We arrived in Caracas around 9pm after a mostly empty flight from Boston. Made some really great conversation with June, the producer on this project, then nodded off for a bit and woke up blurry eyed to what looked like small lights dotting a mountainside.
Crashed pretty hard but was up early as we had a 7:50am flight to Maraciabo to catch and on the shuttle back to the airport I realized that what I thought was city lights shining up on the steep mountain side was actually homes, just like the ones in the picture above. Beautiful and SO foreign to my eyes as the whole neighborhood looks like a precariously stacked house of cards ready to tumble with the slightest breeze.
Had to snap a picture with my mind though – full bus and no way to grab a camera of any kind no matter how small.
We made our way to the airport and – although none of us speak spanish (our local contacts are in Maracaibo) – managed to press through enormous crowds of people to the ticketing booth to get our bags checked. Honestly, I think every family in Caracas was waiting to get on a plane this morning…it was insane. I’ll be honest – I wasn’t placing much stock in my bag actually arriving in Maraciabo or us getting there on time.
I can’t really express what the rest of the day was like in words, but I’ll give it a go. We met up with our contacts here, representatives from the Wayuu Tayaa Tribe foundation. They’re a large minority group of displaced indigenous people that are originally from parts of Columbia and Venezuela. Part of the project is to bring satellite internet to one of the school’s here, in partnership with microsoft and HP. Some time next week, the kids at the school will experience “the internet” for the first time, and I’ll be lucky enough to film that event. Really excited.
We made an initial visit to the school (Saturday, so no kids, but got the lay of the land) and then were invited to go see the river. I had no idea what this meant, but I spent the next 4 hours on a small boat cruising up one of the many inlet rivers in northern Venezuela that lead to the ocean. Incredible. All along the way are these river towns built into the mangrove forrest with homes built right over the water. Children swimming and playing, women working and men drinking and playing dominoes. It really was something else. I shot some wonderful video that I’ll post once I convert and edit it down.
On a “gear” related note, the Zacuto Z-finder saved my bacon today as I wouldn’t have been able to shoot anything at all without it. They very generously loaned me one for the trip.
It’s 8:11pm now, I was invited to dinner, and then, apparently, we’re going dancing, as you do in Latin America on a hot June Saturday night. Should be interesting! A full report to follow!
2 Respected|2 Inspired
I’m in the midst of packing. It’s 2:45am and I leave for a 7 week journey around the world in about 10 hours. Trying to pack enough equipment to be a mobile production company while not having too many bags is tricky. I think I’ve got it down to 2 bags – a back pack with “mission critical” gear like lenses, laptop, hard drives, camera, microphones, batteries, emergency clothing, toiletries, sweatshirt, poncho, cables, and a bunch of plug adapters.
This will be the bag I’m pretty much married to until July 21st, at which point I’ll be very happy to never see it again I’m sure. It’s a pretty sweet ride. I rented it from lensrentals.com and it’s made by f-Stop gear. It holds everything mentioned above, and even has a removeable “gear” insert with a zip-away access panel on the padded side of the pack. Pretty sweet.
I was lucky enough to have this on my trip to India in March with Yogi Cameron. Fell in love with it then, rented it again.
Everything else I’m bringing fits in my big but awesome petrol rolling suitcase, which is normally my camera lights case – but because I wasn’t able to fit everything in one of my other soft bags, and because I’m not bringing any lights, I opted for this. Pretty chuffed with myself actually! I was able to fit my miller tripod, glide track, redrock micro shoulder mount kit, extension cords, all my clothes, and a bunch of tools no problem.
Anyway, with a few hours to go yet and the powerful need for sleep – I’ll post this now but will detail the purpose of this next trip on the next post.
2 Respected|2 Inspired