Friday, December 26, 2014

This is the time for new experiences

On the ground in Bangladesh and the first thing on my list is to get to the site of the spill and see if I can get some b roll (the major oil spill the US still has done a shit job of covering that occurred within the biggest mangrove forest on the planet….the one with the sanctuaries created just for the dolphins …the endangered dolphin I keep talking about…the Ganges river dolphin and his friend the other endangered dolphin the Irrawaddy).  Obviously the spill was going to have to become part of the story I was going to try to tell.

I thought…maybe I can get the boat I hire in close enough to shoot some of the slick on the top of the water…maybe the wrecked ship far far away? What I had forgotten was where I was. The wild west!….Where rules are…for SISSIES! :) LOVE places like that!

So where does the boat guide take me? He pulls up and ties to the …….WHOA THERE PONY! Ok. Just to keep Jennifer safe a few more days…lets play a new game with this post. Lets call it…you make a guess…but I have really said nothing. Comprende? ;)

So…my guide takes me right up to this amazing GARDEN! …Yes!...A GARDEN!.....And we get to actually walk across the top of the garden and HONEY is everywhere. All over the top of the garden. I literally walked through the honey. And you could look right into the hole in the garden and see that all the honey that had been in the…..honey holder…was gone. And just so you know that would be 300 tons of honey (which sucks bc this honey was toxic honey). And yes. I know..toxic honey? It is a rare form found only in the tropics. So that is why you have yet to hear of it before.

I am then told I can go to see where villagers are harvesting the honey (also horrific…given this was toxic honey). But to get to this next location I have to cross a 30 foot long half foot wide plank of wood which is about 20ft off the water. I KNOW! I KNOW!…..JENNIFER!…You can deal with all these other ridiculous things and now you pause? Few things apparently intimidate me. One is heights. And tight line walking. BC NO ONE SHOULD EVER HAVE TO DO THAT! But here…this is the normal way to get back and forth across from boats to land. My guide who has nimbly crossed over already says to me in an attempt to cajole me across: “Jennifer…this is the time for new experiences.” Well that did it! And away we go! Adventure number 2 officially begun!

You see the bamboo contraption in the background? That is a dock! YES! A dock! To use to get to your boat! Seems way wrong to me. Way wrong. (Photo: JLewis)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It is normal to have your driver give up on you mid ride? If you are in Asia. And a Jennifer, then maybe so!

I am trying to get to my first destination of this journey, Khulna. There is no airport there, so you have to fly to the nearest airport city (Jessore) and then hire a car to get the rest of the way. No big deal. Decided to use company I did last time. Made all arrangements. Flew to Jessore. Walk outside. Crickets. Well, I lie, actually there were no crickets. And also no driver for Jennifer. Drivers at any location I have travelled have it fairly easy for location of me, since I am always the only Caucasian for….maybe even a country or two over. So that was certainly not the issue. Hmm. Its dark. I cant walk 100 miles. What to do? Other drivers note my….lost soul and jump on it immediately. I get in a car…and away we go….for about 3 miles. Then we stop in the middle of a village and a person from behind my car comes to my door, opens and says to change to their car instead. Red flags? Of course! But, here the other option is way creepier, because as I stand there the villager men have come out and are now surrounding me and the drivers of both cars are looking more and more nervous. They realize they let frosty the snowman climb out into view, making not only me a target but them as well. So they exclaim I must get into other car NOW. Ok.

So here is what I have learned. 1. Not all drivers will stay with you for the duration, and I need to be one with this (this is my second example where this has happened to me) and 2) some scary people are scarier than other scary people. Troll vs demon….Yeah…I’ll travel with troll!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Abu Dhabi is not the longer name for Dubai? What?

Ok. So this story will only assure you all the brain ability within my head is….well…too low to build a space shuttle that is for certain! I’m off to Asia. First destination will be Bangladesh. However, to get there…or near over there, usually means at least one layover overnight some where. Last time was Istanbul. Which was by the way over the top fantastic! This time is I think I am going to over night in Abu Dhabi…..I seriously am certain of it. So I make a hotel reservation. Reasonable price…check! Near the airport….Check! All good to go. 

What is funny….is that when I checked in at the airport …the counter person even said Dubai. And I hesitated….for a millisecond, but then…my brain said to me..Yeah…Probably short hand for…Abu Dhabi. I have absolutely no idea why the F I did this. Even deep inside my brain I knew they were not the same. But other me…pushed it aside and said…Jennifer…you know what you are doing…I am certain the ticket said Abu Dhabi. Not to worry. Ok. In plane…travel travel travel. Get off plane. Everything says Dubai. Quick Google check. Well what do you know! Fear washes over me. Fuck. I am in the wrong GD far away land and now with no place to stay and it is just after midnight.

Yep. Abu Dhabi and Dubai....two different places...not within walking distance. Both however..have airports (see map) and both (thank god) are in the same country. 

Ok…OK. Get on phone, search for hotel in DUBAI! Found one. Booked! Off we go. Arrive at hotel, and I then learn they cannot check me in until 3 pm. It is 1 am now. Because I booked for the day we are currently in. OMG. So the counter person sees that crestfallen look and decides if I can wait till 4:30 am. I can check in then. Yeah. Makes F no sense at all. But I have no strength to fight and I can use the wifi in the lobby. And the lobby has diet coke and snickers. So I sit for 3 hours to then check in for two hours of sleep and then am off again!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This plane is trying to scare me…ON PURPOSE!

So I am off. On my first of ? plane rides for this trip. Which sucks bc I hate flying. No big deal though…I’ll just drink way too much wine and watch…….oh..…my TV doesn’t work.  Ok. Fine… The little “here is our flight path” thing works! I will watch that!.. for 8 hours (wine by the way for you non drinkers…is amazing like this).

At some point, I decided to actually focus and read this map. And I was immediately taken aback. You know what they point out on this map? This map across the vast Atlantic Ocean?
Not normal things you or I might consider…like I dunno… island names…..or names of deep trenches. Name of the ocean? Nope. What did they decide to share?


And other… ships…trying to unsuccessfully make their way across the Atlantic! While we ……are trying ……to ALSO CROSS THE ATLANTIC!!

Is this a good thing to point out VIRGIN AIRLINES???

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On the road again!

Ticket to.....Adventure? 
Brief refresher….wanted to make documentary…sold soul…bought camera…off I went…filmed…filmed…filmed….filmed. Came back home….looked at footage….started editing….sat back in chair….looked again at screen….sighed…Went and laid down to stare at the ceiling for a bit… up to get more wine…..flossed my teeth…..then checked my sock to see if there was any more soul left to sell to the devil. 

What was the problem? I had discovered I needed more film. Yep. I know! As a newbie…I suppose this might be bound to happen. Or something was…bound to happen… right? Good news though! I had not just tried my first open heart surgery…or built any type of aircraft currently attempting to fly. Then we’d have some serious worries right? Nothing I had done could kill anybody. I think. 

So…guess where we are all gonna head again? And by all.. I do mean me…and my one Blog reader that freakish cat that lives next door. You and me cat! We are going back to Asia!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

No I am not a DEA agent…but damn….wouldn’t that have been cool!

So..I decide this summer, while I am teaching, that I will get my students to question the general public about their knowledge on dolphins. So I get the lab van, pick random gas stations and such where I think they will get some traffic and push them out the door with clipboards, pens and courage to approach random strangers. So I am waiting for a bunch of them to finish and want to document them, maybe to include in another film in progress….yes…I get the fact that um Jennifer….what about that other one….the one this blog is about? I KNOW! But why not start the next ones while I have the ability to do so too! Right?

I realize pretty quick trying to film from the van, way out in the parking lot, that we are
For scale. Side note: Isn't it amazing how
many uses there are for wine? :)
just too far and I will need the big guns. The 400. Fine. No problem. Just switch these out. Ok. Need some help to stabilize, lets set it on the edge of my open window. Yep that works fine. Just filming away when we (me and my handful of left over students) notice we are being noticed. Not by our subjects who are really far actually, but by the folks in the car not too far from us. A 400 is well…A big MF lens! And looks…well…like something is going down if not aimed at obvious artsy things like…wild birds for example. Anyway, I see our neighbors trying to look without me noticing they have looked. One is inching down to help cover his face. We start to giggle. And…well…I suppose for any DEA agents out there….this might be a good tip for you….Giggling seems to be the one thing NO ONE expects of a professional DEA agent, or would-be spy. These folks in the neighboring car start to laugh and then ask…..WTF are we doing? I explain (asking people about dolphins, film about dolphins). This, mind you in a Home Depot parking lot. This explanation seems to bother them considerably. Too improbable. Definitely less probable then a potential drug bust about to go down…they stop smiling and quickly leave.