun play, safer than Santa Monica, California.
Traffic in Mexico City is no paradise but it’s not that horrible either. In my opinion, Los Angeles and other North American cities are much worse. They have a rent-a-bike program called “Ecobici”which seems very popular with the locals. The Metro (Train) system is easy, safe, cheap (around 30 cents U.S. per ride) and convenient. We’ll be weaning ourselves completely off of taxis very soon to both save money and to travel in a more eco-friendly manner.
Tomorrow, it’s up early for another day of shooting. We have a lot ahead of us including shooting the famous “Lucha Libre” wrestling where rumor is my producer is trying to arrange a match with lucha officianado, “El Kiss”. Today I bought my mask and have been practicing some moves.
We’re also arranging some Aztec language lessons and hopefully, if things come together, we’ll be teaching some recycling tips at a local school and a visit to the iconic religious site of the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Mexico City.. I wasn’t counting on the earthquakes or the fired grasshoppers, but I’m still very glad we’re here. Stay tuned!
RAW TRAVEL IS BACK IN PRODUCTION AND GEARING UP FOR OUR OCTOBER 2013 DEBUT IN THE U.S. AND INTERNATIONALLY.
THE CREW CONSIST OF YOURS TRULY, ROBERT ROSE – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, CAMERA & HOST, RENZO DEVIA – SR. PRODUCER, CAMERA & EDITOR, MOSES NARANJO – PRODUCER, CAMERA & EDITOR AND A HOSTS OF LOCALS WHO ARE HELPING US OUT ALONG THE WAY.
WE ARE TRAVELING TO 7 COUNTRIES INCLUDING MEXICO, GUATEMALA, BELIZE, HONDURAS, NICARAGUA, COSTA RICA AND PANAMA CITY. THIS IS THE FIRST ENTRY FOR MEXICO CITY WHERE WE’LL BE STAYING ALL WEEK. MORE INFORMATION AT WWW.RAWTRAVEL.TVAND WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/RAWTRAVELTV