Half a Month and Half a Beard Later

Hola. ¿Como estás!?

Good. Now that the extent of my Spanish is out of the way, lets be real and stuff. Cuenca is pretty awesome. They have so many things… Like Karaoke! And Beer! That’s fun!

I’m learning ever so much here in the far away land of America. Like what do do with a tripod and a dead cat (technical terms, you probably wouldn’t understand).

So all of you avid readers of documentaryabroad.wordpress.com/page/2 probably know a bit about whats going on, but imma fill you in:

Day 1: Flights be early, Copa be silly.

Day 2: Bus tours, like a baws

Day 3: Authentic Mexican food because we are in Ecuador

Day 4: I showered for the first time ever….

Day 5: Things happened

Day 6-7: More things happened

Day 8: I spad (spa as a verb in past tense) to a whole new level.

Day 9: Something about mountains

Day 10-13: More talking than I’ve done ever.

Day 14: I rode a flippin horse and made friends with a dog. This is my only friend….

Day 15: Silly Switzerland.

Day 16: Got our first interview down….now I am writing a blog post titled “Half a Month and Half a Beard Later.” It is about what I have done the past half of a month. I started out talking about how on the first day Copa was silly. Then I went through every other day to….never mind.

Hi! Hello. My name is Zach!

16 days so far of Cuenca Ecuador. 14 more to come! Party like a rock-star and shiz like that. Goodnight and stuff.

-Zach

 

FCT Location Scout

Last Monday, the FCT group and I traveled to the Sangay National Park for location scouting for our documentary.

Group Photo

We got to see some awesome views…

Scenery

And even meet some alpacas!

Alpacha

It was great to see the area to plan our shots before we began filming. While I will be hanging back to begin editing, the rest of the group will be in the national park on Tuesday to start the actual filmmaking process!

Highlights from Ziplining

En route to ziplining!
En route to ziplining!
Getting prepped for ziplining.
Gearing up.
Gearing up.
Gearing up.
Ready to go!
Ready to go!
First line - didn't quite make it to the end.
First line – didn’t quite make it to the end.
Success!
Success!
Getting down the ziplines.
Going on down the lines.
Going on down the lines.
Going on down the lines.
Going on down the lines.
Going on down the lines.
Going on down the lines.
Going on down the lines.
Getting down the ziplines.
Going on down the lines in a different fashion.
Getting down the ziplines.
Incoming!
Going on down the lines.
Going on down the lines.
Going on down the lines.
Going on down the lines.
Off we go!
Off we go!
Ready for takeoff.
Ready for takeoff.
Coming in for a landing.
Coming in for a landing.
All in one piece and ready to head to the hot springs!
All in one piece and ready to head to the hot springs!

Photos by Robin Canfield of Actuality Media

Piedra de Agua

On Sunday we did a group excursion ziplining followed by a very nice trip to a spa with mud baths, steam rooms and contrasting pools. I’m going to let someone with video tell you about our ziplining adventure, so I’m going to focus on Piedra de Agua, the spa located right outside of Cuenca that we went to.
First off, while our hostel is nice, there seems to be a problem with hot water most of the time; so we were extremely excited for warm water at the spa. Not only did they have multiple contrasting temperature pools with extremely hot water but they also had huge rain shower heads that gave us nice warm water as well and was by far the best shower I’ve had since leaving the U.S.
While some people in our group decided to just do the basic spa package which included the outdoor contrasting pools and steam rooms, a few of us opted for the upgraded spa package. The upgraded spa package included red and blue mud baths which exfoliated skin and helped with wrinkles, frown lines, etc. Needless to say, our skin was left feeling like a baby’s bottom.

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In addition to the mud baths we also had access to underground contrasting pools and then torture chamber-like steam boxes. While the steam boxes were nice, we definitely couldn’t stay in them longer than 5 minutes.

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It was a great day all around; a nice break from working on our documentaries and getting to spend time with the whole crew.

La Colecta – Practice Shooting With Techo

When a once a year event happens before you should start filming, you don’t ignore it – you make it a learning exercise and get a little footage.

Locals go by Ecuadorian time, so arriving on time meant we beat everyone else. The crew sat out the rain on the cathedral steps.
Locals go by Ecuadorian time, so arriving on time meant we beat everyone else. The crew sat out the rain on the cathedral steps.

 

Dawn came quickly and the camera started rolling as the TECHO volunteers began to gather in Parque Calderon. The groups quickly split off into country-themed crews and began heading out to different parts of the city.
Dawn came quickly and the camera started rolling as the TECHO volunteers began to gather in Parque Calderon. The groups quickly split off into country-themed crews and began heading out to different parts of the city.
The crew situated themselves at the center of activities, poised to shoot (and reshoot, for practice) as the Colecta progressed.
The crew situated themselves at the center of activities, poised to shoot (and reshoot, for practice) as the Colecta progressed.
And then, they took to the streets.
And then, they took to the streets.
After a break to review the mornings footage, the crew returned to Parque Calderon to take things from another angle.
After a break to review the mornings footage, the crew returned to Parque Calderon to take things from another angle.
The crew learned from their practice, learned from what they could capture with the camera, and had extra guidance from Señor Boulton.
The crew learned from their practice, learned from what they could capture with the camera, and had extra guidance from Señor Boulton.
Things were exciting.
Things were exciting.
Wait, what country are we in again? (Each Colecta crew had a different country theme. The film crew paid Mexico a visit in Parque San Blas)
Wait, what country are we in again?
(Each Colecta crew had a different country theme. The film crew paid Mexico a visit in Parque San Blas)
In the late afternoon the crews (film and TECHO) converged on Parque de la Madre.
In the late afternoon the crews (film and TECHO) converged on Parque de la Madre.
Though there was rain, the building of a sample TECHO house proceeded, and so did filming.
Though there was rain, the building of a sample TECHO house proceeded, and so did filming.
When the house was completed there was much rejoicing.
When the house was completed there was much rejoicing.
Filming continued as the night descended and lights came on.
Filming continued as the night descended and lights came on.
Techo's La Colecta Event in Parque del Madre.
The concert celebration progressed, and only when the crew decided they had all that they needed did we call it a wrap for the day.

 

Practice shoot done.

Photos by Robin Canfield of Actuality Media.

 

 

 

 

My First Week

Sorry I haven’t been as up to date as I (or my mom) would like to have been during this month. So I am going to give a list of all the highlights of my first week:

1. Both my phone alarm and the airport hotel alarm wake up call didn’t work. As a result, my family and I got up at 6:30 a.m (instead of 5 o’clock in the morning), rushed to airport, and I made it on the plane 15 minutes to spare.

2. After a delayed flight in Quito, we missed our flight to Cuenca. Fortunately Copa airlines (what we were flying) compensated this setback with a prepaid stay at the Donn Carlton and food at the hotel. Our dinner included this potato soup that was absolutely amazing. The next day we had a nice tour of Quito before heading to Cuenca.

3. Heading to Cuenca was an ordeal because the flight didn’t reschedule our flight and other setbacks. After what felt like forever, we finally got on the plane. I sat in the last row, but it was only for an hour.

4. We finally made it to the hostel that will be living in for the next month. Marta, one of the owners of the hostel, along with her daughter, makes us breakfast and dinner. One of my worries going to Ecuador was that I wouldn’t be able to eat anything because of my gluten and casein (dairy) free diet. Marta, however, has been so accommodating to the point where I have the motivation to get up for an 8 a.m breakfast. She bought me soy milk for my coffee and “queso de soya” (it’s actually tofu but it’s the thought that counts). Any way, long story short, she’s the best.

5. The rest of the week has consisted of briefings (the actual class part of this trip) and filming. We started filming on Friday and it was pretty cool. Even though we had to get up at 5 in the morning (my alarm worked this time) and some things didn’t go as planned, my first time working in sound was still a great experience.

6. My classmates and I went to so many restaurants for lunch this week, it was insane! Cuenca has a lot of diverse types of food. Not only do they have Latin American food, there are also Indian, Thai, and lots of KFC. I didn’t really expect that coming here. It’s cool not just experiencing Ecuadorean cuisine, but all the other flavors Cuenca has to offer. Ironically, for all the food that I have been eating, I actually feel like I’m losing weight. Not only are portions here smaller (for the most part), but also I’m walking on more inclines (hills) then I have ever done on an elliptical and more so than I ever have done living in Florida. The altitude is still something to get used to. For instance, every time I walk up these five flights of stairs to the park, I feel like I’m about to die each time. Either I’m out of shape or still need some acclimating. I tell myself the prior.

7. Today, my class and I went zip lining. I’m not scared of heights, I just don’t like looking down. The way the course was set up was high on a mountain. Each line got higher and longer. The worst part of it for me was when it was time to brake. You hear this loud smashing sound or it looks like you’re about it hit a tree. Next, we went to the hot springs. My favorite parts was being in hot water and the mud baths. The mud made my skin so soft, it was great! There were also saunas, contrasting pools, and box showers. It was a great way to end the week.

All in all, I had a great first week in Cuenca and can’t wait for what else there is to come!

It Began

A look back at the first few days in Cuenca.

 

Most mornings begin with a briefing
Most mornings begin with a briefing
Then crews head out to lunch.
Then crews head out to lunch.
Then head off to meet with their changemakers.
Then head off to meet with their changemakers.
Sometimes they meet up at the Fundación Cordillera Tropical office.
Sometimes they meet up at the Fundación Cordillera Tropical office.
Sometimes the crews head in a different direction through Cuenca.
Sometimes the crews head in a different direction through Cuenca.
Plan as much as they might, sometimes locals are on Cuenca time (i.e. late) - it's very similar to Guatemala time, lake time, Pura Vida time, etc.
Plan as much as they might, sometimes locals are on Cuenca time (i.e. late) – it’s very similar to Guatemala time, lake time, Pura Vida time, etc.
Still, the crews press on and research continued.
Still, the crews press on and research continued.
The TECHO crew even joined in on preparing art for the big TECHO event of the year.
The TECHO crew even joined in on preparing art for the big TECHO event of the year.
Of course it was fun starting to get to know everybody, whether it was changemakers...
Of course it was fun starting to get to know everybody, whether it was changemakers…
or meeting locals.
or meeting locals.

 

Photos by Robin Canfield – Actuality Media

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