Friday, June 22, 2007

The Routine, My Time & The Plan

The Film Shoot:
At around 7:00 am Chad wakes me up by stating my name and the fact that I need to record sound again today on the film. I get up, slide into probably dirty clothes and eat 2 cups of dry cereal and a banana. Taking my showers in the evening prior to tomorrow's morning, I'm afforded about 20 free minutes to play guitar or make tea. Around 7:30, all eleven of crew and two actors fit almost comfortably into a Toyota Land Rover and drive to mid-town Quito, downtown San Golqui or perhaps the nearest bit of mountain slope. Shooting begins promptly and We shoot until noon or so then eat lunch together for around 40 minutes. We then resume shooting until wrap, around 5pm or 6pm. If I choose to stay with the crew after wrap (and not wander around Quito for a few hours) we all climb back aboard the vehicle and make our way back to the concrete house across the road from the foster home and school. Dinner is usually a loose 7:30pm at a friend of the school's and the wife of our some-times chauffer Acturo's wife's house. Dinner is filling and local. We then retire to a dizzying night of drawing each other in our sketch books and playing the only decent guitar I've played since Mishauilli. I wash up. I go to bed around midnight or 1 am.

My Time:

When I wake up, I feel very cold because my sheets are some how inexplicably under my bed. I ruffle out of my mosquito net to find my cold glasses, missing a nose pad and causing a fair-sized scab on my nose. Zombie-walking into the kitchen, I find my cup with my name on it somehow moved to the other side of the sink. I get the most sugar-laced cereal and chew down two quick cup-fulls. The trip at least affords me my normal breakfast behavior. People are joking in the kitchen but I don't understand why because I'm freezing. A jacket wasn't even considered when I was packing. Ecuador is not southern Mexico; it's an alien terrain that is inhabited by the ghosts and shadows of the true intentions of marketers and advertisers. The culture has consumed logos and mascots like religious icons and relics. I stick my cold hands under my shirt and down my pants, searching for any lingering signs of a week long outbreak of what may or may not have been scabies. The shampoo may have done the trick. By the time I pinball around eleven other guys in the kitchen, boil water and make some tea I'm burning my lips stumbling out the door. All preceded and followed by six or so "Is all your sound stuff together?" It is.
There are four of us in the very back, side-angled seats of the car.
My mind is constantly elsewhere: Austin, LA, HEB, music, reading, warmer weather. The film doesn't get in the way of enjoying my foreign setting. I find it easy to focus on funny little things and draw infinite comparison and critique to everything from mall food court menus to the number of miscellaneous stickers on buses. I've stopped eating meat here, more or less. I'll never turn down a good tuna fish sandwich but meat here is giving me terrible stomach aches. I assume this might be due to my rampant on-and-off vegitarianism that was on for the two and a half months prior to leaving. It's an easy enough task to accomplish and already I feel all the better. My cold is the only lingering malady, which antihistamine's impotency towards leads me to believe it's just something local I have to deal with.
The days aren't long, not relative to production work. Ripped $1 DVDs have become a boon of entertainment played on huddled around laptops. The draft makes the night cold on the mountains and the concrete home we live in until July 6th cools quickly after sundown.
This is a plastic bottle of water place. This is my peanut butter and banana sandwich view of a rice, chicken and potato country. Ecuador has only suprised me by the effect of a culture of gloabalism spread vast and deep. There's been little question of what exactly our activities have been in the jungle or on the streets, only a polite query as to if our footage is for Discovery Channel or BBC. If you don't know any Spanish, you'll have an infinitely easier time asking for a commercial product you're accustom to in the States than asking someone where a good local resturant is. I was taught, well so, in high school that by saying America, you're rightly referring to everything contained from the top of the uninhabitable ice lakes of Canada to the equally cold rock of Tierra Del Fuego. America does not refer to the United States of America when you don't surround yourself with people who'd not think differently about the term. As I'm seeing it, Ecuador is more or less another spectator in the world game; watching the US and it's pop-collared ilk throw it's weight around the field. Ecuadorians who have a voice in the global marketplace are wearing a US jersey. If you come to Ecuador, find the people who can't afford one, and ask them about their lives here in a country of misty mountains and pebble banks of the wide Amazon.
Make no assumptions: I'm having fun. I might stay the extra two weeks if I found cheap/good hummus.

The Plan:
Come June 6th, we move to the coastal town of I-can't-remember. We'll shoot-out the Ecuadorian leg of the film and break. Some will stay, traveling around on their own dime. Others will go back home to the States. My plan is to exchange/refund my tickets on two airlines through 3 countries on August 1st into some trip that takes me back to the US on July 18th. Why? 3 reasons for you folks. Uno: I really feel like I've got a grand over-view, with highlights and texture, character and a taste for the place. Dos: My own dime is shrinking. I'd rather come back to town and make some money than spend more than I could earn in a two week period. Tres: I really put my life on hold for this trip and it's beginning to put a lot of pressure on me. Pressure I'd like to release by charting my next few quarters of occupational activity, whether it be in LA or Waterloo. As I say, nothing's final yet but that's the plan. The only thing I'm not 100% on is if I want to blow the money to buy a new pair of sneakers and a light jacket. My Adidas have jumped the shark.

I watched Motorcycle Diaries last night and really enjoyed it. Che Guevera is huge here, It's qued in my ensermountable reading list for Wikipedia. I'm looking forward to going to two Pre-Colombian South American anthropological and natural history museums on my five days off. My friend George also told me about some English pubs in downtown. George, if you're reading this, they've really made recent efforts to clean up the city and make it safer. Think the police presence of Sixth Street on Mardi Gras only armed with fully auto machine guns. Oh man, I promise I'm getting a picture with a Policia. There's a lot more exploring and adventuring to come but the hump has been crossed and Barton Springs seems warmer than ever.

Here are some pictures from Chad's lens.

My $120 meal in the Mexico City Airport. All $120 of it were left on a CopaAir jetliner.


Day 10

Alejandro Ponce Garcia, director of Peco's Tex Mex, co-star.
He's got some stories to tell.

un mono

mas monos

A Capibara from the AmaZoonico wildlife refuge. I was fortunate to record it's cooing along with 1o other animals at the zoo. It sounded like a tribble.

AD & Sound Recordist

I'm for supporting local businesses.
15,000 feet above Quito.

Mariscol Sucre, the streets of Quito.


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