Recommendations by a travel video maker!

Hi All!
I’m happy to introduce a new guest of my blog: Guglielmo Biason and his videos.

Guglielmo is an Italian guy who lives in London. I met him in Brazil in 2006. I was the tour leader of a group and we argued more than once because of the ‘rules’  and the travel’s organization.

After few months, I watched the first Guglielmo’s video shot in India. It was about a ‘tuk-tuk’ charity race in the South of India, and it was so funny!

Few days ago, I received an e-mail about his new “web video blog”. I immediately visited it, and I found something more than a video collection. He created a sort of travel social network …

So , I decided to ask him some questions about his great idea in order to write a post for my readers and ‘advertise’ his interesting activity

– Hi Guglielmo … would you mind introducing yourself as a ‘traveller’?

Well, more or less, difficult to define myself as a traveller when I’m not able to travel for more than 20/25 days per year due to work commitments. But yes, I like to travel a lot and this is by far my favourite passion. This means that that 20/25 days are ~100% of my holidays.

–  When we firstly met in 2006 you didn’t have any video camera. When did you decide to shoot videos and why?

Yes, this is right. I didn’t realize but it is true. When we met I didn’t had a camera. No photos, no videos. Everything changed one year later. Basically one day (it was April 2007) I watch a short video that a friend of mine did by simply putting together some photos and adding a music theme. I asked him how complicated it was and he showed me how easy is to use Windows Movie Maker, a very simple tool that is installed in any Windows PC. One week later I went to Oman and I decide to buy a camera at the airport. I did some videos during the trip but not with any real idea on what to do. A few weeks later I started playing with the videos and in a few hours I created my first, rudimental, travel video. It is the one called “Oman, route to Wadi Shab and Wahiba Sands”. Since then I did a video for every travel I did. Now I cannot even stop because my friends travelling with me require that I do a video on the trip that they can show to parents, friends, and colleagues once back

–         You started publishing your videos on different social media like YouTube, Facebook, etc. Why did you create your own ‘space’? What is your aim?

Yes, I put my first video on YouTube for the only reason to show it to my parents in Italy (I live in London). Then I sent the link to a few friends. YouTube was a powerful site but after 2 years it started to shut down my videos because I used illegal music. This is true, I use normal pop music in my videos without permission, but I do not make money on it, and my intent is only to share the video with my friends. For your info, YouTube has a software which matches the audio of your video with a database of most famous songs. When your audio match with one of the songs, YouTube mutes automatically your video. I hate to rely on others (YouTube included) and I decided to spend few hours to build up my own website. I do not have any plan to make it popular. It is simply a way which allows me to share the videos with my friends. When I upload a new video I send an email or post it on Facebook so my friends who are interested can watch it. In the future my aim is to develop the website in a way that it becomes a content box for notes, photos, suggestions, itineraries, videos and any experience related to my travels. A sort of travel memory accessible from everywhere.


–  Do you have a ‘plot’ when you start shooting or you ‘build’ your movie during the post-production process?

I have a very strange way to plan my vids. My videos are led by the music. Before the travel I select a few songs which I really like and I start imaging the scenes of the travel on the music. Of course the songs are somehow related to the place I’m visiting. E.g., in Cuba I used regaetton and latin music, in Isreael and Jordan I used Marrocan dance. In Turkey I used Turkish pop. In the Vietnam vid that I’ll soon upload I use a lot American songs of the the ‘60s and ‘70s. Basically the music drives the creation of the movies. This is the reasons I think at my videos more as videclips rather than movies. The weak part of them is that the story of the travel is barely explained, like in a normal music clip.

–   A couple of suggestions for lonely travellers ….

I have understood in these years that what can make the difference in your travel are the unexpected things. If in a travel everything goes right it will not be a good one. It means that you did not exit from the “usual tourist routes”. I enjoyed a lot the travel where something went wrong (i.e. getting stucked in the desert, broken the car in the middle of the countryside, get lost in the slums etc.). This allowed me to get in touch with locals in a way that would not have been otherwise possible. That’s the reason why I try to get myself in little troubles. In my last trip I have been motorcycling in Vietnam. Note that I never drove a motorbike (and neither a scooter) in my life before. We get lost in the traffic of Saigon, I lost the silencer (and I had to buy it back from the locals), we drove in the mountains with no lights etc. Ok, maybe this is not a suggestion that I recommend to everyone, but hope you understand the rationale. The other things that I learnt is that the funny is to organize everything on my own. Do not rely on travel agencies. They will probably plan a better travel than what you can do (more efficient timing, better hotels, better commuting, etc.) but at the end of the day if you are guided by a guide you feel to have seen the country as from behind a screen. I prefer to see half of the things a place has to offer but to conquer these things with my own, with no travel agencies in the middle. It’s much more fun and personal reward

Enjoy your watching at http://www.guglielmobiason.webs.com/

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My trip to Kerala (part 2): Alleppey e Munnar

kerala-travel-mapFrom Kovalam,  I went straight to Alleppey (aka Alapphuza), the main hub for cruising the Backwaters. Backwaters are one of the main reasons for visiting Kerala, and they are a network of hundreds of waterways, in a uncontaminated natural landscape. Here life is all along the waterways.

The houseboats, called Kettuvalloms, are made by wood and palm leaves, but they include any amenities!

I was so excited by the chance of spending two days in a silent, quiet place.

As you know, reality is always better and better than fantasy.

I experienced the slow flowing along the waterways, discovering small villages, fishermen, rice fields, unknown churches and temples, children. In one word: life. Life in a place without time.backwaters11

At the sunset, I left my houseboat, and sailed on a canoe with a local fisherman. I saw a small temple in the middle of a rice field: I was astonished by the candles’ light contrasting with the sunset’s colours. A unique atmosphere of serenity.

The day after, early in the morning, I witnessed the awakening: just the normal life in an unusual (to me) context…

From sea to mountain: Munnar.

If you visit Kerala, you can’t miss tea plantations and the beautiful landscapes of Munnar area.

Munnar is set at an altitude of 6000 ft (1600 mt), and it is a mix of valleys, mountains, forests, tea and spices plantations.

The small town is full of spices and tea shops, and vegetable markets.

Moreover, Munnar is surprisingly characterized by many icons of Communist Party. On the other hand, all tea plantations have been taken over by the Tata Tea Company (the same owner as car company!)

tea-pickerAs for other places, also in Munnar there are many contradictions. Behind this peaceful place, there is the hard life of tea pickers.

Most of them are women and they earn around 110 rupees per day (less than 2 euros!) if they harvest 20 kilos of tea leaves. Look at a tea leaf and try to imagine 20 kilos of tea …

However, hiking through tea plantations is a great experience for eyes and feelings!

And after a pleasant walk, is there anything better than … a cup of tea?

Next stop … Kochi! Stay tuned!tea-plantations

My trip to Kerala (part 1)

Kerala. This word means ‘Coconuts land’. And if you visit this area, you can easily understand why.

This was not my first trip to India, so I didn’t think that this Country could surprise me anymore. But India is like a million pieces puzzle, and everytime you find something you didn’t know.

 As you know, my trip started from Mumbai (read my previous post) where I spent a whole day. Then I flew to Trivandrum. My plan was to reach the deep south of India (Tamil Nadu), then come to North all along the coast, go inside to see tea plantations, and at the end have a rest and ayurvedic treatments in Varkala.

After some hours by bus we reached Cape Comorin or Kanyakumari, the southest Indian town. On the way to Cape Comorine, you can’t miss Sichundram Temple.sichundram

It’s a lovely place where continent and Ocean meet, it is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in India!

I experienced the trip by boat to reach the Vivekanda Rock Memorial, with hundreds of Indians, queuing to visit this sacred monument. There were just few foreigners, and the atmosphere was so joyful!Vivekanda Rock Memorial

 

But the real new experience was … the hotel! In the hall, there were so many people coming and going. But no foreigners at all. It seemed to be in a marketplace … I had a room at third floor; stark but clean. The surprise was when I went down: the first floor was like a railway station at night. Women, men, children laid down or seated on the floor, eating, shouting, smiling… or … just living. I immediately associated that image at a social class representation: for each floor there were different standards of life.

At the beginning, I felt a little bit uncomfortable in that situation, unprotected. Then I realized I was living a unique Indian experience  … so far from European standards, and my mental schemas!

 From Cape Comorin to Kovalam.

waiting-for-the-fishermenSmall towns, green countryside, sea, coconuts tree, tuk-tuk, crazy drivers: there are all the things you can meet along the way to Kovalam.

Kovalam is a nice, quiet beach, very famous for yoga classes and ayurvedic treatments. A place to relax after the crowded Cape Comorin!

At sunset, you can spend some time on the beach, looking at fishermen with their boats and all the families waiting for them.

In the evening I enjoyed my dinner in one of the small restaurants: they all show their fishes and you can choose the one you prefer! Delicious flavours of fish and curry cooked in tandoori oven… 

Feelings from Mumbai

 

Gateway of India

Gateway of India - ph. by N. Staccioli

Hi All!
I’m really thankful to all the people that contributed and partecipated to my blog in this period, as they kept it alive!
As you know, I was visiting Kerala, south western India.
I’ll tell you about this trip, but I need a little time to think about it. After India, and back to Rome, I always need silence.
Silence to think about differences, to better remember feelings, people, images.
In this post, I only want to tell you something about Mumbai. I was there less than three weeks after terroristic attacks.
At the beginning, I was frightened by the idea of visiting crowded places. Then I thought that terrorism can’t win. So I visited the Gateway of India, when I met hundreds of people, most of them Indian citizens.
I immediately realized that the many Indian souls can’t be destroyed by a a bomb.
Just few international newspapers told us about the strong reaction and demonstrations the days after attacks .
Mumbai was hurted, but still alive.
This was the beginning of my trip … I invite you to look at the picture, and tell us about your thoughts and feelings…