Archive for December 20th, 2005

Dowbrigade Video from Peru


Time flows at a different pace at over 13,000 feet above sea level. We deep-sixed our wristwatch the day after arriving, and after a couple of days glancing at our naked wrist, we are back to solar time.

Most days, we take the dog, a Siberian husky named Wolfie, for a walk. He leads us down assorted paths, along rivers, over irrigation canals, past Hobbit-like homes and hovels, around fields and streams, and inevitably back to the Villa Maria.

We remember wandering these paths and trails as a youth, without at dog, getting lost on purpose, throwing stones at barking dogs, following the river looking for San Pedro cactus. Nowadays, we feel more confident with Wolfie at our side, both because he knows the way home and because his presence provides a certain degree of security.

In the afternoon we walk the mile-and-a-half down the mountain to town, to buy supplies, visit civilization, and use the Internet. It is a narrow but weather-proof dirt track, furrowed by pickups and taxis winding up towards the villages and isolated farmhouses further up the mountainside.

As one descends, there is a clear demarcation between the Town and the Country. Up by Joe’s place, on the small paths we walk in the mornings, and even on the upper reaches of the main road, the people all say hello to each other as they pass, even people they have never seen before. At least, “Buenos dias”. As one nears town, however, this charming politeness evaporates before the hard veneer of civilization. People pass each other in town, on the plaza, with no more mutual recognition than commuters at Park Street Station.

This morning, as we neared the invisible border of Civilization, we decided to try adding a decidedly non-Andean sound track. We whipped out our I-pod on which we had loaded a couple of playlists earlier that morning. Sometimes, we like creating playlists almost at random, soon after awakening, in a semi-sonambulent daze, like a Rorshack test of the day, choosing almost a random, but not quite, and setting the mood for the day to come. Only hours later, firing up the playlist, do we get a chance to consider and analyze what message there is in our choices.

Today’s set started with some Van Morrison, a nice mood-setter as we wound closer to town. Then, we recognized the opening strains of U2’s “Streets with no name”. The volume and the brilliance built and as Edge’s distinctive ringing guitar chords began to sing out like some giant silver bell. Suddenly, what did we see coming at us up the Carhuazian street but a municipal garbage truck (oh fly-festooned harbringer of Civilization) rocking and swaying up the cobblestoned street. On top was a grinning garbageman, in a grimy grey jumpsuit, ringing a giant bronze cowbell PERFECTLY IN TIME TO THE MUSIC. We knew it was going to be a good day.

Linked to this posting is an initial essay in VideoBlogging from Dowbrigade South. It was shot on our tiny Nikon 7900, which also took the flower shot above, transferred to the Mac Mini we brought down for Joey, cut and mixed, voiceover added from a handheld mp3 player as the Mini has no mic. Then we transferred it to a CD-RW, took it down the mountain to a 56k (on a good day) Cybercafe, and uploaded it to the Berkman server. We know it is crude, poorly mixed, badly shot, ill-lighted and too long, but it might be worth a look for anyone curious about what the Peruvian Andes or the Dowbrigade and his son look like these days. Since we are including it as an ENCLOSURE with this posting, any of you who aggregate video can subscribe to our RSS and theoretically get the videos that way. We hope it works, since we are kinda new at this stuff, decidedly analog, and an old fogey to boot. Hey Steve, now that we are using enclosures, does that make us a real Vblogger? Stay tuned….

Here is a link directly to the Video