19 0f May 2010
So  I’m  back in Maine probably means no more updates  for awhile. I’m putting up some random pictures mostly signs and artwork. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it back to SF soon enough and take more pictures.
Most of the pictures are from the mission. it’s an odd place probably not for everyone, definitely a little bit dirty but I think that’s part of it’s charm. It’s always been kind of hip and is definitely getting more and more fancy stores/restaurants popping up but still has a lot of  random old stores and restaurants. I sure some people don’t really agree with sf’s low income housing plans but I think in an area where a 2 bedroom condo can cost 800,000 it kind of keeps things interesting. We’ll see how long it can last.
A random walk took me by a man peeing in the street, a group of men, over 70, passing around a knife discussing the merits of it’s weights and balances, a taqueria next to a 5 star restaurant, a storefront holding a lively church service, hipsters locking up their bikes, next to the couple getting out of their BMW and that was less than a block.
1 of May 2010
So I live in a film archive. Not a giant subterranean archive but a little company in SF cold Oddball films. It’s an interesting situation. The owner, myself and one other guy live there and during the day people come in and work and sometimes on the weekends it’s movie night.
Kind of cool, kind of weird. Definitely unique. I’ll talk about SF and the mission specifically on another day but i think places like oddball films and the furniture guys below us are a dying breed at least as far as being independent and in the middle of an area where someone would love o through up some really expensive apartments.
Surprisingly, the work that goes on at oddball is pretty non noticeable from my space but the furniture guys downstairs get started pretty early. So sometimes at 630am i hear staple guns or nail guns and loud conversations about whatever happened the night before.
Definitely a unique place take a look at the pics.
22 of April 2010
Wow who knew I was still paying for this. That’s part of my excuse, the other part being laziness  and topped off with the fact that “interesting” and “exciting” have been avoiding my path for awhile. Well, not entirely true but I’ve been working on a couple shows Howe and Howe Tech and Toddlers and Tiaras where I think most of the interest would betray too much of the content/reality of the shows which in turn I think would betray my contract if I were to write about it.
So in brief I was in Maine/Ne Hampshire watching a lot of welding. Not super exciting but got to go to Boston and NYC a couple times.
Then I was running around the less glamorous parts of america filming the most glamorous 3 year olds you’ll ever meet. We’ll just say i’ve been to more walmarts than I care to admit ( I will admit the are open late have good prices and you can buy everything from food, tools, clothes, medicine and beer so they’re kind of handy at midnight when we roll into a town.)
Got some time off so I am heading to SF for a little bit. Rented a room up there in Dec and have spent less than 10 nights so probably not the best idea. But I’ll try to take some pictures and let you know of anything exciting going on there.
1 of August 2009
Most people give me a kind of weird look when I tell them I went to Mexico City for a little vacation. They hold that weird look as they find out that I wasn’t just passing through and I wasn’t visiting anyone.
For awhile I had wanted to check out the city just because it’s so big and populated I figure something had to be going on there and then I decided I wanted to do some sort of spanish emersion class there which didn’t really pan out since I wasn’t there long enough.
Really I ended up there because it’s summer so everywhere else I was thinking about going was high season prices and was going to be full of tourist so Mexico City it was.
The interesting thing about going there was - I by no means speak spanish but probably have more knowledge of it than any language other than english and french. So it’s kind of like a leg up compared to a lot of places I’ve been where I knew nothing. But Mexico City doesn’t get a lot of tourist and I could probably pass as Mexican. Which was good since I could blend in and feel safe but bad when people started talking to me and I had no idea what they said. Even worse was when I could understand and respond to the first sentence and then a whole lot more came at me that I couldn’t understand.
Reasons to go to Mexico City (or at least spend some time if you’re passing through)
- The Subway. Awesome, easy to use, goes all over (even to the airport), and it’s 20 cents of something (flat rate where ever you go).
- Food Delicious. There are little taco stands and fruit stands and corn stands and juice stands everywhere. I’m not sure how the restaurants stay in business. But there are a bunch of them to. I love mexican food so that’s what I stuck with but there does seem to be a variety of restaurants especially and the swankier neigborhoods.
Our Lady of Guadalupe - I think this was more interesting because I’m from LA and see the lady of guadalupe all over and got to see where it started. It’s a pretty big complex with four or so churches/bascilicas that are pretty nice, lots of pilgrims and a painting of our lady of guadalupe with a series of people movers (horizontal escalators) so people couldn’t camp out in front of it.
Teotihuacan - About 40 mins out of the city a pre columbia city that once had more than 100000 people. Now mostly known for it’s two large pyramids. It’s pretty impressive and kind of just fun to hike around and get some exercise.
Centro Historico - So I wondered all over the lace and centro historico was probably my favorite. There was a lot of talk about condessa and roma being these little bohemian artsy spots. and they were kind of cool but seemed a little yuppy. don’t get me wrong cool stores and fancy restaurants but lacking a certain edge.
Not that centro historico had an edge but it had a lot of life and people going about and some cool restaurants and bars (I might be giving this area a little bigger zone that it actually has on a map). It has touristy stuff like the Zocalo the third biggest square in the world, ancient aztec ruins, drink where pancho villa drank or wonder a little off to hole in the walls with live music.
The modern art museum was surprisingly good. I never went to fridas museum and I heard there are some floating gardens that are a fun place to spend the day. All and all it was good and fun. Definitely a value trip cheap hotels ad food and probably airfare if you aren’t buying it the night before you go.
Finally just got a new slr to replace the one i lost so hopefully it will encourage me to take more and better photos.
18 of July 2009
Toddlers and Tiaras is finally done. Not that I’m glad it’s over (well maybe a little bit) but it was kind of a long haul.
With little writing because I still have not bought  a new slr camera so I haven’t been taking many pictures. Plus while the road did have it’s moments they were all so specific to that time and place that even the best stories would be “you had to be there” endings. Plus no one really understands the pageant world and what it’s like unless you’ve been there.
There were a couple of kids that were cute and sweet enough to balance out the not so fun ones. And our last family involved their little 4 year old walking a chocolate chip cookie over to me while we were shooting in a beauty salon and then later they made us fresh cookies at their house.
Was supposed to go to maine but had jury duty scheduled so that got pushed. Jury duty is over and now I have a couple down weeks so I am going to Mexico city. Why you ask. Why not? Swine flu, drug cartels, what more do you need.
18 of June 2009
So I still find myself emersed in a world of glitz and glitter, with fake tans and sparkly dresses. But three more weeks
10 of April 2009
Been on the road for a little bit now working on a show about toddler beauty pageants. Yes, when I first heard about it it did sound kind of like a nightmare but at the same time it sounded like a very intriguing nightmare. I’ve also been told we are in a recession so it seemed kind of silly to be turning down a job.
We’ve been to Utah, Connecticut, Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia.
And while working in some cosmopolitan European city might be a little more entertaining it is kind of cool to see those places and people of America that you really wouldn’t encounter otherwise.
And I might be stretching it here but I think we are also doing somewhat of a service by being representatives of people from Los Angeles who they would probably never have come in contact with. So it’s like a cultural exchange and I try to leave them with a good impression.
So far the families and girls have been relatively sane, especially in their day to day lives. There is somewhat of a crazy transformation on pangeant day once the girls are all dressed and made up. And there was the girl in west virginia that could talk animal. Various forms including parrot, dog, cat, hampster, owl, deer and mainy more. the best was hampster since her hampster was just silence. We would never know if she was just being quiet or speaking hampster.
Not sure how much I can actually talk about the show w/o risking getting in trouble but I’ll try to keep you updated of anything cool that happens and where I am.
We did go to New Orleans on one of our days off which was what you would expect from a crew that’s been stuck in small towns with a day off. It was pretty fun, yet kind of long day. I was kind of upset when the next day I remembered that banksy had been there in August and put up some work. Would have been nice to see it if it was still up. Maybe next time.
Early March?
So this is not really a travel note since i’ve been kind of grounded. A little no work a little work in LA in maybe some work in random US cities. but some of you aren’t from LA and might visit so here’s to you.
The most exciting thing i’ve done in LA recently in Mexican wrestling. This comes in various forms in the LA area but I am talking about the small scale. Much like what I imagine Mickey Rourke to be like in The Wrestler if I had seen it.
One day i was driving around the city of commerce (you know you all do it) and i saw this line outside or next to a church.  when i was driving back it was still there and i saw some hand made posters of wrestler masks and decided I should check it out.
It was indeed being put on it a church rec hall. but had a full size ring, tecate, churros and tortas for sale. It was amazing because it was obviously grasroots and small scale but there were kids there with signs that knew the characters and had their favorites. I am pretty sure that some of the guys just rotated through but in different outfits. It was simple, it was non eventful, but it was unique, i loved it, and i;m no sure where else you could find all of it combined (well actually i know exactly where and it’s every sunday if you’re interested).
I also went to mammoth it was awesome. snow is snow and mnts are mnts and amazing but the snowboard scene is getting a little too much or i am getting a little too old or both. but i do appreciate my pow and it was fun.
i  also went to sf and don’t want to seem like an LA hater but....I loved it.
Mainly went to go to noise pop. I first went to noise pop in 2002 and it kind of made sense since i probably lived in oakland or at furthest sacremento. since then i have tried to make it to noise pop whenever i can for at least one show. this year was interesting on a couple levels. first i went to a show at slims. over the years i’ve been to a lot of show but the one that sticks out is  an eek a mouse show over 10 years ago. i think because it was an eek a mouse show and all the other shows i ever went to there have been punkish or at least rockish.  plus i had a crush on this girl jade and she went.
also the headliner of this show was matt costa. who is kind of odd for noise pop. and i like him but i actually left before he played. and it’s not the first time. maybe the third. the other two times i was working/traveling and just wanted to go to a show and saw his name and figured it would be worthwhile. but it always seems like i get that worthwhile feeling before he actually comes on.
11th of February 2009
Prior to this trip to Chile my only really thought of going down there had revolved around snowboard trips during our summer that never materialized. This trip didn’t really fall into that realm although we did get to see a little bit of snow at some point.
Now that I’m back I definitely think I would like to go back. This feeling is probably a combination of the cool things I saw and the fact that we were so busy and moving around so much I didn’t really get a chance to explore or get a real feel of anywhere. I also left my camera at a restaurant so I don’t even have any pictures.
We flew into santiago which kind of looks like the los angeles of south america. scattered high rises surrounded by brown hills and smogged in (more like smog from LA’s heydey of the 70s). but on closer look there are lots of cute old european buildings and touches to the city from colonial times (preserved better in some areas than others). In addition to the old colonial style churches and buildings I really liked how they embrace of modern architecture throughout the country. I remember I kept reading articles about prefab concept housing coming out of chile and it seemed kind of odd at the time but now it all makes sense.
I think I had a little more time to explore I probably would have spent a little more time in Bella Vista which I was told was an artist district. Not sure if it’s the rich hip artist’s district or where struggling artist live and work or if there is a difference in santiago. But I did get to run through and it seemed pretty cool lots of murals and sidewalk dining.
We shot a little bit in the wine country between santiago and valparaiso. Which was beautiful but I think had we actually been tasting the wine instead of watching people taste the wine been a little more fun.
Valparaiso was probably my favorite stop. I love port cities. they have the beauty of being on the water but usually slightly more going on and industrialized than a lazy beach city. Chileans seem to have fully embraced murals and beautiful art can be found up and down the streets in most cities but here especially. Most of the streets are going up and down hills so if you go be ready to get some exercise or you can take one of the funiculars. i think there are around 20 mostly built at the turn of the century (the 1900s not the most recent one). I wish I could show you some photos but it was here that I decided to leave my backpack with camera inside at a restaurant. On a positive note we really were busy so i didn’t have time to take many photos.
Also got to pop out to isla negra to see pablo neruda’s house (one of them). I’m not going to lie to you. My knowledge of pablo neruda is probably based mostly on the movie il postino so I wasn’t crazy excited to see his house. But the beach was beautiful and worth the trip.
from there we flew south to punta arenas in the patagonia region. this is where i read the hole in the ozone is. I was pretty excited about this leg because we were going to get to see penguins. we went straight from the airport to the boats which were like supersized zodiacs. they had this makeshift encasing made out of pvc and clear plastic that i thought was for when it rained but turns out it was for when we were jumping and plowing into waves which was fun for about a second.
after a false approach, a trip to the other side of the island to see if docking was better there and then back we finally got off. There were lots of penguins, i think over 100000, but i was a little sick so i don’t think i enjoyed them as much as i should have. plus i kind of wanted to see them sliding around on the snow but they were sliding around on dirt kicking up dust (which i think was mostly dry penguin poo). But they were pretty cute and kind of look up at you and cock there head back and forth inquisitively.
The boat ride back was equally as bad and had a bonus hour since the conditions were too rough to dock at the original point and had to go up the coast a little ways.
Then we went to the torres del paine national park. it’s kind of like yosemite in that it’s beautiful and scenic but with a different look with much more jagged peaks. And not as many tourist. We stayed in these beautiful little yurt/cottages which would have been awesome if the world was mosquito free. And for some reason I totally did not expect to run into my little friends during this trip so I didn’t even have my essentials (repellent, bug suit, bug bite cream).
Later we stayed at hotel remota which again impressed me with it’s architecture and design. headed back to punto arenas for our day off and that was it we all got bumped up to business class on the way back so that was a nice way to end things and now we’re back. i’m still trying to get some photos from the trip. hopefully soon.
i should be in sf for a couple days of noisepop.
going to mammoth soon if anyone wants to split gas and lodging.
and ben lee and many moore at largo feb 17th.
20th of January 2009
Well i guess the “hope”  I felt in bethlehem and  and the west bank was a  little preemptive. But I’ll get back to the other hope in a second.
My month has been relatively uneventful.
Went to Mammoth for some snowboarding. Always fun.
Christmas and new years and general holiday business. Same ole stuff.
Went to SF. Still something special in the air. Still kind of want to live there.
Built lots of things that no one needs.
Moved back downtown. Not sure if it was necessary but I figured worse case scenario I would get a long gig on the road. But if that’s worse case scenario that’s not bad. And I am somewhat antisocial so i don’t need the excuse of being an hour an a half away.
I will say despite some negative thoughts of LA (mainly it’s spread outedness) it is pretty neat to be able to walk from little tokyo, to olivera street, to chinatown in 10 minutes. Okay so they’re all kind of being redone and will probably be starbucks and urban outfitters in 5 years but it’s still cool and speaks to LA diversity and history of diversity.
Well we got a new president. Not just a new president but really a new and almost opposite image/representation of America than our past president. Our first black president (well half black but let’s not get technical. I mean would I be the first filippino american something or other, never mind). It’s exciting regardless and I feel that obama’s mixed race and his ivy league background will be more helpful than the folk hero many have built him out to be.
I am just a little concerned that all this hope is expecting some sort of immediate results and might be let down with this long road we have ahead of us. And that this crush of hope might be worse than never hoping a all. I know it sounds so fatalist and depressing but i’m concerned.
 He is faced with many challenges at levels unseen in my lifespan. And many of these challenges have no quick fix and whatever solution/path he chooses some people are going to be pissed off. So all I hope for is a little patience and a little grassroots community level love and support taking care of each other while the big picture in america and globally is worked out.  
I should be going to Chile soon or so they say. So if you don’t here from me that’s my excuse
15 of December 2008
So i ended up in cairo because i figured i should take advantage of being in those parts before i went home. Some people questioned the thought of a vacation in cairo others sad it was a cool city to experience. The one thing everyone seemed to agree upon was that there is a lot of hustling going on and boy were they right. I kind of shrugged off the warning thinking in my head we go all over the place and there are always people trying to hustle us. But the egyptians in cairo take it to a new level. I would have headphones on, making no eye contact and they would walk next to me for blocks jabbering about some sort of tour or something for sale. At a point it does get to be annoying/jading since everyone seems so nice but you know they are just trying to sell you something. I guess that’s life but they’re just a lot more persistent. You also would have thought someone would have warned me of the difficulty of finding a beer.
My first big outing was to the pyramids. One of the seven wonders of the world so I kind of had to go. It was pretty cool just finding my way to the metro and getting out there seeing the people etc... And they really were all the superlatives that come to mind when you first see them but it was just as shocking how  how smoggy and hazy it was. You could tell there was smog in the city but kind of expected it. But when your looking at the pyramids with the city and buildings behind you it looks like it could be in the middle of the desert with nothing around for miles. And there are lots of tourist and guys trying to get you to go for rides on camels.
Cairo itself seems to need a cleaning. It’s not incredibly dirty trash wise (maybe slightly) but all the buildings are light colored and have been stained with dirt/dust over the years so if there weren’t any cars or people it might seem like the city had been abandoned for years. Also interesting was there were a lot more christmas decorations in Cairo than in Istanbul. But at the same time there were a lot more outwardly muslim people (veils, robes, etc...).
So for about a year now i have been wanting to go to bethlehem to see an art installation on the separation barrier in the west bank. I had forgotten about it while planning the trip but it had come back into my mind unfortunately only after i booked my ticket. Then eylem started talking about how the pyramids and all the other ancient history in cairo has been there for ages and probably isn’t going anywhere. i think she was saying i should stay longer in turkey but it got me thinking about the wall.
a) to be honest i am less appreciative about ancient sites and art than i should be. They’re fascinating and impressive but usually a modern art museum is my favorite museum in any town.
b) So here was current art that i like that might be going away either by being painted over or the wall coming down.
I felt I had to go.
Sometimes I have bad ideas sometimes i have good ideas. You be the judge.
So by the end of day one i was leaning pretty hard towards going. But it was a little easier in concept than reality. I woke up at 500am to go see about a bus. Turns out the bus wasn’t going b/c not enough people but since i was up i took a taxi to the airport. I ended up booking a flight to jordan and a return ticket for the next day. I had looked into the feasibility of getting from amman to behlehem. kind of. At least i knew people do it. So there i was on a plane to jordan with a vague plan. it was kind of fun. i travel a lot but usually for work so there is always a plan and I always have the sense that if something goes wrong there are other people in the same mess with me and people at the office or on the ground that can fix it.
Once I got to jordan it was a 45 minute ride to the border. i for some reason expected a border i could walk through kind of like tj but it was all a little confusing. You have to go through jordan emmigration then get on a bus for 5km and then go to israel’s immigration. the jordan side was very unhelpful and the israeli side was kind of weird because it seems like all the customs officials were young israeli women doing their military service.
From there i took a bus to jerusalem another hour and a half. it was on this bus that my not so good idea got a little worse. turns out because the next day was Haaj (a muslim holiday) the borders would be closed. And if i didn’t get across the border i’de miss my flight back to cairo and then i wouldn’t make my flight back home to the usa (technically i might but i wouldn’t be able to get my bags from the hotel in cairo). There was also some confusion about what time the border closed that night.I was a little worried but couldn’t really turn back at this point.
Once in bethlehem i really had no plan. I thought maybe find the wall and walk along it but i also thought I should see the nativity church it being christmas season and all. Got dropped off there saw it  and couldn’t find the wall. not sure how my taxi got in but we didn’t go through any checkpoints or anything (unless I passed out for a brief period). had we gone through the main one it would have been a little easier. so i pulled out my laptop and showed a picture to a cab driver and he showed it to some people and we were on our way.
It was pretty cool. i like banksy’s art in general and to be in such a unique place. even if the wall wasn’t there it would be random enough just to be in bethlehem or even jrusalem so far from a big urban center.
Banksy is a “street artist” I guess a step above graffiti but still graffiti to some. Last christmas he and some other artist did an art project on the barrier and surrounding area. Part art, part protest, part publicity stunt.
I had read that it was going to be very slummy and sketchy but i guess after having been to parts of kenya and sukule in istanbul it didn’t seem any worse and much of it seemed better. and my cab driver kept warning me about how dangerous it was whenever i got out to take pictures but it seemed fine. the wall does seem like kind of an eyesore but who knows maybe that’s what they used to say about the old roman walls.
I think regardless about how you feel about who is right or wrong over there, in an ideal world everyone would get along and the walls could come down so i hope they do. I was kind of bummed not to have more time, or know where the sun would be and to not have any little kids or couples or elderly people to throw in the foreground but I was still happy to get some photos.
I had originally talked the driver into taking me to a refugee camp but b/c i was worried about getting across the border or maybe having to get a flight out of tel aviv i headed back to jerusalem. i paid 100 dollars to get to the border which was closing by 8pm (the original border i had come through had already closed)  again i didn’t really have a plan on where i was going once i got to jordan or where exactly this border was in relation to the airport. As an added bonus when i went to get money out at the border to pay the border tax my card was rejected. not good. i managed to change some money to pay the tax and the taxi to ammann from there. 2 hours but the cheapest cab of the day. managed to check into a hotel by the airport and get back to cairo the next day.
It was a crazy trip and take away the money aspect of it and it was an amazing trip. and money matters but it’s just money so i’ll say it was awesome. the excecution on my part was very poor but it was excecuted so i can’t complain. I do realize it was a completely self indulgent trip and that that money i spent could have been used for better purposes but on the plus side i was contributing to all kinds of economies along the way.
At times i kind of felt like i was on the amazing race. Every shuttle i got into i wasn’t hundred percent sure it was the right one and every taxi in the back of my mind i thought my be kidnapping me. (especially the one form the border back to ammann since it was night and we seemed be making some weird and random turns i was told to avoid checkpoints.) trying to find the paintings before sundown, get back to the border by 8pm etc...
Probably would go back to jerusalem/bethlehem but try to stay more than a day.
On a side note one of the characters in the movie was into numerology and my hotel room in both cairo and in jordan was 405. hmmm
The other thing that seemed kind of odd going through all these border crossings is that when ever I showed them my passport they asked me where I was from originally and I don’t think they believed me when I said america. I guess it’s a valid question but just weird that never in my travels have I been asked before.
Got back to cairo on haaj. remember how i said in my last post that it’s kind of abnormal for three americans to be killing a turkey in the streets of istanbul? well not sure how it is in istanbul but in cairo there were sheep  being killed all over the place in the streets. it was kind of funny seeing the lead up to it. people walking down the street with sheep sheep, sheep in the backs of cars and these little sheep lots that reminded me of christmas tree lots.
The only other thing I did in cairo of note was going to the city of the dead. It is an old cemetery where the tombs and mausoleums have been turned into housing by the cities poorer residents . i didn’t go through the whole thing since it goes on for miles and again I was kind of just walking  and didn’t really have a map or anything. It was pretty cool. Visually the cemetery is very cool minus the fact that people are living there and while I guess it might be disrespectful to some it is a good alternative use of space. And again it didn’t seem like somewhere I would want to live but also didn’t seem as bad as I had read about.
Probably wish I had a couple more days to make it to some bazaars and museums but was more than happy to be heading home when I boarded the plane.
As usual I was struck with the realization that I am probably a little bit of a jerk since I really like being in foreign countries where I don’t speak the language since I can’t understand conversation that I am overhearing. Gradually as you get to the airport in cairo and then to london and then back to the states there are more and more english conversations going on around me and seem to be more and more pointless (I do realize that I too partake in some of these pointless conversations). Is it wrong that I find most of them kind of annoying.
Well I’m back. I’ll be in Mammoth until the 19th and then around LA with a possible trip to the bay. Hopefully I can see some of you.
Happy Holidays.
5 of December 2008
Well the movie is officially done (well at least the shooting in Turkey part) and I think it’s going to be officially awesome.
The rest of my time in Istanbul was pretty chill. For some reason I went on a little photo break and probably should have taken more and especially of the crew but I guess I was working so that’s a valid excuse.  I’ll see if I can round some up from other people.
We had a party at the downstairs apartment that turned out pretty well. We kind of wanted to plan it a little better but found out there really weren’t any good days to have a party so we ended up only able to give same day notice. I didn’t think that many people would come. It was pretty funny just in general to be having a party in istanbul and also that there were a fair amount of people there that didn’t speak english and that everyone had a great time. not sure if all film crews in turkey are as chill but this group was definitely good people. The cops even came it was like being in college all over again.
Thanksgiving in turkey was not quite the same but I liked it maybe even better since it was like our own personal holiday. We had a great dinner at sarah and emre’s but i think even more memorable was the turkey or as joe named him “tommy”. I guess turkeys are expensive in turkey (maybe they don’t like killing things with the same name as their country) so joe bought a live turkey. Tommy spent a couple nights at the apartment in a box until his fateful day. And regardless of what you can imagine istanbul to be like I can assure you it is not somewhere where it is normal for three americans to slaughter a turkey in the street, well it was more of a vacant lot. It must have seemed pretty sketchy to passers by. Two guys with walkie talkies even stopped and said something about police but lyndsay managed to tell them we were cooking chicken and they went away. It all turned out successful and the turkey was delicious.
All and all it was good times. I was a little tired after kenya and not sure if i was up to it. but it flew by and i attribute that to the people both the american and turkish crew. and it doesn’t hurt that istanbul is a great city. it’s probably the longest consecutive run under one roof for me in awhile so it started to feel like home. going to the same corner store, walking down the same streets, finding little shortcuts it was nice.
So if you haven’t been go and if you have maybe go again.
Just got to cairo. decided to do a little stop over before i head home.
20 of November 2008
Istanbul has been going pretty well. Celebrated my b day one nigh early (at least it technically rolled in to my b day at midnight) by going to see grand master flash. not a fanatic but i do see him as an innovator and was really excited to see him. and it was in istanbul plus it was at a size of club i like kind of like slims or the troubadour. Interesting to see the istanbul hip hop scene which seem to be almost half americans and other tourist and a lot of older people. (i guess i fall into both of those categories). i’m guessing not a lot of people were listening to grand master flash back in the day in istanbul which might have influenced the crowd. but it was a good time with a lot of classics and a good crowd.
A little bit before the show we started experience a lot of dark clouds with silver linings. bad things happening but not as bad as they could have been.
before the concert while shooting the cab we were using got in a fender bender. not major but enough to change the look of the car and end the day.
but no one got hurt so that was a plus.
after the show christian got separated from us and ended up getting jumped. he managed to fight them off and get away.
again a shitty situation but at least he fought them off and no one was hurt.
The next night while they were sleeping someone climbed in through the guys apartment window and stole two computers and a wallet.
but all the camera gear was left untouched. (I swear istanbul really is pretty safe and we live in a relatively nice area).
two nights later seda fell while carrying one of the cameras and broke some fingers.
 but the fingers were broken between the camera and the ground so the camera came out ok.
i think the string of bad luck ended there. not that everything has been 100 percent rosy but i think they are a little more normal now.
on our next day off i finally went in the hagia sofiya. i’ve walked by it a couple times and there is always a long line so i passed but i could imagine myself 20 years from now talking about how i’de been to istanbul a couple times and everyone would ask me about the hagia sofia so i figred i should go in. it was pretty amazing but at the same time kind of what you expected or could imagine having stood outside of it and seen pictures of it. and there were lots of tourist. i still highly recommend for anyone visiting to go to the modern art museum and the galleries at santral istanbul.
the evening after that we had a little soccer match between the turks and the americans. and lets just say the turkish crew members were feeling pretty confident. turkey isn’t exactly like brazil but it’s like europe and really everywhere else and soccer is a big deal so we were a little apprehensive. after showing up at the wrong field we went to where we actually played and came out on top. mostly b/c of christian and emre who played together in college and i think the fact that cigarette smoking is still in full swing here helped slow the turks down a little bit.
The movie involves among others, an immigrant from nigeria, and a down and out low level hustler. so some of the location we shoot at are in the ghetto. The other day after i changed lenses some guy bumped into me and grab the camera. i initially thought it was someone falling and then when i saw the guy thought he might be mentally disabled. turns out he was a glue huffer and pretty huffed (not sure what the term is but he was high). So he grabbed the camera again not sure if he wanted to take it or was just trying to see what it was but i pushed him back and went back to the toolshop where we were shooting in. next thing i know he is in there with a saw. pretty random. he was kind of scary if i was in a dark alley by myself but i was more worried that he would rally the troops and start causing trouble since we were already trying to get out of there before it got too late. (this might fall into the bad luck category).
I guess that areas was mostly kurdish. a couple days later we went to sulukule. a gypsy part of town going back to byzantine times. consisting of a lot dilapidated and semi demolished buildings. We had the mob boss (or the equivalent) of the area watching our back. He had a trench coat and got driven around in a black hyundai with tinted windows. which might not sound like much but compared to the surroundings definitely stood out. It was awesome to get a chance to see the area. with the knocked down buildings, vacant lots, laundry, little kids it was like a whole different world. i guess everyone is being slowly pushed out and the buildings knocked down to make way for new buildings. it all seem kind of amazing visually seeing modern day ruins along side ancient city walls and depressing seeing the people knowing that they know how the other half live and that they will soon have to move.
we shot in this little tea house and as we were wrapping in the evening i heard drum beats coming from it and thought it might be turned into a club at night but when i walked over it was a little music class with elementary school kids banging drums and singing. not only did it sound pretty cool it was amazing that it was coming from where it was and that the kids were so into it and so happy. kind of one of those moments where i love what i do since it brings me to these incredibly random situations.
take care. i know this post might have some things in it that don’t make istanbul sound super awesome but let me just put my backing behind it and say that even after our string of bad luck i still think it’s an amazing city that is worth spending some time in.
3 of November 2008
Almost election time pretty exciting. I am actually kind of happy to not be being bombarded by campaigns but still excited.
Our week on the coast was kind of a nice way to round things up in Kenya. We moved around a lot within Kenya but this was definitely the most dramatic change with a whole different feel. The beach and the weather reminded me of the Philippines a little bit.
I found out why there were so many Italians at the club picking up hookers. Well not exactly why they were picking up hookers but I did learn that most of the tourist in the area were Italian. The little kids even say “ciao” as you walk by instead of hello or jambo (Swahili for hello). I got a few different stories including mafia ties and Italian military from the Mussolini days that laid the roots in the area.
The place we stayed was pretty nice, a big house with a large yard and pool, you can’t really complain. And the episode went well and we even got to go in this cave that they once used to hold slaves in until they shipped them off kind of reminded me of cities of the underworld.
Although beach life was nice it did make it kind of tough to work and I think everyone was kind of ready to get out of Kenya or at least leave for a little break. After one more day/night in Nairobi we were off. Most of the crew went home and John and I headed to istanbul. We had a five hour layover at heathrow but I didn’t really mind since I was able to get some flapjacks and ribena black currant juice (so good).
When we arrived in Istanbul we were met at the airport by a nice looking girl with a sign with my name on it and a guy to help with the luggage/gear. It all seemed to make sense until all our gear and luggage got put in a taxi with the guy and the girl took as to the parking structure where she couldn’t find the car and told us to wait while she looked for it. As she walked away a little bit of panic set in. We joked about how we would have to explain this to everyone but eventually we found the car after she came back and did some yelling on the phone (turns out the guy had parked the car and his direction weren’t too clear).
After that little scare we made it to our apartment in a pretty good area of Istanbul. We had a couple days off before we started work so I walked and walked. It’s a lot like SF with the bosphorous and all the hills. And it is also definitely not on a grid system so making a wrong turn is pretty easy and that can turn into more and more wrong turns. Fortunately I had some landmarks and reference points from the last time I was in Istanbul so I never got too lost.
Going all the way back to California would have been nice but Istanbul provided more than enough to make me happy. Just the little things. Water pressure, hot water that doesn’t smell like the campfire it was heated on, stores in general, being able to kind of blend in on the streets.
The film is going good so far. It’s pretty interesting since most of the people are Turkish and most of them speak minimal English but it’s a cool experience and looks like it will come out good.
So far my favorite thing/experience has revolved around the istanbul port authority. Well that’s just what I’m calling it not sure it’s actual name. I saw this awesome logo painted on some gate and had to take a picture and was going to/still may  make a shirt out of it. Then a couple days later we spent a day shooting at an abandoned building on the water with a crane in front and similar set ups running down the water with it most of them abandoned as well and their was that little symbol all over the place. On their gates and on flags etc.... I thought the buildings were amazing. Not sure why (maybe being born in oakland) but I am very partial to old warehouses and cranes and throw in some beautiful old mosques mixed in with all the other buildings on the hillside on the oppossite side of the water and it’s even better. I hear it is all going to be knocked down for nicer developments like everywhere else. Maybe the economic situation will slow this down. I realize it has to happen I just feel like it should transition a little slower let some squatters, then down and outers then hippies then artist live there for maybe a 10 yr transition.
Anyways the building is pretty much abandoned but hasn’t been gutted for salvagable materials and it seems like a lot of things we’re left behind which I’m sure most of the good things have slowly been looted. I picked up what I think is a pretty awesome blueprint for a shipping vessel which might sound a little odd but seriously was one of my favorite items from my travels so far (and not just because it was free)..
There are also some pretty cool antique stores around the area we are staying but of course most of the really good finds are too big to take back to the US. That’s all for now other than some election related thoughts but I’ll try to take some more pictures and let you know what’s happening.
So if you are still reading i just wanted to talk a little bit about Obama from a couple different viewpoints. I will try to keep this unrelated to democratic/republican/left/right/liberal/conservaive. First as someone being out of the country a lot it is intriguing to see his support in other areas. Some people just don’t like bush and are ready for change but a lot of times it is almost like obama is  a revolutionary like che guevera or someone. When in reality he has a degree from harvard law and seems to be relatively square in the grand scheme of things. Nothing wrong with that but I do find people’s transformation of him a little odd and possibly related to the color of his skin. Also many may consider how far he has made it win or lose ground breaking and a great step forward and i think it is. But I think partially b/c I’m of mix race I think it’s odd that he’s black (don’t quote me on that it sounds kind of odd). He is just as much white as he is black and no one is calling him white. So it’s kind of like the darker shade determines your race and I guess it kind of does since that’s how other people view you and that affects how they treat you. But it really doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know how many people look at me and go hey he’s filipino or hey he’s white just as many probably go for some other ethnicity. Anyways I just think it weird that he is referred to as black by both those for and against him and we have a ways to go.
Obama has had experiences in his youth that many people in the states have not and this may have/should have helped open his mind but I think a lot of people see him as a revolutionary figure at leas
18 of October 2008
No major changes to the website but words here and some more photos.
After a little bit of rest you would think we would all be ready for a round two but I think we were all ready for a little bit more time off. Our first stop did manage to provide us with a nice transition. We stayed at a bed and breakfast type placed with views of Mount Kenya. It was essentially a big house with some additional bungalows in the back with lots of dogs and lots of horses. It was run/owned by a very nice german lady and had numerous german guest come through while we stayed there. It was weird since most of the germans actually lived in other parts of Africa but I guess it is probably a small circle. It was a very peaceful location and the conditions forced by being in the middle of nowhere, the owners environmental awareness with building and the way she runs the place, and the 70s music being pumped through the house and patio made me feel a little more like I was on a little commune than a safari.
We left the nice country house and headed to Ol Pejeta not too far away and went back to tent living. Again the tents were pretty nice and the food was delicious.
At the risk of sounding unappreciative in the mist of this amazing experience. It was kind of uneventful. No crazy new animals or any amazing adventures (other than camping in the middle of the bush). And it was kind of odd since we were maybe 20 km from a little town and at night you could see the lights on the horizon and it kind of took away from the “out in the middle of nowhere” experience. Also it was a fenced reserve so there is a fence around the perimeter and in certain areas where there is a lodge they have “elephant ticklers”. I guess the closest thing we have are cattle grates. It’s basically a break in the electric fence so cars can drive through. so the wiring arches up and has electric wires dangling down so a car can push through (kind of like an old car wash).
our days off were pretty non eventful. we wen into the town. the first time hoping to go to the internet cafe but the power was out most of the day and when it finally came back on it seemed like 10 people trying to share 1 dial up connection but I guess it’s still internet and 15 years ago who would have thought...
then we went and had some beers at the local butchery/bar. yes a bar with a complete goat hanging in the window that people would come and have pieces cut off and take home and/or cooked there. since we were there we decided to have some goat meet and 3 hours later went to a dance club that slowly filled up. pretty interesting scene especially when everyone started sing the barack obama song. (some reggae song, not sure if it’s in rotation in the states) We left at 3am with one camera stolen and hangovers for the next day. The next time our day off came around we took it a little easier and stayed out of mischief.
After our camp we moved to pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum at the Lewa reserve. The place we were supposed to stay was booked so they bumped us up and then bumped us up again so we were a the nicest place on the reserve usually used for special guest and investors. which was made up of little bungalows with antique furnishings, a nice little pool area, a dining/great room with fireplaces on both ends, a library/tv room and views in all directions since it’s on the top of a hill.
The coolest thing I saw there was two giraffes fighting. Just the thought of giraffes fighting is kind of odd since they seem like such peaceful creatures. But the mechanics of it all was equally as weird. giraffes are kind of graceful in a lanky sort of way. when they run it looks like slow motion and it’s kind of the same when the fight. they essentially use their heads as clubs and wind up and swing for the body or legs which is impressive considering how far down there head has to come down. and at first it looks like playing or even courting behavior since it’s so smooth but when you hear the contact it’s evident there not messing around. Giraffes have been known to knock themselves out or break the other’s hips/legs.
from lewa we headed to the coast yesterday. totally different scenery and environment. a little bit muggy and i think this might be where i get to experience some bug bites that I have been able to mostly avoid thus far. we went out last night and although a slightly different scene kind of the same as nairobi. lots of middle aged/older Italian men (they weren’t mostly italian in nairobi not sure why they are here) and young hookers. it’s pretty disturbing and sad for both sides. but there were enough normal tourist and locals to have a good night. One more week and then i’m off to istanbul.
Nairobi Sept 2008
Well the second place we stayed at made things a little easier. Again, the first camp, for just being set up for us, was nice, food was great but the new place.... A hot water heater (even if they did have to come light a fire under it twice a day), wifi, electricity in the rooms, great food and deserts, free beer, soda, wine, and juice (well somebody paid but not us personally). If you are ever planning on going on safari in Kenya and don't mind spending a little money it's highly recommended. (I couldn't tell if the family that was staying there for a few nights was appalled at these ruffians (us) staying with them or they thought we were fun. The manager claimed we were a nice change of pace to the usual clientele.    
We were there to see the wilderbeast migration which was pretty amazing.  I don't even think we saw the full force of it but you see off in the distance what looked like a cattle farm or something and get closer and see that they where wilderbeast with some zebra and antelope mixed in. Just slowly grazing there way through.
The thing I'll will probably remember most from that stay is the hyenas. Not just because it seemed like every night we were trying to catch them killing something and it got a little tiresome after awhile but because they are kind of crazy scary and cute at the same time. They kind of look cuddly especially the pups (maybe because it was dark) but then when they kill something they don't actually kill it before they eat it. They just wound it and separate it from the heard, then the pack gathers and starts tearing it apart as it tries to get away.
I'll will also remember playing soccer with the local workers mostly masai natives. a) because it's funny telling someone they can't play with their sword around there waist and b) because we were amazingly out of shape. I'm going to go ahead and blame the altitude and the fact that we had just had a giant lunch. Whatever it was it was pretty embarrassing.
More interesting notes from the Masai culture. Women get circumcised when married. The younger generation sees this as a little unnecessary but as not to upset the elders they have come up with a way to pretend they are having the circumcision. The hospitals play along and the woman goes and stays there for a few nights and everyone pretends she has the operation and is recovering in the hospital.
Had some down time in Nairobi and someone said it is the biggest city between Cairo and Cape Town. It was nice to be back in a city and able to walk around without the fear of animals although some people call Nairobi "Nairobbery". It seemed to be relatively safe during the daytime and my nighttime adventures involved mainly going to malls (it seems everywhere I go people send me to malls. I think because they thinks it's "American" .) full of westerners and security. And my one nighttime adventure into the not so nice parts involved lots of propositions from prostitutes and guys wanting to know if I was looking for the "bob marley" . Since I wasn't looking for either of those I decided enough of that.
I did go to a pretty cool hip hop show and graffiti contest. Seemed pretty positive and kind of cool to get a perspective on Kenya other than safaris and slums.  The Kenyatta Market was probably my second favorite thing. It is where people go for  suits  (it seems like the majority of the people in Nairobi are wearing suits that don't really fit right), get your hair braided, and grilled meat (my reason for being there (twice)). There are rows of little butcher stalls and charcoal grills where they'll bring you fresh grilled pretty much anything. And a little avocado and tomato salad. If they only had a frozen yogurt stand there it would be the perfect lunch spot.
We're off tomorrow early am. Sounds like we'll be camping so no internet. Once I do get some internet again I've been trying to get a website up that will have pictures on it. Hope everyone is doing well.