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Raw Travel Expands Global Footprint Into Asia With Nat Geo People

–  Nat Geo People Asia Picks up Hit Travel Series from the U.S.

New York, NY – October 13th, 2016 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that Nat Geo People recently acquired Asian territorial rights to certain episodes of their production, Raw Travel®, the U.S.A.’S #1 most watched syndicated adventure travel & lifestyle series. The series began broadcasting on Nat Geo People in a variety of Asian territories earlier last month.

The announcement is just the latest in a string of licensing deals from Raw Travel’s international distributor Off the Fence Distribution, who has also inked several other deals for the series in territories in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and on a variety of airlines the past several months.

Off the Fence is responsible for licensing Raw Travel (58 x 30’) to media outlets outside of the United States and represents the show at global television markets, including the upcoming market MIPCOM later this month.

Raw Travel is a 30 minute adventure travel & lifestyle series that incorporates two of the fastest growing segments of travel: eco-tourism & voluntourism. The fast paced show focuses on authentic experiences to often off-the-beaten-path destinations as well as other more mainstream destinations. The show recently debuted its 4th season in U.S. Syndication in the United States in 159 cities representing over 93% of U.S. television households.

“We are excited about working with Nat Geo People in Asia and in continuing to work with Off the Fence to expand our international audience even as our U.S. fan base continues to expand” stated Robert G. Rose, Executive Producer and Host. “Raw Travel’s unique perspective and positive message of socially consciousness living among an inclusive worldwide community resonates with global audiences. We are eager to welcome our new viewers and friends from across the globe and let them know we are proud to be citizens of the world with them.”

Visit www.RawTravel.tv  and www.RawTravelTrailer.com for more information.

RAW TRAVEL’S “TRIBAL TOURISM” SHOWCASES BEAUTY & HOPE OF PINE RIDGE

RawTravelPineRidgeSlide

 –  Nation’s Poorest Reservation Gets a Helping Hand from Nation’s Most Watched Travel Show – 

 NEW YORK, NY:  November 18th, 2015 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that its syndicated television series Raw Travel® will debut “Pine Ridge – Tribal Tourism” this weekend November 21 & 22, 2015 to kick off the Holiday Season of thanks and giving.

The Oglala Lakota Sioux Indian reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota is one of if not the poorest area in the entire United States. On the reservation it is reported that:

  • Average annual per capita income is estimated at just $4,000 annually.
  • Unemployment is over 80% and it’s estimated that over half live below the poverty line.
  • Teen (and even pre-teen) suicide is estimated to be four times the national rate.
  • They have the second lowest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere (second only to Haiti).
  • Diabetes is eight times (and infant mortality three times) the U.S. rate.
  • There is a massive housing crisis with multiple families often crammed into small mobile homes, many without running water or adequate sewage.

However, thanks to a distinctive culture that incorporates ancient traditions and language, Pine Ridge is an emerging destination for travelers interested in “Tribal Tourism.” This is helping Pine Ridge residents hang on to their culture while creating a much needed economic boost. Raw Travel is raising awareness by highlighting an inspiring blend of locals, transplants, travelers and volunteers who are working hard to improve conditions. The show aspires to cultivate tourism on Pine Ride while celebrating its heritage.

The episode was intentionally filmed over the U.S. Independence Day Holiday Weekend (July 4th) and incorporated local talent (camera, crew and artists) to produce the episode.

“Raw Travel Pine Ridge is not poverty porn. We focus on people who impact lives daily. With the heartbreaking and rampant suicide rates, Native American youth in particular need our help. In addition to the basics, most don’t have access to pastimes like after school programs, movie theaters or even a swimming pool,” states Executive Producer, Robert Rose. “It’s unacceptable to me that this situation exists anywhere, but especially in the most powerful economy in the world. The people of Pine Ridge are resilient and hospitable in the face of adversity few of us can comprehend. I hope this episode will not only raise awareness, but also motivate others to donate, volunteer or travel to the reservation.”

The producers have created a micro website www.RawTravelPineRidge.com as a resource for people who wish to learn more with additional video content, links to help and travel tips. They are using crowdfunding to raise funds via www.CrowdRise.com/RawTravel and by selling limited edition “Still Here… Still Proud” T-shirts designed by young Pine Ridge graphic designer, Jimi La Pointe.

Raw Travel is also donating money raised through the sale of an upcoming special DVD release and pay-per-view fundraising screenings of the international-cut version of the episode. Funds raised will be allocated for after school programs in cooperation with the Red Cloud School featured in the episode.

Pine Ridge Still Here.. Still Proud TShirt

# # #

SPECIAL THANKS TO

Raw Travel’s Pine Ridge initiative was assisted by Jim Clements (Artwork), Manhattan Screen Prints (T-Shirts), Pine Ridge Chamber of Commerce, Medicine Root Films, Red Cloud School & Heritage Center, Re-Member, Batesland Pow-Wow, Wakpamni Bed & Breakfast, Prairie Wind Casino, KEVN-TV Black Hills Fox 7 (Rapid City, South Dakota), Sequoia Crosswhite (music), Scatter Their Own (music), Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates, Daphne Richards-Cook and many more.

ABOUT RAW TRAVEL

Raw Travel is an authentic, adventure travel and lifestyle television series currently in its 3rd season and airs in over 140 U.S. Cities (91% of the U.S.). It is broadcast in syndication on local affiliates (Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC, CW, My, etc.) as well as on a variety of outlets internationally in Asia, Europe, Africa and more.  Raw Travel showcases the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware independent travel. The series weaves together themes of ecotourism, voluntourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to U.S. television. More information can be found at www.RawTravel.tv and viewers can visit www.RawTravel.tv/wheretowatch for a complete listing of cities, affiliates and time slots in the U.S.

ABOUT AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP

AIM TV is an independent content, production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com for more information.

 Rt308 RawTravelPineRidgeBanner2

 

Raw Travel Premieres Season 2

“RAW TRAVEL” SEASON TWO PREMIERES WITH BIG GROWTH SPURT
– Successful Debut Season Leads to Big Growth & Proves Popular Among Variety of Viewers –

NEW YORK, NY: October 1st, 2014AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that the syndicated television series Raw Travel® will debut its 2nd season this weekend in over 113 cities representing 85% of the U.S. and almost 100 million homes signifying a big growth spurt for the series.

Thanks to a successful debut season that saw the show quickly become one of the most watched authentic travel & lifestyle shows on commercial television, the series added an additional 40 markets to its affiliate list including Washington DC (CW), Cleveland (NBC), San Diego (CW), Dayton (CBS), Baltimore (Fox), Richmond (ABC), and Honolulu (My) among several others.

In addition to over 50% growth in the number of cities served, the show received station and time period upgrades in a variety of markets such as Houston (NBC), Philadelphia (My), Tulsa (Fox), Knoxville (NBC) and more, giving viewers more access to Raw Travel than ever before. Viewers can visit www.RawTravel.tv/wheretowatch for a complete listing of cities, affiliates and time slots.

One of the keys to Raw Travel’s growth was the show’s demonstrated ability to reach traditional broadcast audiences while simultaneously attracting new, young and hard to reach viewers like the sought after 18 to 34 year old demographic and millennials, a rare feat in broadcast television.

Raw Travel’s upcoming fall episodes will showcase authentic and alternative sides of popular destinations such as such as Krakow, Poland; Prague, Czech Republic; Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary and Brooklyn, NYC. The show will also continue its specialty of shining the spotlight on less traveled, more “raw” and off-the-beaten-path destinations like Slovakia, Serbia, Romania & Bulgaria. While filming Executive Producer & Host, Robert G. Rose, and crew traveled like typical budget travelers, and continued their theme that travel is not just for the wealthy or famous, travel is for everyone.

“Raw Travel’s touchstones of respectful and authentic travel combined with adventure sports, underground music, social responsibility and environmental sustainability really connected with viewers, especially young people, many of whom seem to share my personal and idealistic view of the world. We’re helping shred the myth that young viewers won’t tune in to broadcast programming.” Rose says. “I couldn’t be more humbled and inspired from the reaction of passionate viewers of all ages. Besides, my mom says Raw Travel is ‘awesome’, so there you go.” Rose continues.

Raw Travel’s Season Two spring episodes will also feature treks to burgeoning travel locations in Southeast Asia and North American destinations such as Utah, Louisiana Cajun Country and more.

Raw Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of ecotourism, voluntourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to U.S. television. More information can be found at www.RawTravel.tv and viewers can visit www.RawTravelTrailer.com for a short video preview of the upcoming episodes from the fall episodes.

# # #

ABOUT AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP

AIM TV is an independent content, production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com and www.RawTravel.tv for more information.

“RAW TRAVEL” IS A FIRM-GO FOR SEASON 2 IN 100+ CITIES & 81% OF THE U.S.!

– Successful 1st Season Leads to Big Growth Spurt for Syndication’s Only Authentic Travel Show

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 2nd, 2014AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that their latest production “Raw Travel®” is cleared for a 2nd season of syndication this fall. The show’s 2nd season will debut via broadcast stations in over 100 markets nationwide, representing over 90 million homes and over 80% of the U.S. homes this coming October.

In addition to several mid-season additions in Season 1, Raw Travel added 30 new markets for its record setting 2nd Season, including Cleveland (NBC), San Diego (CW), Richmond (ABC), Baltimore (My), Grand Rapids (Fox), Memphis (ABC/CW), New Orleans (ABC), Little Rock (Fox / CW), Albany (CBS/CW), to name a few. Additionally, Raw Travel upgraded stations and time periods in key markets including Top 10 markets Philadelphia (My) & Houston (NBC). The additional markets represent a growth spurt of over 40% from the series’ debut last fall.

Raw Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of eco-tourism, volun-tourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to television.

The show’s first (and current) season saw Raw Travel pulling audience increases in major demographics in key markets across the country. Particularly impressive was the show’s wide appeal in both male & female demographics and its ability to attract younger viewers to broadcast TV while maintaining and often growing older demographic lead-ins. Raw Travel also ranked #1 or #2 in key time-slots in several markets consistently.

“Our hunch was this show would work simply because it’s very different than what viewers can get on either cable or broadcast but it blew away our expectations. With 113 million U.S. passports in circulation and growing, travel has ceased to be a niche. It’s mainstream, wildly popular and growing, plus its way under-served,” says Executive Producer and Host, Robert G. Rose. “I think Raw Travel proves that good, unique 1st run, weekend programming can help broadcasters salvage sagging weekend numbers and give them a point of differentiation, especially as viewers continue to cut cable’s chord.” Rose continues.

For Raw Travel’s second season, the show has spread its wings and begun production in parts of Eastern Europe and North America with plans to travel to Southeast Asia and to return to Latin America, which proved popular with viewers in Season 1. The show’s “authentic” theme, along with the message that “almost anyone can afford this type of travel,” stands out from the usual high end, luxury “fantasy travel” or the glut of gimmicky, “reality” formats showcased on cable or primetime television.

The website www.RawTravel.tv features more information about the series and the shortcut of www.RawTravelTrailer.com showcases a short 2014-15 trailer. Interested outlets may view distribution information at www.RawTravelDistribution.com or contact AIM TV Group’s Vice President of Content & Partnerships, Jon Krobot.

AIM TV Announces “Raw Travel”

AIM Tell-A-Vision Group

info@aimtvgroup.com

www.RawTravel.tv

AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP ANNOUNCES “RAW TRAVEL” TV SERIES

–  Indie Producer Announces a New Kind of Travel Series for Curious Travelers –

AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV), the company that pioneered syndicated English language TV programming for U.S. born American Latinos, announced today their latest production “Raw Travel®”, a new kind of travel series showcasing the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel.

The series incorporates eco-tourism, voluntourism (giving back) and adventure sports, with underground music and culture in a way, that is unique to television. The inspiration for the series occurred when AIM TV Founder Robert G. Rose was traveling abroad and discovered a trend among a growing number of socially conscious travelers who were striving for more authentic and rewarding experiences.

Rose collaborated on the project with his long-time production partner, Renzo Devia. The award winning duo rekindled their creative relationship and enlisted the help of other trusted associates from their many years in production to create four (4) complete, one hour episodes. The crew traveled to off the beaten path destinations which offered unique opportunities for authentic cultural, environmentally sustainable and socially aware travel experiences.

True to the title, the program illustrates the raw and, sometimes unglamorous, frustrating reality of independent travel while simultaneously showcasing how this type of travel is not only more affordable, but can spur the kind of growth and fulfillment that rewards and changes lives forever.

“Travel is the most powerful experience I know. It takes you through a wide range of emotions ranging from often irrational fear to almost always incredible fulfillment. We hope to demystify the concept of socially aware travel and, in the process, encourage people to get their passports and go meet the neighbors,” states Rose, Executive Producer and Host of the series. “Travel can spur empathy, deeper cultural understanding and personal spiritual growth. These are experiences that I believe everyone can and should have,” Rose continues.

The episodes currently produced include treks to Colombia, Argentina & Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago and Ecuador with additional episodes slated to begin production once distribution is secured. An 8 minute video trailer can be viewed at the show’s website www.RawTravel.tv along with more information on the show, links to the blog www.RawTravelBlog.com and more.

AIM TV will be attending the upcoming NATPE convention as well as Real Screen summit to screen the series for interested networks & media outlets.

ABOUT THE AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP

AIM TV is an independent content production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects their mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com for more information.

Quito – Are We Blessed or Cursed?

Ciudad Viejo (Old City) - Quito, Ecuador

Ecuador got off to a somewhat rocky and inauspicious start when I was surrounded by 6 young hoods and accosted for my camera just hours after having arrived in Quito. The location was Plaza Foch which is packed with tourist and police, but evidently is one of the more dangerous areas you can wander around at night by yourself with a camera around your neck.

By yelling, screaming and simply refusing to give over my camera without a fight or a big scene, I was able to avoid anything more serious than a ripped jacket.  I was also able to notify the police when I later spotted some of the  main culprits walking around as if nothing happened just a few blocks away.

Santo Domingo in the Old City

Unfortunately, because they did not actually steal anything, I’m afraid the guys were most likely released from custody that very same night to continue their reign of bullying on unsuspecting travelers. Nonetheless I recognized my luck at having my Cannon still available for our first day of shooting the very next day and while I had an exciting story to tell I’ll be the first to admit I was a bit foolish in having my camera out at night in the first place.

But I must say I will probably do so again, when circumstances are similar and I want to get a good shot.  I firmly believe you can’t spend your whole life with your camera packed safely away in your hotel or hidden away because someone might actually be willing to rob you for it.

At some point you have to live your life and enjoy your trip, but common sense must tell you have to weigh the risk vs. the reward and be prepared to lose your camera or worse. If you don’t risk anything you may as well stay at home and never go anywhere or do anything. But if your reading this and planning a trip to Quito, be very vigilant, especially at night around Plaza Foch and other areas.

Inside one of Quito's Lovely Old Cathedrals

We received what we thought to be a 2nd bad omen when early into our first day of shooting in the historic old city of Quito (at 52 blocks the largest preserved old city in South America), a bird, or a flock of birds more likely, did their business all over me, my shirt, my producers shirt and our camera bag. Normally I’d laugh this off but this stuff was the ugliest, foulest smelling bit of feces I’ve ever come in contact with (and I grew up on a farm). I didn’t have another shirt with me so we all had to wash in a nearby public restroom and I had to change into my previously ripped, hooded jacket  and we carried on shooting, continuity be damned.

Quito's Bright Blue Sky

My producer, Renzo, is Colombian and he said that in Latin America a bird plopping crap on you was considered a sign of good things to come. I certainly did hope so because the last 24 hours had been tough.

Indeed, things did quickly get better. Our shoot in the rest of the Old City was wonderful as we shot such beautiful historic sites as Plaza Independencia, La Plaza Grande, The Government Palace Building and more.  I took advantage of the situation and bought a hand woven replacement shirt at one of the stalls where they featured clothing made in nearby Otavalo, a city famous for its textiles, market and indigenous culture . We also met a lovely couple who were weavers and demonstrated how to hand weaving process works for our cameras.

The Art of Weaving
With Luis and Preci Morales (local weavers)

Later we were joined by Cheo, a local, young communications student from the coastal city of Esmeraldas who had volunteered to help us out. We made our way to the Teleferiquo or the cable car which took us up for an incredible if chilly view of Quito high above one of the area mountains.

View of Quito from the top
In La Calle Ronda

We made it to the back down to the old city and the lovely La Calle Ronda, an area of cobblestone streets, cafes and restaurants in time for dusk and we got some great shots off there before dark and then heading over to the more modern part of the city to shoot at the famous rock bar, “The Garage”. We were there to shoot my buddies from the local punk band DMTR (Demeter) who agreed to put on a special performance just four our cameras.

DMTR (Demeter) @ The Garage performing for our cameras

All in all it was a solid 1st day of shooting and given the way things had begun I had a feeling our luck was changing. I mean the camera wasn’t stolen, I ended up washing my shirt and getting a cool hand made replacement in the process. Maybe the old Latin American superstition about a bird doing its business on you was true after all? Only time would tell but so far, so good… I guess!??

 

The Goat Races of Tobago

The goat races in Buccoo Bay, Tobago are not to be missed, so I took the ferry from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Tobago (2.5 hours) to catch the kick off of Goat Racing season. The ferry is a very inexpensive and easy way to get back and forth between the two islands.

Buccoo Bay is a tiny fishing village not far from the much larger Crown Point, which has scores of hotels, a couple of good beaches and the airport. If the ferry is full (as is often the case during certain times) then a flight from Port of Spain to Crown Point is usually very inexpensive as well.

Buccoo Bay Beach

 

Buccoo has a small, remote beach and is a good place to catch a glass bottom boat and do some snorkeling at the stunning Buccoo Reef. But what makes Buccoo really noteworthy is their big Sunday night street party called “Sunday School” which I assure you has nothing to do with church and the Buccoo Goat Races, which take place beginning the first Tuesday after Easter and each following Sunday throughout the summer.

Buccoo's New Goat Race Stadium

 

Goat races have been going on in Tobago since the early 1900s and Buccoo is ground zero for the scene.  Here they recently built a big Goat Racing Complex and Stadium that at first glance, looks really out of place in this small village, but come Goat Racing day, it really comes alive.

A contender

 

Considering a big expensive stadium was build, you can probably guess that goat racing is pretty serious business in these parts. Goats and jockeys (the jockeys follow the goat with a rope at full sprint) undergo a rigorous training routine year round in the hot Tobagonian sun which includes running, swimming (I guess goats can swim after all) and sprinting.

The jockeys are young and athletic and the goats have owners who may own an entire roster of racing goats and sometimes even corporate sponsors.  There are classes of goats too, from A to C depending upon how many races the goat has won. Prizes are no joke either with some prizes totaling several thousand TT (a thousand U.S. or more).

Sellout? Corporately Sponsored

 

During race day, over 3,000 locals and tourists attend the races, which also generate somewhat of local media frenzy. Indeed, I had to get special permission to shoot video of the races. I felt like I was dealing with the National Football League or Major League Baseball for a minute. But after meeting Winston Pereira, who in addition to being in charge of this year’s festivities also runs the local Miller’s Guesthouse, we were able to work things out.

In addition to goat racing, they held a crab race to break things up and get some of the tourists involved. Both inside and outside the complex, there were all kinds of traditional Tobagonian food being cooked and sold (including crab, not sure if you could eat the losers).

Crab Race

The races lasted until sunset, when the racetrack lights had to be turned on for the big grand finale. After all the trophies and prizes had been distributed, the massive street party and concert began.  I had secured a room at the Seaside Garden Guesthouse, and while it was super convenient and right in the middle of all the action, the problem was, it was right in the middle of the action.  Trying to sleep there that evening was like trying to sleep during the middle of a concert at Madison Square Garden. I was pretty sleep deprived and am not a big partier, so I walked about ¼ mile or so to the edge of town to the hostel Fish Tobago. The owners were kind enough to cut me a deal on a bed for the night. I slept like a baby, oblivious to the extreme partying going on just down the road.

Aside from the beach, snorkeling, goat races and Sunday night parties, Buccoo is a nice little village where you can get to know the locals if you stay long enough. But they are somewhat jaded by tourists and some people may be quiet ambivalent about your presence.

Buccoo also lacks some infrastructure such as a good selection of restaurants and Tobago in general suffers with transportation infrastructure issues. If you don’t have wheels, just getting to and from Buccoo to nearby Crown Point is an adventure unto itself.

Jerk & BBQ Chicken

 

Miller’s Guesthouse has an excellent restaurant with breathtaking views of the bay. Eating there is very tranquil and relaxed and they have excellent food along with my favorite amenity; free Wi-Fi (evidently the rest of the island of Tobago didn’t get the memo that Wi-Fi is free for travelers almost everywhere else in the free world). While the food is really impressive, eating there for every meal can get a little expensive if you’re on a tight budget.

On Sunday night, some locals cook up a nice meal under a tent and you can load up on mahi-mahi or jerked chicken and other local favorites, but it’s going to cost you $15 U.S.

Buccoo’s beach itself is good if you like to be away from other travelers. There were times that I had the beach to myself. But there are many other things to see while on the island of Tobago, like the National Forest Reserve, the well preserved Fort King George in Scarborough, the much more commercial beach at Pigeon Point, surfing in Mt. Irvine Bay, diving in Charlottesville, etc. etc.

Mt. Irvine Beach, Tobago

 

But if you’re looking for a more remote getaway without a bunch of other tourists around or if you have wheels (they drive on the left side of the road, btw) and just need a good home base, then Buccoo Bay is a great spot. Unless of course you go during the big Sunday School Parties and Goat Races and would actually like to sleep!

Colonia Del Sacrament, Uruguay

Today packed up to make our way over to Colonia Del Sacramento by bus (2.5 hours from Montevideo).

But first we took the morning to wind up with a few last shots of Montevideo. We really wanted to shoot this lovely, antique bandoneón store in Cuidad Vieja. We had seen it on multiple occasions but it had always been closed.

This morning we were in luck. The store was open!  Mario, the proprietor has been refurbishing musical instruments for decades, since he was a child. His father began the store in another location a few blocks away.

Mario was very gracious and gentle older gentleman who patiently told us about the history of Tango and the relationship with the bandoneón.  The store had some beautiful, refurbished bandoneóns, some worth over $5,000, as well as accordions, mandolins and other musical instruments.  But all were old and refurbished and the store resembled a museum more than a place of business.

Mario allowed me to “play” a bandoneón. It was very difficult with a lot of hand/eye coordination going on.  After this weak showing I decided to let the experts take over, so Mario and a client who happened to be there  demonstrated for our cameras how a bandoneón can and should be played. Best part of the trip so far.

Carnival was in full swing in Uruguay where we were there and it’s a very unique celebration compared to other carnival hotspots like Brazil and Trinidad, so we hit the Carnival museum as well. Then we headed to the hotel to check out and taxi over to the bus station to catch our bus to Colonia Del Sacramento as we wanted to get there with enough daylight to shoot.

Colonia Del Sacramento has lots of cool antique cars

We had about 10 minutes to choke down a quick lunch at the bus station before our bus left. This bus ride was one of the worst I’ve ever taken and I was not expecting it given the general good infrastructure of Uruguay. .

The bus ride was a non air conditioned, unventilated, stop and go hell ride that made a direct  2 ½ hour trip turn into 3 and ½ hours thanks to so many unscheduled stops and pickups.

Colonia Del Sacramento

This was such the opposite of my ride over from Buenos Aires a few days earlier on the Buque Bus. The Buque Bus had Air Conditioning, lots of leg room and even wi-fi on the bus. Most importantly it didn’t make any stops. Next time it’s Buque Bus all the way for me.

Colonia Del Sacramento is a small but beautiful and very historic town with cobblestone streets, old forts and an interesting if bloody history as the Spanish, English and Portuguese wrestled for control of this little town by the Rio Plata. It was so very tranquil and relaxing with the river beaches and an incredible sunset that it was hard to believe so much blood had been shed here.

You get an idea how life is here when the cars actually come to a full stop for pedestrians in the middle of the street, allowing them to cross first before they carry on their way. Such an incredible contrast with 99% of Latin America (or for that matter the U.S.), it really was shocking at first. We walked our way around town but if you’re tired, in a hurry (why would you be?) or just a little lazy, well then you can rent little golf carts to tool around town and see what you need to see

Later that night I ran along the beachfront road which is really the Plata River, not the ocean and then off to bed fairly early because we had to catch the ferry (45 minutes) to Buenos Aires the next day with a full day of shooting.

Colonia Del Sacramento

Colonial Del Sacramento is a day trip for many people traveling between Buenos Aires and Montevideo but I really recommend you consider staying one or even two nights, so you can really appreciate the beauty of this tiny little gem.

For more pics of Colonia Del Sacramento, visit our FLIKR PAGE.

 

San Vicente Thermals

We woke up early (are you sensing a theme here?) to head to the San Vicente Termales (Thermals), a beautiful, eco-touristic retreat about 1 and ½ hours outside of Pereira.  We were met by Laura (our film student assistant) and Alexa, our bi-lingual guide that had been recommended to us and we had met the night before.

The terrain of the winding road was really rough from the rains with the small rental car bottoming out numerous times, but the scenery was incredible.

River that flows through San Vicente Termales

We arrived in a dreamland of exotic foliage, waterfalls and ponds (thermals) with steam wafting from them.

The first thing we did was to take a hike and after Renzo fell and barely escaped pitching into the rolling rapids (along with the camera) we realized tennis shoes were NOT the right footwear for trekking in these parts, so if you go, wear boots!

Alexa and I then did a canopy, the 2nd canopy ride in my life (all in the past week) across an incredible landscape of greenery and trees whizzing by and below.  I did mine superman style which is laying belly towards the ground and going face first. Very cool!

Alexa taking a canopy ride

We then hit the thermals and it was like a really, really warm bath outside in the mountain air surrounded by trees, flowers and the sound of nature. It was incredible and naturally heated from the nearby and (I hope!) inactive volcano.

We broke for a delicious lunch and the owner, who is a well known expert on the healing power of thermals and somewhat of a celebrity in these parts, pulled out a crystal to read all of our energy. All but one of us had negative energy, so one by one he fixed us up.

After lunch it began to rain but thankfully that passed and we were able to continue shooting my favorite part, which is getting buried up to our faces in hot volcanic sand, followed by a Turkish bath, an  invigorating but painfully cold water rinse from a natural spring and then we hit the thermal spas again.

This combination supposedly opens your pores and allows the natural minerals to get inside, healing you from the stress of life from the inside out.  I don’t know about all that but I will tell you I felt like I could sleep for a week afterwards.

But wait, there was more. Then we were given mud baths from the natural algae pools. The greenish mud didn’t smell great but it was warm and gooey and afterwards my skin has never felt so soft, like a baby’s behind!

One of the many naturally warmed pools of San Vicente (75-80 degrees)

The drive back was exquisite with the sun setting over coffee country. A magical day thanks to the hospitality of the people from the San Vicente Termales.  If you’re ever in coffee country you really should check them out and their overnight accommodations are both charming and reasonably priced. You can find out more about them at their website HERE.

Some of the beautiful flora of San Vicente

Renzo and I grab a late dinner and discuss our progress and give feedback to each other.  So far so good and how could I complain after a whole day of pampering?

I think I’m beginning to dig this job!

Check out more beautiful photos from San Vicente Termales HERE

Medellin

Paula from Medellin Tourism

1st day of shooting and we get an early start meeting with Paula from Medellin Tourism office. Paula has a whole agenda planned for us so we start the trip off with an intense schedule that includes stops all over Medellin.

We begin at Barefoot Park where I am forced to remove my shoes and wade around in the water, grass and sand and get in touch with Mother Earth. The park is tranquil and the weather is splendid but I am in desperate need of a tan. I probably haven’t been this white in months… why didn’t we start in Cartagena?!

I’m pretty nervous and not used to the camera following my every move. This is going to take some serious getting used to.

We head from there to the Metro Cable and take the cable car up to the barrio Santo Domingo, and to one of the five new libraries the city has constructed in poor areas throughout the city. The views from the Metro Cable are stunning! And looking down gives you a glimpse of barrio life from above. It’s a must do when traveling to Medellin.

Metro Cable - A Must Do In Medellin
Barrio Santo Domingo

After touring the library, we break for lunch and meet one of Paula’s counterparts, Cristina, from the Medellin Convention and Visitors Bureau. We have a delicious lunch and head over to Parque Explora to take in the science museum. It’s full of schoolchildren and the most memorable part was going in the earthquake simulator which simulates a 6.0 Richter scale earthquake. To be honest it wasn’t that bad, but that is of course without buildings collapsing around you.

Pueblita Paisa @ Night
Pueblita Paisa in the daytime

By the time we finished Parque Explora it’s getting late so we fight rush hour traffic and head over to Pueblita Paisa, which is a reproduction of a typical little town in Colombia. The view is incredible but it’s too dark to shoot much so we’ll have to come back tomorrow to get b-roll.

We head back to the hotel and I grab a quick workout before we head out for some legendary Medellin nightlife.  Our first stop is Woka in Parque Lleras, where we order a drink called La cucaracha or something like that and the bartenders set the bar on fire. Good TV!

Nightlife in Medellin

From there we head to a couple of really cool clubs and end up the night in Sabaneta at a place called “Dulce Jesus Mio” (My Sweet Jesus), that is a real trip. It felt like Halloween inside the bar with so many people dressed up in costumes, but to be honest I was so exhausted that I couldn’t really enjoy it. I just wanted to go to sleep. It was 3AM and I’d been up since 6AM the previous morning. All in all, a pretty intense first day!  Travel ain’t easy!

Renzo shooting in Sabaneta