Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shooting A Gun - Day Twenty Nine

when i was in MEXICO working for a resort, just out of high school, i had my first experience standing beside a "real life gun." this wasn't just any gun but a fully loaded semi-automatic military rifle that was probably half the size of my body. i was sitting in the immigration office on the island of COZUMEL waiting to get my working papers. as i sat in the only sit left in the crowded waiting room i found myself inches away from this piece of steel and wood. it was all i could look at. i remember feeling some nerves knowing that, if the officer wanted, could just cock it and point towards my temple and blow my brains off. looking back on it i can still feel the chill of knowing this action could have happened in any second. i know that because i'm from canada and you see that many guns held or used in public to that capacity that i was reacting to my experience as a canadian and the relationship i have with death... which it can happen in moment, at any second. i was raised with that caution and my father would preach it often.

the other day my father, DANIELLA and myself went to country and did some SKEET shooting. at this point in my life it was the first time that i had shot a gun. i had been hunting before and shot many rifles here in CHILE. i'm a pretty good shoot too. so here we are, in the middle of no where and shooting off disc with my DAD's insane cushy long black hunting rifle and his buddies from the farm's 1940s rifle. now the kick-back on the older rifle is like those asshole bullies in school giving you those PUNCH-BUGGY-NO-PUNCH-BACK kind of shot to the arm. the kind that if youre not ready for it leave a huge bruise. i didn't know this. so i pick up the 1940 riffle, picked it up, loaded, snapped the arm back and aimed. holding it tight on my shoulder, that fucker shot back so hard i was trembling with pain. the HUASOS were laughing as i picked it up the second time. after six shots of it, my shoulder started to hurt hard. the owner of the gun told me that if i kept going that i would get use to it and the pain would go away. as my sister was using my father's CADILLAC riffle i kept to the old riffle and kept shooting. after twelve rounds my should was on fire.
i couldn't continue.
finally i switched to my father's firearm and it was like going from a broken down pick up truck to smoothest VOLVO on earth. that gun purrred. once i shot my father's i was hitting 3 out of 5 disc easy. at the end of the day, just as the sun started to set, we had shot all the shells we brought. when we approached the car and found three smaller shells for experts shooters in my dad's trunk, we loaded the gun. one for DANIELLA, one for my dad and one for me.
first went my dad.
then my sister.

then, i took my stance.
leaned back, yelled "PULL!."
got it!
on my way home, i felt like a man.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Family Runion - Day Twenty Eight

yesterday was the reunion of 1/3 of my entire family... on my mother's side. some of my favourite people were there and from the minute i walked into the door it was filled with exchanges of information of what was happening in the other persons life. it was great to see a lot of those people in such a positive light. there were some members absent from my a long time fight of about four years but i got to see those cousins the following day.
its really great when you have a younger cousin that you always knew had the potential to grow up and be someone you could have an engaging conversation with. the other option at these these gatherings is to try avoid topics like "how fat everyone has gotten." can you imagine a society where THE FIRST THING out of people's mouths, 8 times out of 10, is "wow you've gotten big" OR "you look so great that you've lost that weight" OR "you look so wonderful and skinny." the worst is when they don't say anything at all and then 10 minutes later they nudge the person next to them and whisper; "poor woman, she gained all that weight." if you can suck all that back and still have your sanity, you're in a good position. daniella has even felt how different everyone has treated her since she lost 20 pounds. i think six or seven people, at random, have mention to me in a conversation how great they think daniella looks since she lost the weight.


during all of this, as i was telling one of my aunts (she was behind the camera) and a bunch of cousins in this picture

about my trip to BOLIVIA, the woman just blurts out at random "BOLIVIANS are so ugly." that one was toughest ones to swallow and continue because of my film in BOLIVIA's objective... i stopped for a bit in shock and moved on. luckily her daughter was there to catch my hiccup with "oh great! here comes the colour commentary." at the end of the day one of my brilliant uncles decided to sit on a the glass table with his son and within seconds went right through it. broke the whole fucking table. i couldn't believe. luckily nobody was hurt but !BOY! did he feel stupid. no one really likes him anyways.

BEN and PABLO stayed in our room the entire time and rested. i decided that it just wasn't worth the hassle of explaining to forty people why the cameras were there.

in the end i had a fantastic time and i ducked out before sunset to go finish the day with my crew to shoot some exteriors of wonderful place LA QUINTA REGION.

(DANIEL, CATARINA, my mom, dad and the crew are in the other room filming - the kids are at the table eating breakfast and singing this super cute song about a snake being the grass - im here in the other room hiding.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

ASADO - Day Twenty Seven

i haven't been writing much because i've been sick these past few days and have been saving my energy for when we're shooting.
when i'm sick, i'm slow. i slow down and most things, emotionally, don't affect with the extreme reaction. my body is talking to me and asking me to slow down.

with being sick, spending time with the whole family/being all together a lot, filming with ben and pablo and keeping this documentary wrapped around my head; its been draining.

today we have this big BBQ, UN ASADO, where all the family is coming over. my parents got up at the wee hours of the morning, prepping in the kitchen, for the 1pm get together. yesterday we went to the beach with the kids and go some footage. not sure if we're going to use it or not. the main jewels have been my dad talking with TIO VINCHO's father, THE HUNTING SCENE and two conversations i had with my father.
things have been going well and my stories aren't as mind shifting as BOLIVIA but things are moving along. the balance is there and we have lots more to shoot, not without a few fights within the family of course.

it might be of interest to mention that my sister PAULINA got into a car accident just the other day. everyone is okay. she got hit as she was turning left on a stop sign and got hit hard from the front. it was pretty serious because the car got hit so hard that it spun twice and was not drivable after the accident. CATARINA and DANIEL got a few scratches and bruises but are okay. i didn't see this but DANIELLA told me that when PAULINA saw my mom, she just burst into tears. since we're trying to keep the TELE-NOVELA DRAMA out of the film and focus our energy on moments, we decided to take a step back and just let it unfold inside the family without the cameras. we of course weighed it out and decided that it wasn't worth the stress to have a camera in there or to even try capture the narrative, especially considering we weren't there when it unfolded. it happened on my father's birthday and we were in the car with my dad going around with him as he did his errands. when we got the call, my father got frustrated and i'm sure he thought "SEE! how we can all go at any minute." which has been his repeating point when he talks about EUTHANASIA "only GOD decides when we go."
or maybe he was frustrated at PAULINA for the possibility of taking his grandchildren. i dont know, but his reaction was not empathy but frustration and i wonder why he go frustrated. i will probably eventually ask him.

we have been watching the footage on an evening basis and it has been really helping to improve on things. just going through it and writing down what we could improve and film again; what works and doesn't work. for example some of the exteriors. BEN shot some really amazing still shoots but we all agree that panning in the car slowly, instead of the still shots, work best for the language of the film, as far as exteriors are concerned.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day - Twenty Six

Definitely makes me want to box something.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas - Day Twenty Five

im sick and slightly stuffed.
today is our day off and we're going to the beach.
things have been hectic but full of good footage... i've been here less then a week and it already feels like a month.

more to come...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tio Vincho's Father - Day Twenty Two

today we went to see my mother's sister's father in law, whose my TIO VINCHO's father.
this was that came up a bit last minute for myself because i hadnt heard about TIO's father who recently had been diagnosed with ALZHEIMER's. it was a really potent scene where, for the most part, it was a two shot between my father and this elderly man. it's potency was it's context if my father was to choose to go on and living out what he believe he already has; ALZHEIMER's. there was a level of discomfort and nerves on my behalf because i didn't really know what was going to happen. i had never met these people before and here we were going in their home and filming them in their environment.
over all, it was a strong scene and will definitely be a contender in making it to the final cut. i am hoping that we will go and visit the elderly man again. i think this time, my father might take him out on an outing.

arriving here in CHILE has had my nerves a bit up in the air. if there's jet-lagged for flying between different time zones, what's the term for going from immediate film project to the next, in just a matter of hours? whatever that is, i experienced it and the effects have been very emotional and winding. i'm looking forward to a moment where things settle and i feel a bit more grounded.

i wonder if that will happen.

Monday, December 21, 2009

La Paz Airport - Day Twenty One

i don't know what has come over me.
arriving almost four hours early (misread my departure time) i still felt a rush of nerves while i was trying to get my shit together for my departure to santiago.
But it wasn't just anxiety.
as i was in line to drop off my luggage and receive my boarding pass, i had to bit my lip so hard to stop from crying. having said that, i was listening to NEW SLANG and LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME !and! DONT LET IT BRING YOU DOWN.
i know now for sure that i am leaving a part of me in this country and for the life of me i cant figure out what. even this morning while we were pulling away from CESAR's building, in the taxi alone with driver, i started to tear up. could it be that i am on my way to CHILE to complete a film that i have been working hard on for well over two years now? could it be that i am starting a new life here in BOLIVIA with PACHA MAMA? i can't really put my finger on it. what i do know is that these projects right now are my home and my school. theyre what has taught me everything i know about film to this dates, to become a better person. to try and evolve into something my kids can be proud of. to shift into the stratosphere of film making.

my father sent me an email last night tell me that he called the airport and talked with HEAD OF SECURITY to make sure that we can film in the airport tomorrow when i arrive. my father has become our new PRODUCTION COORDINATOR and nobody asked him. these are the kind of things that my father really flourishes in, being in control and organizing what needs to get done. in the past we have filmed in the airport about four different times in two countries and have never done anything like that. the first time we tried it was at PEARSON AIRPORT in TORONTO and there were all these fees and paper work that needed to filled out, so we said FUCK IT, lets just film. we thought the same would happen with the CHILEAN airport, but no. my dad just called security and confirmed that we them that we were coming and they said we could film. the guy knows how to work that country. i might have to hire him as PRODUCER the next time i make a film in CHILE.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Last Day In Bolivia - Day Twenty

today is my last day in BOLIVIA and I'm looking forward to reconnecting with my crew to work on EL HUASO.
the other night while ben and PABLO were filming my father and some of the huasos hunting rabbit at night, there was a bit of an accident. PABLO got jerked by the truck while it was moving slowly and fell off the truck and onto his back. BEN hung on while PABLO, i believe, was dragged a bit and finally let go of his gear. he nor any of the equipment got injured, except for the connector cable that goes from the mixer to the camera.
i spoke with PABLO the next day and he was doing well and wasn't feeling much pain. i felt bad for him. they're working really hard and getting some great footage. even though its hard for them and my father myself not being there, i feel really grateful to have two people like PABLO and BEN by my side as we delve into this very difficult topic.
CESAR and i are going out to dinner soon and although i know i should take some pictures of LA PAZ before i go, i'm just going to take it ease and be well rested for when i arrive tomorrow in CHILE.

onto the next...


i lied, i just took my camera out for the day with CESAR.
will be putting up some pictures soon.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Priest - Day Eighteen

yesterday i kept thinking about the priest i met on ISLA DEL SOL. when i got to the northern part of the island and one kid threw a rock at me for not giving him any money, i met a young boy that was very reserved and told me about a very modest church that was being restored down the block from where we were. i decided to see who these people were. to repair or build anything on the island, with contemporary materials and tools, takes a lot of effort and dedication. you have to first get the materials from LA PAZ, drive three to four hours to COPACABANA. once you get there you have wait and see when the next boat to ISLA DEL SOL is leaving. that usually takes another couple of hours. once a boat is ready to leave you have a four to five hour boat trip to the northern part of the island. in total, that's about eleven hours of traveling for some tiles or roof shingles.

as i cornered the street to get to the church, i realized how modest it really was. the inside was probably the size of a large master bedroom but with very high ceilings. you could tell that they were hard at work. i asked one of the CHOLAS waiting outside to feed the workers if the priest was around and if i could interview him for an investigation i was doing on the area. she called out the father's name a few times but they were busy at work. finally after about the fourth call, he came out and greeted me. a young indigenous-clark-kent shock my hand and i asked him if we could talk. under some shade, close by, we proceeded. only after a couple of questions, i went right in for it and asked how he felt about BOLIVIAN CATHOLICS mixing the faith of the VATICAN with that of the INCA's PACHAMAMA. he was polite and said that his mother subscribes to that brand of religion and he understands that people will pull from their own history in order to make sense of the situation that they are in. after that, i asked if there were people, where he was from, that only believed in the PACHAMAMA. without hesitation he replied "NO! you wont find people like that anywhere." although not surprised, i was taken back by how defensive his response was. i chimed in by telling him about how i just recently met, on the central part of the island, the mother of a man that just believed in PACHAMAMA. he was a bit shocked but immediately responded by telling me, with a nervous laugh, that "he may live and believe only in the PACHAMAMA but when he will die a christian." confused, i let him continue "his family will give him having a proper CATHOLIC burial with the cross of christ on his coffin." i was again stunned, but really in the end really not surprised, at how hard-shell this priest was. even though i was a bit disgusted by his response, it was at that point that my curiosity about this man began. after our short interview he excused himself as they had lunch ready for everyone. across from their lunch spot, in the shade, i began to put my equipment away. as they unveiled the smoked trout, sundried potatoes and beans from inside the muti-coloured blankets of the CHOLAS, the priest called out to me and invited me to eat with them. i replied "it's okay, i just ate," which i had. before meeting him i scarfed down two fried egg sandwiches. right after my response, they laughed hard, thinking sarcastically "i'm sure you did!" it was obivious that they believed i was scared of their food. what they didn't know is that on i'm my many trips around the country, i've sat with many people and had food prepared and presented in the same fashion. i decided to create another spot in my stomach and walked up to them and jokingly said "you guys think i haven't feasted like this before... thank you, i will sit and eat with you." as soon as i sat down and started to eat and the younf priest started to ask me about north america. i told them about the health care system, the racism in canada and specifically in the states towards black, latinos and indigenous people. they were a bit shocked hearing this. i guess they, like many latin americans, subscribe to the AMERICAN DREAM. the younger priest in training was a bit of a piss-ant and teased me in AYMARA to his female friend, maybe trying to impress her. by this time, i had an idea of what they were saying about me and decided to keep quiet. my interests were with this priest. we continued to talk about north america and it was at that time where he invited me to go back with them on their boat. i accepted.
after lunch we left shore. just as we were moving fewer away from the mainland, the motor started to have trouble. it was during these intervals of engine repair by the driver that i got to speak more indepth with the priest, without the recorder. the more we spoke about the island and BOLIVIA's history, the more i realized that this man wasn't you're typical CATHOLIC priest. he went go on and on, while drawing me diagrams, about BOLIVIA rich history. this man had such a wealth of knowledge of this own country that i just sat there like a school boy and listened. after a while, engaged, i asked him what it was like being an indigenous man in such a conservative religion? he paused and first the time, i saw pain fall on his face. he thought about for a long moment, as the boats motor buzzed and softly said "hard." (long pause) "its very hard." i asked him why and he told me about the racism within his sector and how the BAQUEST priest, who is in charge of the biggest and most influential church in BOLIVIA, located in LA PAZ, detest indigenous people and their culture. also saddened and became very sympathetic for this hard working christian. it was at this point that i realized how much of an importance this man was. bridging the between the two classes that are constantly in conflict amongst each other; the white CATHOLICS from SANTA CRUZ and the country's indigenous population. putting himself through humiliation in order to bring two vastly different groups together. for the second time that day, i had to contain myself from tearing up at this man's pain, commitment and humility.
we finally docked in the small town where they had a pick-up truck parked and drove to COPACABANA. i road in the back with one of the church restoration worker.
when we arrived in COPACABANA, i jump out and thank them kindly for the ride(s) and caught the next bus to LA PAZ.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Last Waltz - Day Seventeen

in martin scorsese's THE LAST WALTZ, LEVON HELM talks about his experience with NEW YORK CITY, being a small town boy from ARKANSAS.
"... it´s kind of hard to take the first time. you have to go there about two or three times before you can fall in love with it... you think ´it´s great to be back in NEW YORK.´all these friendly women walking up and down the street. it was... it was great. yeah, NEW YORK, it was an adult portion. it was an adult dose. so it takes a couple of trips to get into it. you just go in the first time and you get your ass kicked and you take off. as soon as it heals up, you come back and you try it again. eventually, you fall right in love with it."

BOLIVIA is a lot like that.

the minute you step off the plane, you can't take your eyes off her gaze. she levels you with a high altitude of rough exterior and a warm heart. you try to adjust to her frequencies, confident that you can handle any condition she lays out. it never really matters, because deep inside, you knew that in her condition, she will end up striking and bruising you no matter how much you give.

a few years later, you've recovered and you're ready for more.

when you come back, its love at first sight. immediately you play hard and push yourself to the point of burnt-out-exhaustion because you didn't realize how high you were. the second you realize that a "time out" might be in order, its too late, she has already burned you. and now, you´re blistered from head to toe from a hard days work.
there are times when all you want to do is break up. in her violent fits, she throws rocks at you because you don't want to give her any money. minutes later she tells you a story of when she was freed from slavery, and in tears of sympathy, you're right back in there again.
ready for more.
there are time that you don't understand her and become lonely and confused. on those chilly nights and even colder mornings, you fall off the wagon by reading a book about the holocaust with chocolate wrappers at your bedside. this counterbalances your soft depression and once you're finished this small memoir, you realize that reading all that pain and eating all that garbage was worth it.
finally, you go home and continue with the life you had; making documentaries in first world conditions with reliable resources.

a few years go by.
you look through your pictures and read about her hardships with the international community, and you sigh. in this moment, all you can remember were the good times of that long rocky affair... the 20 cent fresh carrot juice every morning and afternoon, the thousands of sexy brown bowler hats which struted her streets every morning, the kilometers of lush markets that you could never get enough of and her beautifully lush body of water that never laid still.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yesterday - Day Sixteen

yesterday was jarring to say the least.
not because i didn't know which part of the island i was on but but because getting out of bed for the bathroom in the freezing cold had me as frigid as a german tourist. with no hot water in sight, i went right back to bed. finally, after fifteen minutes of me starring at the ceiling and warming up my hands, i still had some courage left for a few more icy steps into this paperless bathroom. while washing my face with soap, ice cold water and my ERIN MILLS BASEBALL t-shirt as a towel, i realized that the town's healer that i was suppose to interview might be leaving soon. so i rushed out of the bathroom, still chattering my teeth, i got dressed and packed up my gear to leave immediately.
when i was at the door, after several attempts of opening it, i realized that you can't actually open it from the inside but only the outside. all dressed, dirty and ready to explore, i crawled out of a very unstable window in order to free myself from this pretty but very modest hostel. finally liberated, i saw the owner's daughter out of the corner of my eye watching me as i closed the door. i gently turned around and asked her name: JOANNE. she asked me if i was going to have breakfast but i declined. i decided to save my ten bolivianos for some food on the more northern part of the island. i felt bad because i think that she already had some hot tea and bread waiting for me. i started to ask her about the healer her mother told me about and if it was possible for her to take me to him.
after going through a few pig filled back yards and a many winding rocky roads, we arrived at the healers house. the little girl quietly called out to see if anyone was home. a little girl emerged from the shadows carrying a container of white sugar refined, her face was covered with white sprinkles. as the crystals reflected stars off her chubby face, my guide ask if her father was home. after about a minute of starring at minute, the toddler informed us that he wasn't. i asked JOANNE to ask our new friend if her mother was home. very few people speak spanish in these small rural towns. only those who have had schooling can speak SPANISH. finally JOANNE calls out for the grandmother of the home, who is apparently always there because of the many chores that need to be done daily. finally the grandmother comes out and i present myself to her. we ask when her son was going to get back and she informed that he wasn't going to be back till tomorrow. instead of leaving empty handed i has the idea of interviewing the grandmother and asked JOANNE to ask the grandmother if she would be so kind. before before we could begin i asked JOANNE if she was comfortable translating in AYMARA for me. she agreed and we sat in the shade and we begin to talk.
one of things that still has me shaken up was when i asked this beautiful woman what her happiest and saddest moments in her life were. without evening hesitated she started to tell me that the saddest moment in her life was when she worked for the "PATRONES". i didn't know who or what a "PATRONE" was, so i kept asked why. it was after at point that she started to tell me, in this matter of fact tone, when she was forced to work 14 hours a day in the fields and beaten by the owners if they didn't keep to the quota they set.
it was at point where i realized that i was speaking to victim of slavery. now, this was the kind of contemporary slavery exists today, like sweatshops, but the kind i've only read in history books. i then asked her how old she was and with a smile she said in spanish "71 years old." i then asked how she was when the "PATRONES" left the island; "when i was 45." at this point i had to contain myself from crying as i did the math. after i took a breath i realized that this was only 26 years ago and then realizing at this time i was four years old living in chile. while i was having a birthday or playing street soccer with my friends, this woman was being beat by her slave owner.

she then began to tell me that the happiest moment in her life was when the "PATRONES" left the island. "since then, everyday has been the happiest day of my life.

Monday, December 14, 2009

COPACABANA - Day Thirteen

this morning i was up early at 5:00am to catch the 8:00am bus to COPACABANA. this small town, now very touristic, is on LAGO TITCACA. it was the place that i experienced which sparked the idea for PACHA MAMA

as CESAR walked with me to the bus station, i realize that the next few days were not going to be as challenging, compared to the small town i visited on elections. this had me relaxed. having known that, i knew that everything i believed in and hated about impoverished countries, i was going to encounter on this trip.

"we hate them as much as we need them."

as i got to the station there was already a small queue of backpackers walking around lost, trying to find a bus company to gamble with, that wouldn´t rip them off. CESAR and i were close to the bus station last night, during an evening walk, so i already had my ticket. close to my booth was a BELGIAN fellow that was saying goodbye to a girl he seemed to be dating. the other was of average height, large nose, dark haired man and with lots of it. he was probably in his early 40s and by the looks of his snarl, in a bad mood. by this time it was about quarter to eight and our bus was leaving soon. CESAR and i said our goodbyes and he wished me luck on my trip.
having not seen the bus in it´s gate, i started to wonder if we were going to leave on time. i could tell that the hairy man was getting impatient. finally 8pm hit and the our snarly friend was at the window demanding, in a middle eastern accent, "vair da bus vas." when he spoke i immediately realised, he was IRANIAN. having spent a fair share of time with the BAHIA community in montreal, i could detect an IRANIAN accent miles away.

(the most incredible military police marching band just passed by the internet place i am working from... so damn tight... i am smiling from cheek to cheek.)

now by the time i realized what our friend´s nationality, which really didn´t matter, he was almost screaming at the woman in the ticket booth "you said eight o´clock! ver is da bus!!!" the poor woman had absolutely no idea what the man was saying because she didn´t speak a lick of english. i stepped in and started translating. in the middle of the translation, i turned to the man and asked
"sir, do you actually know where you are? here in bolivia things don´t really work the like they do in the western world."
"vat does it matter vair i am? dey said to come at 7:30pm and now der is no bus!" i
tried to calm him down and was confused where all this anger was coming from. another thing that kept confusing me was that in just about every country i have been to, excluding the states, canada and western europe; nothing runs on time.
"ver is the bus!?!"
i kept asking him to calm down. "ver are you from?" he asks "i´m canadian sir but my parents are from chile and these kinds of things just happen in latin america." "i dont car vair vee are. the bus vas suppose to caome at 8pm! its naow 8:16pm"

after a few moments of this, i stared to side with him because i too was wondering where the bus was.

"cuando va a venir el bus señora?" i asked.
by this time the guy was just starring at the lady and i, with these huge eyes.
we were coming close to 8:30 and man started pacing.
the company finally informed us that they have only sold three seats, so the bus was now going around to the hostels and hotels to pick up clients so that they can fill the bus up to COPACABANA.
when i found out this piece of information, i was truly afraid for the people behind the ticket booth. i felt like i had the power to ignite a bomb. when i translated this bit of information to our friend... he almost pushed me aside and b-lined right for the window
"NO! NO! NO! VER IS DA BUS!?!?!"

as much as i didn´t want to, i had to interject; "excuse me sir. sir? sir. sir! she can´t understand... sir!!! she doesn´t speak english!"
this was ridiculous.

finally, we get word that our bus had just parked down the street and was ready for us with passengers about to leave. the catch was that we had to walk up this very long inclining street.
now, i started to side with our IRANIAN friend.
i didn´t even bother to translate.
"mame, why do we have to go down the street?
"because that´s where the bus is parked."
"why isn´t it in the bus terminal where it´s suppose to be?"
"because if it comes into the terminal, all the passengers on the bus will have to pay the bus terminal tax"
"why does that matter to us!?!"

at this point we all had paid our two peso tax, which is the equivalent of twenty cents, but it was the principal.
it was at this point that all the three of us were on the same side.

"if that´s the case, then you´re going to have to give us back the bus tax we already paid." now the third guy, the heart broken BELGIUM bloke, knew spanish and was now chiming in.
after a few moments of this, they finally agreed.
when BELGIUM and i explained this to ANGER, i thought he was going to throw his 60 liter backpack through the plate glass window of the booth.
once he got the information he just started protesting;
"i am staying hair! they vant me to valk aftair i vas told to come hair at 7:30am... it´s 8:45am!
ver is da bus?!?

at this point, i was very short with him; "listen man, if you want to stay here and complain all day about their crap service, you can. but you´re going to miss this bus. in the end, nothing will change and you will have to wait till the next one, which is probably at 3pm. i suggest you sucking it up, get your tax money back and walk two blocks up a hill to the bus, because its going to leave with or without you!"
but i am not carrying my bag."
"whatever man, i dont care. do you what you want. i´m going to COPACABANA."
i started walking with BELGIUM and behind us was ANGER with the manager and his lackey carrying our ANGER´S insanely heavy backpack.

now... do you think he stopped bitching as were walked up this huge fucking hill?

"ver are you from?"
"i told you, i´m canadian."
"okay, me too."

i was pissed at this point.

"no you´re not, you have an accent. you´re not just from canada."
"okay okay, you´re right. but you know dat it izzz typical canadian to lay down and have dem treat you liak garbage."
"are you not getting it my friend!? nothing was going to change if you just stood there yelling at them."
"maybe not but if i was der all dey and touk biznezz from dem, it might be beater for de next purson."
"i still don´t think you know where you are."
"canada is just like that. so kind and polite."

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii lost it.


he almost fainted.


i didnt want to get into the BAHIA community of montreal because i thought he might have been one of those assholes that actually believed the IRANIAN BAHIA´s were spys for the JEWS.

at this point i was so fucking tired. huffing and puffing, climbing and climbing.
i just said to him
"i just know people, okay?!"
he shut right the fuck up.

now you would think this whole thing was over...

when we got to the bus i was floored.
it wasn´t our bus it was a smaller piece of shit that wasn´t worth the 25 bolivianos that we all paid for.
right when i saw the bus, i knew exactly what had happened.
it didn´t phase our friend at all... i think maybe because he felt bad because he had some guy carry his shit or he felt that he had his justice.
i myself was a little pissed off because i knew we just been hoodwinked.
after i sat down, i tried to laugh it off and realizing where i was.
our angry friend, who was now calm and in his seat, said top me
"i don´t know bvat i would have done if you didn´t translate for me."
"do you even know what just happened?"

he didn´t have a clue... maybe because of his blind rage.
i turned to him and said "the bolivia private transport system works like this; they don´t leave until their bus is full. that is why everything is never on time and is why our bus didn´t leave on time. they wont make any money if they were to leave on a double-decker-pimped-out bus with only three passengers. so they called this other company and sold our tickets to them. that´s why we are on this bus and not the bus that was promised to us."

"i understand."

we sat at our seats and i realized that the rest of the bus was wondering "what the hell just happened to these guys?" after few short minutes... we were on our way to COPACABANA.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Excerpt - Day Twelve

Still needs some work...

¨...In the midst of chaos and the civil wars occurring over union, energy and water reform, there was only one figure I found kept all the confusion occurring in a rare state of solidity. The indigenous women of this country, the Cholas or Cholitas as they are affectionately called, stand as a symbol of stability. Almost always firmly positioned, they go about their daily activities as if nothing could penetrate their rooted stance. As a visitor, one has a hard time not romanticizing these stoic figures as Mother Nature itself. So it wasn’t coincidental when I found out that the representation of earth and soil for the Aymara people is that of the female form; the Pacha Mama. It is with these two metaphors that I started to explore the Bolivian women as the centerpieces to this universal story.

Before Bolivia had Evo Morales the vast majority of the indigenous people had no direction. It was rare that, in the 400 years of the republic, Bolivia has had a leader that possessed the interest of 80% of the population, the Aymara and Quechua people. When I traveled to Bolivia for the second time in 2005, just as Morales was starting to run for president, you could feel electricity in the air. Just the presence of having this cocoa farmer with no political experience as a candidate serve to bring heated political, with the indigenous people in mind, to the forefront of this country’s debate. Being witness to the empowerment of the Bolivia’s indigenous population, it was clear that this period of time would serve as the appropriate backdrop to the story I needed to tell.

During this time, I also traveled throughout the country and saw much of the virgin landscape that was being scouted by international energy companies. Because of the country’s rich natural gas reserves, it was only a matter of time before Bolivia became one of the world’s leading energy deposits. Hearing stories of community leaders selling their town’s land deep in the rainforest or high up in the Antiplano, made me realize the despondency these people felt for a better life. Another side to Bolivia’s economic desperation, like many other third world countries, was to expand their tourist industry. Much like Machu Picchu in the 1950s, places like The Yungas (coca farming) and Copacabana (Isla Del Sol ) have more then tripled in population because their objectives to expand their tourist industry. This has often resulted in people readjusting or surrendering their traditions by assimilating as patrons to the global economy.¨

Saturday, December 12, 2009

my lip - day eleven

i have never had a sun blisters on my lip like this before. the amount of pain i get from talking and direct sunlight is tremendous.
my face is almost completely peeled and my hands started just this morning.

yesterday i felt so lost in the streets of LA PAZ with this pain on my lower lip. a drowsiness came over me that i hadn´t experienced. i guess because of this, i had a hard time looking for two simple things: a money exchange booth (which are everywhere) and a large bag to bring back all my gifts to chile for christmas.

i´m going to take it easy and probably head out to copacabana on monday.

last night CESAR´s wife collapsed at her home in COCHABAMBA from stress. when i got home from bumbling around the streets, i found him in a silent panic trying to figure out if he should get on a eight hour bus ride to see his wife. he was loosing it a bit, going from talking about the mafia to how he can´t understand why his son just can´t get his mother to the hospital. i tried to make him understand that his son is only 13 years old and at that age rarely would someone know how to react in those conditions. i have some experience in this because my mother is highly allergic to mangos and celery. on one occasion; i was 18 years old my mother had an attack so severe, that the doctors pronounced her dead from the neck down at one point of their rescue. it was my father and i alone who kept her in a conscious state, until the ambulance arrived. even though this has happened on so many occasions with my mother, still to this day, i can´t get use to it. i can´t imagine poor JESUS, CESAR´s son, trying to cope with seeing his mother in such a state. your grandparents, okay i can understand that, you see them in a state of relative weakness from when you were a child. but your mother? the woman that with all her strength, gave you life, on the floor barely breathing? i don´t know any child that wouldn´t panic when seeing their mother like that.
at one point i started to get frustrated with CESAR because of what he was saying, triggered by his own frustration of not being able to be there with his family. instead of vocalizing this frustration, i politely listened to him rant for a few hours as he vented about the situation. even this morning at 7am, as i was reading in bed, CESAR was sitting on a chair beside me, continuing where he left off last night. albeit, he was a lot calmer this morning and more content knowing that his wife was now okay. i continued to listen politely and tried to assure him that everything was going to be okay.

having hardly known this man, i am now wrapped up in all of his personal life affairs. i don´t really mind, because now i consider him a friend... and i guess that´s what friends do.

to a degree.

Friday, December 11, 2009

PACHA MAMA - day ten

this morning i woke up typing, revising and brainstorming hard.
PACHA MAMA is starting to pour through my fingers and its just those moments of trust that the story needs in order for it to come together like it has. last night i had a long conversation with CESAR about me coming back to BOLIVIA so that i can continue to work on my synopsis and start my treatment. he is going to write me a letter of support from the BOLIVIAN TELEFILM (CONACINE) so that i can apply for funding this march. we spoke for a while about the storyline and i asked him some questions. with recent revisions, he thinks i am on the right path and that the characters/storyline seem genuine. "all of themes in your story have either occurred or have the potential of occurring." this really gives me and the story that much needed reassurance and confidence. before coming to BOLIVIA i hit a rather large wall with the characters and storyline. it was all there, but much too thin. i knew coming here would allow the story to breathe in order for me to keeping moving forward with it.
the conversations in general with CESAR are really inspiring. his work and commitment to the indigenous BOLIVIAN community is so impressive. beside teaching them how to make films these past ten years, he has been with them on the battle lines on so many occasion; including the water crisis in COCHABAMBA and the mining strikes of SUCRE. hearing all of these stories make me realize what an incredible resource he has been AND is going to be for this project. besides the fact that he is so very kind to me, he treats more like an equal then a protégé. i have a hard time wondering what my trip would be like if it wasn´t for him and all he has done for me.

my bottom lip last night busted in blisters from the last TITCACA trip.
i feel sooooooooooo damn pretty.
now there´s another reason for locals to continue to stare at me as i try to get a glass of fresh carrot juice on the streets...
oh yeah! the fresh juices on the streets... for 3 bolivianos (40 cents) you can get a very generous glass of fresh anything juice on most street corners. the trick is that you have to find the right vendor and stick with them. when you do that, if you put out your glass after finishing your first, they give you some more. like a milk shake but only better cause it´s 40 cents.
i think my skin loves me a lot when i drink that goodness.
tomorrow i am off to COPACABANA. i was suppose to leave today but it just didn´t feel right. plus the more time i can stay away from LAGO TITICACA so that my skin can heal, the better.
my bones stop hurting and i didn't have to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the washroom because of chronic pains.

a very good sign.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

chopping - day nine

i am in la paz right now.
some points of the day im a little depressed and at some points i feel like ive reinvented the wheel. then sometimes i just feel like puking.

this morning i went !CHOPPING! at 7am... all the people from the exteriors set up shop at 6am to 9am infront of the actual stores... this is where all the deals are made. i got 90 percent of my christmas shopping done. when stores the in front of them open, that´s when all the vendors scatter that... pretty great bargains. not much of ALPACA because like most good things in poor countries, they export them. you can still go to the tourist traps and get some ALPACA gear but theyre wicket expensive and most are made of poor quality. it was interesting because with my gringo ELEPHANT MAN face pealing from being burnt while at the LAGO TITICACA, everyone treated me like i dont know my cotton, wools and synthetics... but in chile, we know our material. since i was a little kid i was taught to feel and guess. by this practice ive walked through the streets of LA PAZ feeling hundreds of sweaters and scarfs. it does help that im wearing a beautiful green sweater my mum nitted for me. the great thing about this area of commerce is that there are very few tourists because its so early. everyone is asleep in their hostels, dead tired from rock climbing or some shit like that. i just stood, observed and listened to the price they give the other CHOLITAS... if they tried to rip me off, which surprisingly enough almost never happened, i would repeat the price they gave the CHOLA and start bargaining from there. all in all, it was a success and i´m glad that i spent the last three hours feeling and asking in the rain.

man! face is so burnt from that titicaca trip... still healin´and peelin´.
before leaving for that trip i was all like


in bolivia im the white guy in so many ways but people in the end are mostly really good to me. what im starting to discover is that bolivians are such nice people but in the most insecure way. its sincere but a little bit fucked.
even more so then canadians.
there are some women, like the CHOLAS, who seem like tall beautiful trees of stoic goodness. they´re so confident, all in their own beautiful way.
one of things that has disturbed me profoundly is the domestic violence in this country. its a pretty big issue hear. i was at an internet spot the other day and this young woman walks in black and blue with a broken nose.
my stomach turned.
i´m guessing that this act follows a similar physiological pattern as african americans, where you were often beaten verbally and sometimes physically by whitie and then you go home to take out your authority the family. not justifiable of course, but there is a reason. it was a big problem in chile while they were going through decades of recession and, at times, depression. it still ocurrs but with some improvement.

the most calming and chaotic place i have ever been.
the city´s choas is almost mediative.

...this country is so confusing.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

interview - day seven

this is the interview that i was asked to do on election day in the small lago titicaca town i visited:

zSHARE - Titicaca Interview w- Carlo.mp3

my voice´s pitch is a bit different because of the way i was speaking spanish that day. my usual spanish is a bit too aggressive for the bolivians.

Monday, December 7, 2009

three hour tour - day six

today was just simply incredible.
besides the fact that i burnt my face and hands harder than ever, b52´s red lobster styles, it was all worth it.

this morning at 5am, i was woken up by IVAN (the great), my camera assistant. he was at my room´s door, lightly tapping for about ten minutes with his eye in the keyhole, refusing to come in. finally after i said for the forth or fifth time "its okay IVAN, come in, please" i bounced out of bed and knew that i had a huge day head of me.

we started the day by walking with RODOLFO (my guide) and IVAN, over a small mountain in order to get to lago titicaca.
it was hard to put into words... all i could do was hold onto myself and sigh. after awhile, i took my camera out and started to document where most probably PACHA MAMA will be filmed. IVAN was so kind, without even asking him, he turned off his radio as i filmed a panoramic view, off the cliff where we were standing.

it was almost time for the ballot box to open, so we made our way back to the town´s abandoned school, where the voting would take place. at 6am the notary, a very spunky cholita, opened the ballot box and people who had been waiting there since 5am began to move closer to the voting booth... a small wooden table outdoors, with two cardboard boxes.

after a day of great food, beautiful people, picture taking, being part of a radio interview and taking part in the electoral process by helping them record the ballots... they gave me a copy of the official results as a "thank you" for helping. i finished my day by sound recording a particular kind of aymara music that i have been searching for about five years.

as the sun set, we piled into the broken down mini bus and attempted to get the final votes to the presidential palace on time so that they could be included in the final results.

the ride back... no joke... was even worse then the ride there. same road but at night, no heat, 2 degrees in the car, five hour drive, two stops of the men pushing us out of a ditch and 14 people in a 10 seater mini bus.

nuff said.

it was at this point that i was calling out hajra´s name for help, mercy and prayer while listening to my ipod as refuge.
possiblyly the only things that kept me from going clinically insane.

but really, looking back on it... who really cares.
i was part of history. today were the presidential elections, where latin america´s first indenginous president was running for re-election... and he fucking won.
73% of the overall vote.


to see the pictures in the proper chronological order... cut and past this link please:

people of titicaca - day five

Four hours in a Mini Bus Collectivo… probably half the size of a greyhound seat. Keep in mind I´m six foot three.

(The internet spot that I usually go to is full of these fucking gamers who yell a lot to the other half of the two computers downstairs. I think they’re playing that WAR OF THE WORLD or whatever that shit is called. I am tempted to bitch about them for this entire entry but it’s just simply not that interesting.)

We travelled on a road that to call it unpaved is an understatement. For the first time in my life I wished that I was driving on a Montreal street. If I hadn’t been sitting in the front seat I would have probably puked or just simply puked. The rocks that paved this road to north TITICACA could some times be called boulders. The roads here in the country are so bad that it’s usually a 50/50 choice to be driving on either side of the road in order too NOT hit a huge ditch, bump or boulder. Then! sometimes you’re in a situation where these small boulders or ditches are on both sides of the road and its the gamble of the driver to choose from ¨a shitty¨ or ¨impossible¨ road to cross. Not even half of a four hour drive, the conductor chose... the wrong side. It was impossible, for that little engine that could, to get over this mud and rocks. Everyone got out and pushed, in about half an hour of struggly and pushing, we were off again.

(Its Alien of Ancienter)

When I finally got to the village, we had to wait two more hours on the side of the road. We could have walked but we had three dozen 2 liters bottles of Soda for the election day celebrations. Surely we could carry them ourselves with Rodolfo´s cousin, so we needed a ride for the 2km hike in order to get them there. Finally, we climbed into a strangers broken down jeep. Now I am not exaggerating when I say that the 2km drive to the town was ten times worse then the four hour drive through the boulders and ditches. I got even closer to puking on myself.
As we approached the town, Rodolfo´s mami had lunch waiting for us. She speaks three words of Spanish, rest in Aymara and she makes a mean chicken mint stew.

We ended the day with six of the towns people on the side of Rodolfo´s house drinking 18 large bottles of beer. I think I politely declined their offer as many liters that they drank. During this time, I was beside myself with boredom because I was cold and sober, while they all planned the town´s carnival. There was a small boy there named Ivan and I taught him how to use my camera. After that moment, till I got the Mini Bus back to Laz Paz the next day, he wouldn't stop asking me to take pictures. It was worth me telling just a second over and over again, cause his beautiful stoic spirit killed that evenings boredom. The reason why I sound so soar is because what I really wanted to do was to hang out with the women inside the house around the kitchen... but I would have surely offended them if I asked to excuse myself from the men.

Looking back on it... it was a beautiful experience.
The presidential elections were the next day.

I hate gamers.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

titicaca - day four

in ten minutes i am about to embarked on a small mini bus voyage with a friend of CESAR who has family on the northern part of lago titicaca. the elections here are tomorrow and no other candidate stands a chance. there is presence and support for evo morales like ive never seen... and it not a dictatorship. brick walls cover in slogans like "evo denuevo.¨ in this place that i will be traveling to, they will have ceremony tomorrow afternoon, asking the PACHAMAMA to election the right canidate.
i dont remember bolivia, especially la paz, moving at this pace. when i was here in 2005 i remember a much slower energy but i guess its because i was in the exterior. the fact that i feel winded every five minutes doesnt help close that gap of contrast between the fast and the flurry.
¨dont trust anyone¨ tells me just about anyone that has been here. although the people are good to each other, i am six foot three, green eyes and slim build. i dont think there would be a different if i was dressed as a gold dollar sign. i guess thats the most frustrating thing when im travelling in latin america. everyone thinks you were born ¨con un rollo de plata en el culo.¨
ANOTHER THING... the next person i hear call indeningous people lazy is going to either get a verbal upper cut or at last a passive contempous canadian look. these people can fucking hussle... like nobody i have every seen. CESAR says that its because there is few financial opportunities and people have to move quickly, onto the next peso.
all i can remember is my closed minded uncles and redneck canadians going on how the indian is lazy and just wants to collect our hard earned money. when its repeated to you enough and you see so many images of that stereotype, one starts to think if its true... far from it. at least here in bolivia. as chaotic as it is, the people are ORGANIZED. like you wouldnt believe.

gringos have feelings too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

la paz - day three

im a bit dizzy right now.
i arrived in LA PAZ this morning. internet is scarce and sometimes erradic here in bolivia, so i have the privilege of being in the offices of CONACINE BOLIVIA with my host CESAR, who is the president. CONACINE BOLIVIA more like the tele-film of is to CANADA. he has been treating me incredibly well and with a lot of patience and kindness.
this country is just simply beautiful.
more so then i remember it. especially when you are ready for the culture shock.
as i type i am chewing a much needed cocoa leaf for medicinal purpose. it also highly recommended to all new cower of the altitude. you cant walk more then two blocks without trying to catch you breath - 4,500 meter above sea level. CESAR tells me that a lot of people visiting for the first time collapse as they enter the country on plane. its the first place ive visited where they have a medical center right next to the customs office.

things have already started to roll with PACHA MAMA, the feature length film that i am research and i ha vent been here more than six hours. right now they are drafting up a permit for me to film in the streets and throughout the city, if i want, so that when a cop come up to me and asks WHAT ARE YOU DOING? i got the papers. theyre really strict here. i am told that even take away the gear of bolivians when they film without permission.
i am at CESAR'S computer... just one moment....
(an hour later)
i was just interrupted by one of the administrators here at CONACINE who is drawing up the permit and holy shit!
i got in one sitting with a woman named beatrice all the information i ever wanted about the CHOLAS. 40 minutes of her just speaking about them from the different classes to their rituals and belief system. what a resource and for them its just common knowledge.
i got a digital recorder and im collecting all these stories for research.
i am beside myself.
this film is coming alive inside me and in this country by the minute.
eyes wide open.


what i wrote above was just the beginning of my day... so much more happened. i need to slow down. i am too tired and winded to even type.
tomorrow im off to copacabana on a three day trek into something i cant even start to explain. a fisherman is taking me to his village for the national elections where they will have a ceremony for the PACHAMAMA.
i am so tired right now i cant even think straight.


god bless bolivia

santiago airport - day three

i'm here in the airport again. this time in SANTIAGO at 5:29am waiting to board onto my plane to LA PAZ.

as i write, in front of me, is a line of people waiting to get onto the plane. i always wait till in the end, cause really, what's the point?

all the seats are assigned.

having been in chile for such a short period of time, it wasn't difficult to notice the attention to branding and appearance that the general public gives to their daily lives. there hasn't been a resurgence of wealth like this in chile since the occupation of the spanish. but it's clear that there has been a huge shift within the psyche of this country post-pinochet. having said that, this classiest approach to life isn't as new as the early seventies but was only magnified after the coupe in 1973.

there has always been a firm snobbish presence within the country's middle to upper class like any other country but it always feels more potent and transparent here. the new money that made its way during the early 90's has penetrated the way people live and treat each other. after the economic boom, i always found very little differences between chile and the united states. that's not excusing canada but there isn't that same level of passivity here in chile as there is in canada. like the states, people in chile tell you what's on their mind. when they spend a dollar some where, they immediately let you know when the service was poor or at the very least not leave a tip. having that combination of new money with the a very classiest approach to life has given chile and it's people a more shallow purpose compared to the sincerity and humbleness that was lost after the militaries occupation in 1973. if you go deep into the country's small towns and villages, that isn't a tourist trap, you'll find that warm and gentle spirit that once occupied the country. there are those who are of an older age, like my grandmother, who still idolize and hold pinochet with the highest respect… and if you spoke against him, she will let you know how wrong you were. last night as we were drinking tea, in loud voices because of a lack of hearing, her voice took an even higher and louder pitch when speaking of this subject; "there is no poverty today in chile today, only lazy people!”

now my grandmother is a very sweet woman, with a loving heart and good intentions. today, the state of things in chile economically ARE a lot better compared to when I lived here in the early 80's but i'm sure you can see my point. there was a lot pain behind her statement and you could tell she worked very hard as a wife and mother during those difficult times. on my way to airport i spoke to my father about this pain and how it manifested. working at a factory during the day and then selling canned food, store to store, in the evening so that she could keep her 10 children in a private school* was a rare and rebellious feat for a woman in those days. after awhile, my grandfather insisted in letters (that's how they communicated about important matters) to take the children out of private and put them into public schools. having seven out of their ten children in private schools was something they simply couldn't afford. but my grandmother never let her guard down. her pain was profound enough that she would work from sun up to sun down and sometimes into the late night for her children's schooling.

(we are traveling north in the air, just above the ANDES)

my grandfather treasured his leisure time and wasn't going to start working 14 hours a day just so that his kids could go to a private school. there was a slight but important difference between how they were raised. my grandfather was poor and didn't go to school but insisted on teaching himself how to read and write because of his love for words while my grandmother went to school but didn't have enough money to buy any books. being confronted with that lack of money, comparing herself to her classmates, i think scarred her. a lot of people would look at what my grandmother did as noble, and I believe it was, but i can't imagine living with all that pain. carrying it around and ignoring till this day.

* The public school system in those days were a mess. Even today, partially because of that trauma, very few people put their kids in public schools.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

the morning of - day two

what a beautiful morning.

i can't believe my parents live here.
while growing up we would pass this piece of land, which was bare and only sand dunes. it was an upper-middle class area. our family were pretty lower class, living in the small town of QUILLOTA that my mother also grew up in.

(my parents just left to visit my grandmother at the very same house my mother lived in as a child - we lived just around the corner on the same street.)

i'm preparing my gear for bolivia. i leave on a 6:00am flight, which means i have to leave the apartment here on the coast in riNaca at 2:00am in order to make the flight on time.
i'm having trouble finding an easier way of transferring my footage from a canon 7D SLR camera to my computer. i forgot to buy a flash card reader while i was still in canada so i have do it the ol' fashion way, camera to computer. its important that i put away the gear properly so that when pablo (sound) and ben (camera) arrive on the 15th they have everything they need to shoot. i will be returning from bolivia on the 21st, giving them some time alone with my father so they can film him calm in his environment without me buzzing around. i try to do this as much as i can, all thanks to allan king.
his approach was that of a producer (like a music producer), not director, in 1950's when he worked for the CBC making documentaries. for me, this was the quintessential "filmmaker." playing the role of producer and director, making sure that all parties involved in the very delicate subject matter were all comfortable and at ease with the intrusion of a camera and sound person.
shortly after a shoot this year i was able to attend allan king's memorial in toronto. people spoke very kindly, with tasteful humor, about his rich history. i was mostly moved by former subjects of his documentary which spoke about him with a lot of love and kindness. you could sense his level of generosity by the way they spoke of him. although i got to meet him for a short time, just before he passed on, i feel profoundly connected to his approach and owe a lot to his legacy and what he left us.

chile en mi corazon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

chile - day one

what a long ass day.

at 6 am while my father slept i was able to get the footage i set out to capture and then some. what a beautiful view the andes mountains are from 40,000 feet.

once we landed the three of us stumbled sleepy into the airport. once inside we got to spend the rest of the morning getting sniffed by drug dogs and got to play latin american's most notorious guessing game:"have they lost my luggage?"
for about two hours.

once cleared by a mobile customes agent, we spent the afternoon in my dad's hometown of viNa del mar getting my mom's new car.
a YARIS? does that mean anything to anyone?
after car shopping and a few car arguments between the loving couple, we went to our favorite seafood dive by their apartment.

being in chile again doesn't feel like when i was here two years ago.
this feeling resembles that certain point in your life where you can measure how much you've changed, possibly progressed, based on certain markers.
my parents have progressed in their own way, as they keep going up up and up, sometimes in the most literally way. not to say they haven't move forward in certain personal areas but these but structural physical markers, for me, leave a much larger imprint.
two years ago, in the same building, they were on the 14th floor with a two bedroom apartment which included a small kitchen and a modest ocean view... now? they sold the other condo and bought a three bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and a much larger baloney which faces the ocean on the corner of the building towards viNa and valparaiso. this pattern reminds me of when we came back to canada from chile when i was five years old. we all lived in a two bedroom apartment with my aunt's family (ten people in total) and my sisters slept in a closet. it was the exact size of a used ikea bunk bed. building it inside the very small walk-in closet with a perfect fit, was a feat of its own. every morning i would jump out of a bed, which i shared with my two other cousins, and would run to their closest door and yell "goodmorning!" i think it was the novelty of them sleeping in this closest that excited me. i probably even a bit jealous. from there we moved to our own one bedroom apartment on the fifth floor and after that a two bedroom. my parents took the smaller room and gave us the master bedroom to share. i have good memories from those days. like playing practical jokes on each other and one-on-one soccer in the hallway with my younger sister daniella. the practical jokes usually consisted of us climbing under the other siblings bed and waiting for the right moment, just before they are about climb into their sheets. we would then grab their foot, sometimes both, and yell "TAAAH!"
instant reaction.
the victim would usually jump about three feet in the air and then proceed to calm themselves down by yelling fierecfully at the colperate(s) till my parents broke up all the screams and laughter. from there we moved to a three bedroom. in this place i had my own bedroom and my sisters shared the larger room. for first couple of months i remember missing our military bunker before falling asleep in my own space. after this we moved into our first house in ERIN MILLS (mississauga) where we all had our own bedrooms, as we once did when we lived in chile. that house was great and i still wished we had stayed there. !pero! mi mama, wanted a bigger kitchen and a bigger back yard and a bigger and a bigger and a bigger. so we moved to a much larger house at about the age of 14 where we stayed till i left home at 18.

finding a home in any home has been a good training ground for easy travel but there is nothing like coming back to your own house after a lengthy trip.

the view here is so beautiful...

the airport(s)

i am at gate 173 in the toronto terminal waiting for my parents to show up. in front of me is AIR ETIHAD airlines boarding for ABU DHABI...
looking at this mountain of people piling onto this tiny aircraft reminded me earlier today when my trip started with a bit of a hitch.

i was officially on time in montreal for my santiago via toronto flight. in line there were... no kidding... four different large families of muslims flying from montreal to some where... each family had 10 to 15 members traveling together. what does that mean? well, when you're "traveling together" you have to check in all at once. it basically jammed a huge enshallah wedge in the entire check-in counter for a good forty five minutes... oh yeah, they also had the maximum capacity of luggage for each of them... you do the math.
the momentarily irritating yet funny part of it was there were these kids - young adults dressed all greasy slickass rich, especially the boys. they were wearing these white leather shiny rhinestone studded belts with pointy leather shoes and reeked of some crazy ass colon that i would never buy. patience, patience... patience !WELL! because of all that muslim family fiasco i was almost late. but that wasn't the end of it. i finally reached the counter and my two pieces of luggage were !TOO! heavy... even too heavy for the extra weight charge. it would have been illegal if they boarded my bags at their original weight. the lady at the counter tells me to run and buy another bag and just pay the extra "HURRY UP YOURE GOING TO MISS YOUR FLIGHT!!!"
i couldn't find the fucking 20 dollar luggage she told me about so i had to rush to a place where they wrap lose luggage with a lot of plastic and charge you unreasonable amounts so that i could make my third bag. the third bag/box was mostly my gear, weighing at a boarder line weight capacity of 32 kilos. rushing through all of this and almost slamming into about dozen people with my 250 pound cart, i got on my knees and scrambled on the floor opening the body of my bags to get everything seperated. as i continued to sweat profusely, taking things out quickly that i couldn't even see if the guys were stealing my shit or wrapping it up.
i finally reached the counter where the lovely counter attendant had my boarding pass ready.
i then ran like a motherfucker to my gate and saw my flight was delayed... fuck me.

(they are now boarding onto the ETIHAD... i daydream about going to the HAJ with my girlfriend one day to experience everything that is MECCA. i would convert just to have the chance to experience the awe striking images and experiences of that prigrimage.)

my parent's should be boarding soon where we will board and i will attempt to shoot my father on the plane so that i can get some transitional footage for my documentary.