The Sundial Edmonton Film Production http://www.thesundial.ca Una Vez Por La Vida

It's hard to believe that this tour was 2 and a half years ago. Since then, we have been working with the people we met across Cuba, but specifically Sancti Spiritus to further the cause of rock n roll in Cuba. Our latest tour happened in January 2010, as Edmonton rock n roll stalwarts SLATES ripped the shit out of Cuba for 2 weeks. We just wanna say thanks to everyone in Cuba for making this as amazing as it has been.

See you at the next show!

 SOLIDARITYROCK.COM

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=78 ip tba
Rocking in Solidarity: Calgary and Sancti Spiritus The first day of this mounth we made a great concert here in Sancti Spiritus Cuba, using all the gear you guys had get for us to keep on making more music and art. The concert was so good and all the bands played so well. The people there they were just happy to se things getting better. Thats awesome. All mambers of bands after the concert were talking about making another concert soon this mounth, so I talked them about the concert you guys were gonna have this Saturday 15 as a foundraiser show for Cuban Rock and Roll and everyones eyes brighted and they were like, hey thats the day, nothing else to talk about its going to be so awesome be playing the same day and at the time they are gonna be doing this for us there at Calgary. Its going to be. Tommorrow Saturday 15 we are gonna be playing almos at the same time you are gonna be doing it there in Calgary. So its gonna be Sancti Spiritus and Calgary, two cities playing one concert fro the same reason.
We invited another band from a province call Ciego de Avila is really near our province so its going to be five bands bands here playing this show for solidarity.
We are gonna recorded in video and audio, we will be passing it from hand to hand so that everyone in the island get to know what we are doing here and all this is ging to be because of you. Thanks to you, without the help of everone of you this just would no be possible.
So thank you.

William Garcia
http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=74 ip tba
Calgary was a blast and listen to CBC 3

Hey Everyone. We had a great time this weekend in Calgary playing at the Palomino. I can't say enough great things about the bands who played that night and the fine folks who came out to support the show. We were holding a joint concert in Calgary, Alberta and Sancti Spiritus, Cuba; one show in two countries for one reason. Jenny, SLATES and the Falklands represented Alberta in style, and the 20 people from Edmonton helped push the party over the edge. So thanks to everyone for partying like you meant it.

We'll have some photos and video from the evening for you coming soon.

Also, good news. We'll (probably) be on CBC Radio 3 tomorrow, Tuesday August 18 at 1:00PM Mountain time (noon in vancouver, 3 in Toronto, everyone else has to look it up). Tune in to CBC 3 via airwaves, or listen in on the internet if you prefer. Check out radio3.cbc.ca.


http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=75 ip tba
Solidarity Rock returns! I'm very pleased to announce that our latest Solidarity Rock trip to Cuba was a smash success. Not only did we deliver instruments and other necessary implements to the hands of amazing musicians, we had a chance to share our experiences and bridge the gap between two worlds.

After being dogged by Mexican customs agents, we landed in Havana, Cuba on June 24. It seemed like we were walking into a bad horror outbreak movie. Everyone working in the airport was wearing surgical masks and asking if we had the flu. We showed the immigration officers our cultural visas, were processed relatively easily and made it out to meet William Garcia from Sancti Spiritus along the with the international relations director for the Cuban Association Hermanos Saiz, the national agency facilitating youth culture in Cuba. We stopped by their national office, said hello and got some letters to show the cops if we ever got into trouble.

We hopped in to a 57 Chevy and drove to Santa Clara, the city which saw the decisive victory in the revolution, after Che bulldozed some train tracks and threw some molotovs. There, we met William Fabian and Eskoria, Cuba's oldest punk rock band. This guy is the OG in Cuba. We gave Eskoria a guitar which had been donated by a musician from Edmonton (a beautiful Les Paul copy), some new strings, new snare head, drum sticks and a bunch of other stuff.

The next day, there was a party in the street presided over by a suspicious security guard wearing a t-shirt that just said WET BEAVER. Michael Jackson died. All anyone could talk about that night was Michael Yackson.

We made it back to our Cuban home in Sancti Spiritus the next day. We hung out with Gatillo, ACR, Limalla and Al Strike, recording jams and doing a couple of interviews. We brought some new hi hats and crash cymbals for the bands. Hearing them jam with the old ones, I was amazed that anyone would be able to use such old beat up pieces of metal. One of the ride cymbals was shredded and had been used as a painter's pallet before returning to service in a rock band. The new cymbals made everything brighten up so much, it was immediately apparent on everyone's faces. Big smiles all around the room.

Sancti Spiritus is full of amazing artists of every kind. We hung out with musicians, painters, poets, puppeteers, theatre directors and any other kind of creative person you could ever think of. It was a truly energizing and inspiring time and place. Aaron and I did a radio interview with Radio Vitral, I screened Una Vez Por La Vida and gave an artist's talk at the Union of Artists and Writers and did so much more.

On July 4th, we made our way to Trinidad for a big punk rock show with bands from 4 different cities in Central Cuba. About 25 people from Sancti Spiritus piled on to an old Russian bus and drove an hour and a half south to the old salve port. Arrabio, Eskoria and Acupunctura played the show. ACR couldn't play because their bass player Carlos had an intense fever and slept through the entire show. We had a bass to trade with Damiel of Arrabio, and he was very stoked to get an instrument that plays so well. His old bass is going to be given to a band with worse or no gear, and as we can, we'll get more parts in so they can fix up and maintain the old ones they've got.

A day at the beach was defiantly a wonderful time, and then we made our way to Havana, where everything seems to cost at least twice what it does in the smaller centres. We met with representatives of the Cuban Rock Agency and saw a band practicing at a new theatre built specifically for rock and roll called Maxim Rock.

We'll be working hard on photos, music and videos, as well as building out our new website in the very very near future. We've also got some benefit shows outside of Edmonton lined up.

Thanks for all your support; the difference we are helping to make in these towns is amazing.
http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=73 ip tba
We're going to Cuba!

Hey everyone! We're heading back to Cuba for 2 weeks of sunshine, music and good times. Through our fundraising and donations, we've collected guitars, drum cymbals, strings, sticks, a digital audio recorder and much more. We'll be distributing the gear to dudes who play without. Thanks to everyone who has helped get us to this point, we're going in your names. You're the best.

Drew McIntosh

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=72 ip tba
Una Vez Por La vida at Calgary's Sled Island festival

Una Vez Por La Vida has been selected to run at Calgary's Sled Island festival. Sled Island is one of the biggest and best music festivals in Canada, if not the world. This year it features bands such as The Bronx, Obits, Final Fantasy, Andrew WK, The Breeders and Library Voices.

Check is all out here at Sled Island Festival.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=71 ip tba
Up North - World Premiere

 


Up North - Trailer from The Sundial on Vimeo.

 

 

Up North - Conversations on the impacts of change
A film by The Sundial
World Premiere - March 22, 2009
Stanley A Milner Library Theater
Edmonton, Alberta
$12 at the door.

Our environment and culture have been linked to our evolution since the dawn of civilization. Currently that linkage appears to be having an increasingly evident impact on our ecology and environment with little change in global culture. This dissonance is exaggerated most intensely in the delicate environments at the extremes of our culture. Northern Canada is one of these environs.

In the summer of 2007, three adventurers set out on a journey across the Arctic Circle, searching for the story of the land, told through the experience of its residents.

Their 8500 KM adventure began in Edmonton, Alberta, four hours south of the largest proposed industrial project in history, the Athabasca Oilsands. Traveling through the Yukon and the ghosts of booming gold rush towns, they arrived in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, at the end of the 750 KM gravel Dempster Highway, 200 KM north of the Arctic Circle.

Through conversations with First Nations Chiefs, Elders, standup comedians, artists, dancers and mountaineers, Up North takes you on a journey of discovery. Set against the stunning beauty of North America's last wilderness, it accesses an alternate history of Canada's north, told through the wisdom of experience.

Up North

A film by The Sundial

Produced by
Drew McIntosh
Aaron Bocanegra
Robert Lutener

Original Score by
James Stewart

Motion Graphics by
Dion Coursen
Aaron Bocanegra

Graphic Design by
Justin LaFontaine

thesundial.ca
upnorthmovie.com (coming soon)

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=70 ip tba
Up North - World Premiere Up North - Conversations on the impacts of change
A film by The Sundial
World Premiere - March 22, 2009
Stanley A Milner Library Theater
Edmonton, Alberta
$12 at the door.

Our environment and culture have been linked to our evolution since the dawn of civilization. Currently that linkage appears to be having an increasingly evident impact on our ecology and environment with little change in global culture. This dissonance is exaggerated most intensely in the delicate environments at the extremes of our culture. Northern Canada is one of these environs.

In the summer of 2007, three adventurers set out on a journey across the Arctic Circle, searching for the story of the land, told through the experience of its residents.

Their 8500 KM adventure began in Edmonton, Alberta, four hours south of the largest proposed industrial project in history, the Athabasca Oilsands. Traveling through the Yukon and the ghosts of booming gold rush towns, they arrived in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, at the end of the 750 KM gravel Dempster Highway, 200 KM north of the Arctic Circle.

Through conversations with First Nations Chiefs, Elders, standup comedians, artists, dancers and mountaineers, Up North takes you on a journey of discovery. Set against the stunning beauty of North America's last wilderness, it accesses an alternate history of Canada's north, told through the wisdom of experience.

Up North

A film by The Sundial

Produced by
Drew McIntosh
Aaron Bocanegra
Robert Lutener

Original Score by
James Stewart

Motion Graphics by
Dion Coursen
Aaron Bocanegra

Graphic Design by
Justin LaFontaine

thesundial.ca
upnorthmovie.com (coming soon)
http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=69 ip tba
7and7is... Una Vez Por La Vida - World Premiere

A Film by The Sundial

7and7is Una Vez Por La Vida - World Premiere

Screening_banner

Stanley A Milner Library Theater
7 Sir Winston Churchill Square -
Access through the LRT pedway

Doors at 7:15
Show at 8:00

n the 1960’s, the Cuban government banned Rock and Roll music as a corrupting foreign influence. Bands and musicians played their music underground. Beatles LP’s were traded illegally at high prices in portside black markets. Being in a rock band was actually a dangerous thing. Times changed, and so did Fidel Castro. The Cuban President had a change of heart regarding the Beatles and John Lennon in particular. In the 90’s, he erected a statue of Lennon in a Havana park, which he renamed after the murdered singer. Since then, a slow trickle of foreign rock bands has played concerts in Havana. Artists like the Manic Street Preachers, Diana Ross, Audioslave, among others, have made the journey.

Big rock shows are one thing. But what no one had ever done was tour the country, especially not a working class, do-it-yourself rock band. That is, until December 2007, when 7and7is, an indie rock band from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada became the first foreign rock band to tour Cuba. They played 7 shows in 5 cities and made a footnote in Rock and Roll history.

7and7is played a wide range of shows, from a John Lennon memorial concert for thousands of people in Cienfuegos, to a huge festival stage for 10 people in Havana. They saw Cuban countryside, art shows, museums and metal clubs.

7and7is... Una Vez Por La Vida takes you on the first diy rock tour through this socialist country, an experience few have ever even considered. 

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=68 ip tba
Solidarity Rock So, we've returned from our Solidarity Rock run across the beautiful country of Cuba.


Here's the story. We flew to Holguin, on the eastern part of the country. The Association Hermanos Saiz (the national youth culture organization) had written to the customs agents letting them know of our arrival. About an hour after our plane left, our friend emailed us with a warning not to tell anyone the stuff was to be donated. I didn't get that email.

They were searching everything and I had to open a guitar case. The tab on the lock was bent and when I managed to get it open, I sliced my finger and started bleeding everywhere.

So, basically, they held everything at the airport, and now it's being rescued through official channels. It seems the people in Havana want this stuff to get where it's heading even more than any of us do.

The plan was to head to Sancti Spiritus as soon as we arrived. Our friends were coming to pick us up, and they were late. In fact, had they been on time, everything would have likely worked out seamlessly. When the car showed up, we realized they were late because our friend Fernu had a kidney infection and they were stopping in every town with a hospital for the past 8 hours to get him a shot in his ass for the pain. The doctor came and gave him a shot in the back seat (literally).

We spent the night in Holguin and met up with our friends Erica and Seve the next day. We drove across the country in a 1955 Ford sedan, blowing through Police checkpoints, finally running out of gas 2 blocks from our friends' house where we were to have dinner.

Without the gear we brought, our plans came to a bit of a standstill. We spent the week meeting musicians and artists and having too much fun.

Seve tattooed some dudes and plans to return to leave his mark in Cuba.

We ordered 1000 custom made guitar picks, hoping to sell some at the fundraiser show in Edmonton and give some out in Cuba. They finally arrived half an hour before the post office closed the day before we left. I took half of them to Cuba, along with about 300 Solidarity Rock and Rock Solidario pins. They are being distributed to musicians in Sancti Spiritus, Santa Clara and Havana. Musicians in Canada and Cuba are playing with the promise of friendship and solidarity.

Our message has been well recieved.

I got some interesting footage and will be working with it over Christmas time.

Thank you to everyone for your support, this is an action which will bring great results.

Coming soon, Cuban band footage!
Check back often.

7and7is... Una Vez Por La Vida site
http://www.7and7isincuba.com

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=67 ip tba
Solidarity Rock So, we've returned from our Solidarity Rock run across the beautiful country of Cuba.

Here's the story. We flew to Holguin, on the eastern part of the country. The Association Hermanos Saiz (the national youth culture organization) had written to the customs agents letting them know of our arrival. About an hour after our plane left, our friend emailed us with a warning not to tell anyone the stuff was to be donated. I didn't get that email.

They were searching everything and I had to open a guitar case. The tab on the lock was bent and when I managed to get it open, I sliced my finger and started bleeding everywhere.

So, basically, they held everything at the airport, and now it's being rescued through official channels. It seems the people in Havana want this stuff to get where it's heading even more than any of us do.

The plan was to head to Sancti Spiritus as soon as we arrived. Our friends were coming to pick us up, and they were late. In fact, had they been on time, everything would have likely worked out seamlessly. When the car showed up, we realized they were late because our friend Fernu had a kidney infection and they were stopping in every town with a hospital for the past 8 hours to get him a shot in his ass for the pain. The doctor came and gave him a shot in the back seat (literally).

We spent the night in Holguin and met up with our friends Erica and Seve the next day. We drove across the country in a 1955 Ford sedan, blowing through Police checkpoints, finally running out of gas 2 blocks from our friends' house where we were to have dinner.

Without the gear we brought, our plans came to a bit of a standstill. We spent the week meeting musicians and artists and having too much fun.

Seve tattooed some dudes and plans to return to leave his mark in Cuba.

We ordered 1000 custom made guitar picks, hoping to sell some at the fundraiser show in Edmonton and give some out in Cuba. They finally arrived half an hour before the post office closed the day before we left. I took half of them to Cuba, along with about 300 Solidarity Rock and Rock Solidario pins. They are being distributed to musicians in Sancti Spiritus, Santa Clara and Havana. Musicians in Canada and Cuba are playing with the promise of friendship and solidarity.

Our message has been well recieved.

I got some interesting footage and will be working with it over Christmas time.

Thank you to everyone for your support, this is an action which will bring great results.

Coming soon, Cuban band footage!
Check back often.

7and7is... Una Vez Por La Vida site
http://www.7and7isincuba.com
http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=66 ip tba
Update!

The Sundial's Up North documentary is weeks away from being finished. We're making big plans for screenings in our home towns and beyond. 

7and7is... Una Vez Por La Vida is also nearing completion, it's a great feeling and I'm sure you'll love it.

We've been working with our friends in Cuban rock bands since returning home from the 7and7is tour, and have some great news!

More Solidarity Rock! And We're going back to Cuba!

SOLIDARITY ROCK

Celebrate a night of bands, beers and bros, as the second Solidarity Rock show destroys New City Likwid Lounge.

THE GET DOWN
COFFIN SHIPS
SEAN FOSTER


$10 @ the door
18+

On Wednesday, Dec 10, Drew McIntosh, Sean Foster, Erica Spink D'Souza and Severino Estevez will be heading to Cuba to deliver a recording kit and Solidarity in the name of Rock and Roll. All money raised at the show will make it to Cuba within a week.

Bands, bring us your cd's and we will give them out in Cuba. We will also be accepting donations of new or used guitar strings, straps, picks and drumsticks.

Make your drunken Friday count for something.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=65 ip tba
Viva la Solidaridad
On July 5th, we hosted an evening of music and solidarity for our friends in Cuban rock bands. The goal was to purchase a laptop, recording interface and a combo amp to send to Cuba this summer to help get Cuban bands recording and producing music. We raised just about $700 and purchased a laptop for a steal of a deal, which will be just perfect. Thank you to all the bands who played, the fans who paid and the lovely ladies who run the ARTery for being so great. We've got more on the cook, we're on track to make our goal this summer.

Our website at 7and7isincuba.com is up, and you should look at it.

We're in the final steps with our Up North documentary. That's awesome. The rough cut from our Cuba adventure is nearing solid form. Rock and Roll history is being written at this very moment. Expect more big news through the summer and into the fall!
http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=64 ip tba
Solidarity Rock, Websites and Videos

The Sundial recently launched a new website, which is the home of the Una Vez Por La Vida project, documenting Edmonton Indie Rock band 7and7is' December 2007 rock tour across Cuba. They are the first foreign rock band to tour the country. 7and7isincuba.com

The Sundial is extremely pleased to annouce an amazing night of music and solidarity for our Cuban musican friends at the Artery (9535-Jasper Ave), Saturday July 5th.

Mark Birtles Project
7and7is
Bayonets!!
40 theives

$10
18+

ALL PROCEEDS will go to delivering recording techology to our friends in Sancti Spiritus, so they can begin to document the punk/rock movement that is spreading across Cuba. Poster coming soon.

Facebook event page

Join our Facebook group and stay up to date.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=63 ip tba
Solidarity Rock

The Sundial is extremely pleased to annouce an amazing night of music and solidarity for our Cuban musican friends at the Artery (9535-Jasper Ave), Saturday July 5th.

Mark Birtles Project
7and7is
40 theives

$10
18+

ALL PROCEEDS will go to delivering recording techology to our friends in Sancti Spiritus, so they can begin to document the punk/rock movement that is spreading across Cuba. Poster coming soon.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=62 ip tba
Cuba videos now posted!

We're pleased to announce the launch of our new web site 7and7isincuba.com. This is the official home of the Una Vez Por La Vida project, and will have news about the film, videos and photos.

On the webpage are three new videos, which feature live footage from the shows in Cuba. They are hosted on vimeo.com and can be viewed in HD from their site. Please check them out

Expect more in the near future.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=61 ip tba
The situation

I am currently in Vancouver, BC, enjoying the clouds, cafes and waterfront. This past week, Rob and I went to Los Angeles to view the rough cut of Up North that Aaron has been editing into something we are all proud of. The colours are beautiful, the scenery amazing. I think I forgot how wonderful it is up there.

I am going to be spending the month of May editing full time to get the Cuba film together. We are all excited to see the project moving through the paces.

I am also going to be completing a series of short videos for both films to be launched on project websites, coming soon.

I hope to have some more news soon, so watch for a lot of new content coming down the pipe.

Thanks, Drew

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=60 ip tba
Updates!

The Sundial is tireless. Drew is working hard on the early stages of post production for our latest project, 7and7is - Una Vez Por La Vida.

In December 2007, Drew and local designer/audio engineer/photographer Bryan Kulba captured the first ever rock and roll band to tour Cuba; their friends 7and7is. What 7and7is managed to do is amazing. They are the first DIY band to play their music in Cuba. We captured it. Expect video and photos in the near future.
Release: Summer 2008.

In July and August 2007, Drew McIntosh, Aaron Bocanegra and Robert Lutener traveled from Edmonton to Inuvik, NWT to survey first hand the social and cultural effects of economic and environmental change in Canada's fragile north. Aaron is currently editing the piece in Los Angeles.
Release: Summer 2008.

In the Summer of 2006, Drew McIntosh traveled to Peru with photographer Shaun Goudie and friend Ed Chu to capture adventure and excitement for a mixed medium documentary piece. Plans are underway for a screening party coming SOON.

The Sundial now has a facebook group you can join to keep updated with photos, videos and more.

Join The Sundial's facebook group.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=56 ip tba
Welcome to 2008!

Christmas and New Years are now over, it's time to breathe deeply and head into the second half of winter.

2007 was without a doubt the most amazing year of my life, and I will always remember it as such. In the Yukon, I encountered Dawson City, the sourtoe cocktail, cowboy bars, unending scenery, the dempster, the Arctic circle, glaciers and the will to power.

Cuba was amazing. Life there is a challenge, and nothing could more clearly spell that out than documenting the first foreign rock band to tour the country. I can't even begin to summarize the story at this point, you will have to watch the movie when it is done.

Everything that has been accomplished has been accomplished only because of the support of my friends and partners. I would like to thank Susan Laing, Rob Lutener, Aaron Bocanegra and Bryan Kulba; and to everyone that we met in Canada and Cuba, you've made a place in my heart forever.

Stay tuned in 2008. Not only will you be able to witness the events of the 7 and 7 is tour, but we will be releasing our Up North documentary.

Be safe and successful in 2008. Discover something new this year.

Drew.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=54 ip tba
Cuba Bound!

Here's some exciting news!

The Sundial is about to travel to Cuba to document an event of epic proportions. Edmonton design master/audio engineer Bryan Kulba will be accompanying Drew McIntosh as they documents Edmonton indie rockers 7 and 7 is on tour across Cuba!

To our knowledge, this is the first time a rock band has toured the nation of Cuba. Manic Street Preachers and Audioslave played one offs in Havana, but 7 and 7 is will be hitting 8 cities for 10 shows.

This tour is an act of cultural solidarity between Cuban and Canadian artists and musicians, and it will be amazing.

Here are the dates, stay tuned for video early in the new year.

2/12/07. Sancti Spiritus. Casa del Joven Creador.
4/12/07. Santiago de Cuba. Casa del Joven Creador.
5/12/07. Holguín. Galigari . AHS
6/12/07. Camagüey Jueves. Casa del Joven Creador.
8/12/07. Trinidad. TBA -
9/12/07. Cienfuegos - UNEAC.
12/12/07. La Habana. La Madriguera.
13/12/07. Santa Clara. El Mejunje.
15/12/07. Sancti Spiritus. La Casa de la Música.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=53 ip tba
Here it is

We are back from our Arctic Expedition. We drove almost 8500 KMs, 2200 KMs on gravel roads. We lived, explored and enjoyed each day to the fullest and now we're back in our regular lives, blinking intensely as life moves at a lightening pace.

The documentary is almost in the can. Next week, I will travel to the beautiful town of Fort MacMurray, home of Alberta's coke fuled oil boom. I encourage you to watch the Toxic Alberta series on Vice TV to see just what I'm talking about.

Check out our glacier expedition on Current TV, The internet TV station started by Al Gore.

If you ever decide to venture to the Yukon, here are some tips.

Check out the town of Carcross, Yukon. Watch the First People's Performances group. Don't take the train from Skagway, don't buy expensive jewlery from the white lady and don't buy ice cream.

Whitehorse is boring, don't ever think that's all there is. Get some Growlers from the Yukon Brewing company and head north.

Dawson City is great fun. Spend the first night at Diamond Tooth Girties, then leave when you realize it's not the place you want to be. Have drinks at Bombay Peggy's and then the Pit at the Westminster Hotel.

Drink the Sourtoe Cocktail at the Downtown hotel. I actually willed them my right big toe. Someday, you will remember me.

Best restaurant in Dawson? Klondike Kates. If you're a vegetarian, this is like finding Jesus, except rather than salvation, you get a Nut Burger.

Finally, if you drive all that way and don't go to Atlin, you've missed out.

Drew, Aaron and Rob - The Sundial Up North.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=50 ip tba
Some News

We have returned from the Yukon and have started to organize things a little better. I now have a new computer, which is much sweeter than my old one.

You can find out more about the trip by reading the blogs, watching the videos and checking out the pictures. Thanks to everyone we met on the road, you're the best!

Drew has some sweet projects in the works, a whole lot of editing to finish and some schooling to start. Aaron is installing art shows, riding his motorbike, teaching and handling the Up North project's post production in LA. Rob is getting set to start writing his new comic book.

The Sundial is available to shoot your band's show/corporate meeting/militia training video.

Thank you,
Drew.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=52 ip tba
The Dempster will get you

We have been without internet connection for a while now, but we have not been slowing down. From Dawson City we hit the Dempster Highway and braced for the unknown. The unknown was not that bad.

The road is maintained and the boogie man stories were appreciated since the reality was easy to handle. We traveled at an average speed of 40KMs/hr for two days. The truth about climate change and environmental degredation is easy to see, and anyone who states that it is a falsehood is misinformed.

The North is in trouble. The rivers and creeks are drying. Glacier Creek is dry. Rivers are running blood red as water levels drop and iron becomes concentrated and rusts. Trees are falling from the soil, standing as if drunk in the wind. Permafrost is melting and we have heard stories of water flowing from the ground in January. People who have piloted rivers their entire lives can not predict the currents anymore, because they are changing. This is the truth from the mouths of those impacted.

We crossed the arctic circle and drove to Inuvik. After spending a frustrating half hour searching for a place to buy Rob smokes, we went to the hardware store where they sell them and left town. At the time, we had not found an interview North of the Arctic Circle, and I think we were all a little disappointed by that fact.

When driving the Dempster, there are two ferries that you must cross; one across the Peel and one across the mighty Mackenzie River.The ferry across the Mackenzie crosses at the First Nations community of Tsiigehtchic. We pulled up to the crossing and all looked to the right. We saw a lady standing in front of a trailer with the word "SNACKS" painted on the side. I looked at Rob and said "You want any snacks?" "I could use a snack." was the reply. As we approached, we met Terry, the warmest person in the Arctic. She explained to us that she decided to sell snacks to tourists at the Ferry Crossing to explain to them how her people have lived on the land for generations and as the environment changes, so does their culture. We all smiled inside and let her tell us what she had to say. When we explained what we had driven all that way to hear just that story, she agreed to speak with us on camera. We left the crossing feeling good. We had driven all that way on gravel roads to meet one person and she was waiting for us.

Back in Dawson, we did the things Dawson had taught us to master. We enjoyed ourselves for a few more days and made our way back to Carcross where we are watching 300 with our friends, the First People's Performances group. We're going to leave here and head for some hotsprings in the morning and then we will enjoy the rest of the trip.

Everything has gone well. We did good work. 

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=51 ip tba
We Struck Gold In Dawson

We arrived in Dawson late Sunday evening. We drove the Klondike Highway from Whitehorse in a day. At the end of the drive, we pulled over for a view of the Tintina Trench; the most beautiful place I have ever seen. We were 20 KMs from the Dempster turnoff. 20 KMs from that which we set out to conquer. We drove into Dawson with the Rolling Stones on loud, turned a corner, and stopped. We could see we were in the Yukon now. We were looking at the Downtown Hotel, Diamond Tooth Girties, wood sidewalks and tin roofs; without a hint of irony or kitche.

We hit Diamond Tooth Girties and did it like Dawsonites. The next morning, we woke up on the side of the street feeling weary, tried and dehydrated. It was the trifecta, the perfect three.

We made our way to the offices of the local first nation, the Tr'ondek Hwech'in who showed us ultimate kindness.

When evening hit, we knew we had to do it all. We found the Sourtoe (they put a severed toe in your wiskey, and you pay more for it) and all partook. To be in Dawson is to think like Dawson; money, booze and success. We spent another night at Diamond Tooth Girties watching Can Can dancers and cheering for the piano player. On the way back, we stopped by the Westminster Hotel for a nightcap. The bar is known as the Pit. For the last 100 years, crazy people have been getting abhorently drunk here.

At 8:00 this morning, we got up and walked to the river. We got on a boat and made our way to Moosehide; the Tr'ondek community just outside of town. We attended the gahering of all 14 First Nations in the Yukon Territory. Never in my life have I been made to feel more welcome as an outsider. The people here are warmer than the sun. They don't shake hands. They hug.

We were honoured to meet the Chief of the Vuntut Gwitchen First Nation from Old Crow. We spoke with him, a group of native dancers, recreating and continuing traditions broken by the cruelty of Residential Schools and outside pressures. We heard the native account of the Gold Rush's beginings, told by an elder whose grandparents were in on the first discovery. All in all, this was an unforgettable day.

Tommorow, after finishing our business in Dawson, we will hit the majestic Dempster Highway; the destination which has been calling us for the last 4000 KMs.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=49 ip tba
Heading North

We sit in a landromat in Whitehorse, Yukon. We have been very busy lately and have had very limited time with good wireless connections, but let me tell you all about the trip so far.

After leaving Jasper and drinking in Hyder, we made our way into the unknown; the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. Highway 37 is a rough ride, there are 80 KM stretches of beat up, pitted gravel roads. RV drivers are the economy. We drove all day and finally camped with some broken down hitchhikers.

After making it to whitehorse, we felt good. We had a presentation to give at the Arts Underground and did an interview for a local radio station and a newspaper.

We pointed our van south and headed down the road to Atlin BC, home of 350 of the luckiest people alive. I have never seen a place as beautiful and serene as Atlin. If you have the chance to get there sometime in your life before you die, I would recomend it.

Two days ago, we became the first film crew to document the Llewelyn Glacier. We hiked for four hours through dense brush with a man named Gernot Dick, a 56 year old man, origionally from Austria. We walked in places that no other human has walked, we saw the glacier and learned about how it has changed. We are the only people who will see it this year. It was amazing.

Yesterday on the way back to Whitehorse, we stopped to document the flooding in the town of Carcross. Now, we're waiting to get an oil change and then we're heading to Mayo. Mayo is a place with an unfourtunate distinction; the permafrost is metling faster than anywhere else in the world.

We have had a lot of fun, even though it has been rushed and difficult. So far, everyone is still friends and smiles are in full view. We're happy, we're adventuring, we're doing it the way we want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stewart/Hyder

Well, with a few days of traveling under our belts, we find ourselves in a place we were set to leave this morning with out seeing. Stewart and Hyder are twin towns which straddle the British Columbia/Alaska border at the southern extreme of the state. Hyder is an enclave. A town which fluctuates by seasons with between 50 and 170 residents. This area was rich in Silver and remenants of industries which have long since fizzled remain as curious blights on the pristine landscape.

This morning, we were hoping for good news; letting out a cry of joy when we heard the highway had been reopened to one lane of traffic. We later found out that it was not open, and would likely be closed until at least tomorrow morning at 9 AM. We were slightly upset, because this means we have to re arrange some plans we had made, notably with Gernot Dick, an artist in Atlin BC. But we got everything sorted and went to discover the Salmon Glacier. Had we left this town without experiencing this glacier, we would have been ridiculous fools.

To get to the Glacier, you must cross the unguarded US border, travel through 15 Kms of Alaska before you return to Canadian soil and behold the amazing of it all. We dropped the trailer and made our way up the mountain. I don't think I will ever forget the drive. The stillness, the mist on the steep slopes and the fact that we were discovering a piece of this world for ourselves compacted itself and made it perfectly clear that we were exactly where we were supposed to be. After we got what we came for, we made our way back down the mountain and listened to Mick Jagger telling us "You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need."

The road should be open by 9 AM, then we're off to the Yukon barring any unforseen cataclysms.

 

 

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=47 ip tba
Edmonton to Alaska

We left Edmonton on July 19, heading west to the mountain town of Jasper, AB. After visiting with our friends Trevor and Delaine, we found ourselves at a backyard mountain jam. Life is slow in Jasper and people live together in harmony with the nature that surrounds them.

In the morning, after breakfast we made our way to the Columbia Ice Field; a glacier that has been receeding at a steady pace for the last 100 years. This glacier is the headwater for the entire Athabasca watershed. The Pembina Institute has been studying the entire length of this watershed, traveling by canoe and documenting the health of the water system with alarming results.

We left much later than we expected to and as a result made a decision to change routes in the spirit of adventure and based on a feeling like we just couldn't lose.

We drove west on Highway 16, surveying the flooded communities of Smithers and Kitwanga BC. We took a road called the Scenic route to Cedarvale. Turned out to be a senic route to the Blair Witch project house, and nothing more. A beutiful drive to say the least, but it cost us time.

We headed North on 37 all the way to Mezidian Junction, where we were met by a roadblock. The river has washed out the road, and as of right now, we are unsure how we're going to get to the Yukon. We might have blown a few days with this gamble, but that's living.

We slept in Hyder Alaska last night, and it was awesome. Time to keep going, we've got some adventures to write.

 

 

 

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=46 ip tba
So Long City of Champions

Well, we're leaving. We've got the van half packed, the trailer is waiting for us, and I'm now 28. Happy birthday indeed. Aaron did some editing while I was running around yesterday, and there are videos of the Fundraiser show on Youtube now. I'll post some clips, and wish you the best a hot summer has to offer.

 

 


Frosted Tipz

 

 


7and7is

 

 


Bayonets!!!

 

 


The End Credits

 

 

Thanks to all of our friends, especially Matt Golden, Ted Stafford and Steve Malonik. These guys do good work.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=45 ip tba
We're having lots of fun

Aaron arrived last monday on the 8th. We've been showing him a good time, getting things done and laughing a lot.

This last week we secured a van, hosted a concert, did several interviews, a lot of leg work and had a lot of fun at some parties. We leave first thing in the mid morning on thursday for Jasper. We're going to go cliff jumping, glacier walking, wildlife spotting and hang out with a bunch of good friends.

Bit by bit, our vision is clarified, barriers are being removed and we're set to drive until it ends.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=44 ip tba
National Day of Action for First Nations

June 29, 2007 was the National Day of Action in Canada. A day of solidarity and peaceful protests to raise awareness and bring attention to social justice issues facing our First Nations in Canada.

In Edmonton, the planned activities included a rally at the Provincial Legistalture grounds in support of the Lubicon Lake First Nation.

The Lubicon have been without a treaty since being left out of the negotiotiations for Treaty 8, which was signed on June 21, 1899. Since then, the Lubicon have been without resolution or a reservation.

The band is made up of 500 people living in third world conditions a mere 450 KMs from Edmonton. They live without potable water, electricity or proper municipal infrastructure. Until 1979, the community was self-sufficient, living off the land as their forefathers had taught them. The federal and provincial governments sold exploration rights to their land without consultation and the resulting oilfield activity crushed their ability to live in harmony with nature, as the environment was being irreparably damaged by heavy machines and new roads.

As we leave Edmonton and head north to document the changing social and cultural structures of the North, I have to ask myself why this sort of thing can continue in our backyards.

I believe that the situation faced by the Lubicon is a magnification of the situation we, as Albertans, find ourselves in. Our province seems quite drunk on new pickup trucks, $500,000 condos and unnatural expanses of refineries and strip mines. What are we doing to our home? What are we leaving those who come after us? Alberta's unchecked economic practices are detremental to the health of our communities, our environment and ourselves.

The Lubicon Cree are in a situation that is dire. This must be resolved and the people who can make it happen are not willing to. Despite the fact that this has been news for 30 years, today there is still no solution. Does this fit in with your personal sense of values? Do we live in a place where we accept that our neighbors might lose everything to allow foreign investors to remove our resources?

This shameful act is being perpetrated in your name and mine.

Lubicon.org


Republic of Greedolia skit performed by the friends of the Lubicon
Raj Pannu - Alberta NDP MLA
Cosanna Preston discusses who's oil is blacker, Canada or Nigeria.
http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=43 ip tba
Fundraiser Show!

The Sundial Presents: A Party! A Shaker! A Money Maker!

Friday 13th Poster

Frosted Tipz
GAM
7 and 7 is
BAYONETS!!!
The End Credits

Friday, July 13, 2007
Freemasons' Hall,
10318 100 ave, Edmonton, AB
AA/Licensed
Big Lights, Big Sound, Big Party, Small Room

This is a fundraiser for our Arctic documentary, and it is made possible only by the friendship and support of everyone involved. Thanks pals.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=42 ip tba
Mountain Air

Well, things are coming together nicely. I've got my bags packed, and I'm ready to hit the road. I'm going to Banff for the Banff World Televsion Festival, hopefully it goes well.

While I'm gone, Aaron will be working hard to follow up on some of the leads that have come in. So far, we've heard many interesting stories from a diverse mix of people.

Have a good week.

Drew

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=41 ip tba
Northern Trip Announcement FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Artists Traveling to Document the Impacts of Change In Northern Communities.

Edmonton, AB, May 28, 2007 /
On July 20, 2007, an international group of artists are leaving Edmonton, AB for the Canadian arctic to construct an accurate picture of northern living and the cultural and social impacts of change on these communities for a five part documentary series. Edmonton filmmaker Drew McIntosh and writer Robert Lutener will be joined by photo/video artist Aaron Bocanegra of Los Angeles, CA to spend 24 days on the road, exploring Canada’s last wilderness and engaging the people who live there.

Beginning in Edmonton and heading north-west, they will travel through Peace River, AB Dawson Creek, BC, north from mile 0 of the Alaska Highway and to the Yukon, Inuvik, and NWT via the Dempster Highway. Applications are currently in process to visit Old Crow, YT and the Vuntut Gwitchin first nation. This community has held-off US government plans to drill for oil in Alaska’s protected Arctic Wildlife Refuge, as their traditional lifestyle is reliant on the migrating Porcupine caribou herd.

Climate Change and Global Warming have become heated topics of debate, and with the success of Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth", has come a backlash of criticism and divisive arguing. The focus for this project will be on the people who inhabit the land as it is changing. Rather than a piece on “global warming” or industrial expansion, the project will attempt to get a genuine feel for how the changes, real or perceived, are impacting people's lives.

While on the road, the group will be posting video and photo blogs as well as stories on their web site, thesundial.ca, allowing everyone to share in the journey as it unfolds.

The team expects to see northern communities, glaciers, wildlife, melting permafrost, industrial expansion, and untouched wilderness on their trip north of the Arctic Circle.

About The Sundial

The Sundial is a media production group run by Drew McIntosh, based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The group aims to explore the common things that make us human, experience the reaches of the world, and grow as people and artists. They hope to work with others to create and communicate new ideas and new expressions.
Contact:

The Sundial
Drew McIntosh, Video Artist.
www.thesundial.ca
info@thesundial.ca
780-242-9696
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http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=40 ip tba
Narration Recording

 

We spent the afternoon at Bryan's house today, recording a narration track for the Peru project. That's now done. Bryan will now spend some time working on a music track, which is sure to be a hit.

I am looking forward to completing this journey.

 

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=34 ip tba
Narration Recording

 

We spent the afternoon at Bryan's house today, recording a narration track for the Peru project. That's now done. Bryan will now spend some time working on a music track, which is sure to be a hit.

I am looking forward to completing this journey.

 

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=35 ip tba
Welcome to The Sundial

Welcome to The Sundial. There's a lot going on around here.

My name is Drew McIntosh and I live in Edmonton, Alberta. I'm a video artist who likes to travel, meet new people and see new things.

I like to work with people, and I've been lucky to have a lot of great friends. Check out the partners section to see who does what.

We're planning a couple of big projects for the next year, so things should be beefing up around here soon.

I'm planning on doing regular reviews of independently produced artistic projects. I'm looking for foreward thinking music, print, web, film/video etc. to review. So if you are an artist who would like to submit something, please email me.

Thanks, Drew.

drew(a)thesundial.ca

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=32 ip tba
Oh sweet progress

It's been a long time since the last update, but rest assured, there is more to the story.

Since I got home and started  the long process of editing, I have learned an aweful lot. It's been a great year. I'm almost done this project, and in the next few days, should have some concrete plans for a screening. 

The project is an hour in length, and covers our time in Lima, Huacachina, Cusco, The Sacred Valley, Machu Pichhu and the Amazon Jungle.

I'm really proud of this project and I'm really proud of the fact that I was able to work so closely with Shaun on more or less every step. Having, and keeping good friends is what life is about, I'm convinced.

As things get finnished up, I will continue to update. Next step is recording Narration at Bryan's studio.  

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=33 ip tba
City Of Champions

We landed back in Edmonton on tuesday, July 16th. It’s good to be home. This trip taught me a lot of lessons, and I’m glad to say I’ve managed to continue my life long tradition of learning things the hard way. But I guess that’s how I like it, because I always learn the best lessons.

Nothing went according to plan. I knew this would be the case before I left, because life is just like that. I suffered challenges and setbacks with equipment failing, people being weird, sand eating tapes, my own emotions and fears running wild, and finally, someone at Air Canada opening my bag somewhere between the time I checked it in Lima, and the time I went to claim it in Toronto, and stealing my sunglasses and a bunch of video. This sounds like a wild claim, but it’s true (I guess that’s why they call them tossers).

The security on Air Canada was pretty bad. We were flying a week after all liquids were banned on all flights, and they were checking every third passenger but letting everyone else walk on even if they had bottles full of water clipped to their packs. A about a third of the passengers had bottles visible, and they were permitted to board. So it was not really shocking to find I had lost this footage, but it was the last thing I needed on the way home.
The first entry in this story asked if it really was possible to do what you wanted. I found that yes, it is possible. This realization has really opened the world up to me, and I know that the unexpected challenges on this trip are balanced by lessons for the future. I know that having a positive attitude through all kinds of adversity is the way to make it happen. I learned that people are the way they want to be, and that you must really want something for it to happen. Desire is a powerful thing.

Looking back, the thing that amazes me the most is how normal it all felt. I didn’t feel like anyone other than myself, and the adventures I was taking part in were only an extension of everything I have done in the past. For me to go and do, and observe, and stand with others in solidarity, this was all quite easy. But the reality was that I am living the life I want to live, and it is just deeply satisfying. All we did to get there was make a plan, and not deviate. Now, sure, some of the fine points of the plan fell off the wheels somewhere along the way, but when it did, I was in the city of Cusco, doing what I wanted to do. So that plan diverted, and I made the best of it, and had a great time.

Monday afternoon, we chose to spend our last day paragliding over the cliffs and beaches in Lima. It was awesome. Our hostel arranged everything for us, and for $40USD, we were jumping off of cliffs with an instructor strapped to our backs, pointing to everything below. Perspective is everything. I realized this when I was looking down at the same scene I had starred at before, but suddenly, everything was different. Our vantage point made everything much clearer, much more real. Life is like that too. Sometimes, when you’re existing at one level, you can’t see what you’re doing, or why. But if you remove yourself, and really take a chance to look again, you’ll see what you need to.

So, I set out to accomplish and make something happen, and I will. I will take what I’ve got left for video, and accept the limitations that life has imposed, and follow through. What I will produce will depend on exactly what I’ve got left, and the rest will be sweet memory. The upside is, I will never have to try and slug through a “my first foreign video” experience again. More than a teeth cutting, this was a teeth shattering. The book shall be closed on this soon, and I have high hopes for the finished product, but even higher hopes for the future.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=30 ip tba
Lima Again

We´re back in Lima.  We´re spending our last few daysas best as we can.  The only thing I have to do now, is put my bag on a plane monday night, and come home.

Despite all it´s stresses, this has been an amazing trip.  The successes have far outwieghed anything else, and I feel pretty blessed to be in a place in my life where I can decide to do something, and see it through.   Shaun and I were starring at the grey sky yesterday afternoon, lounging in hammocks, and we talked about everything relating to the trip, the project and our lives.

Shaun pointed to the fact that plans are easily hatched, but few schemes of this scope really come through.  Our plan was hatched over beers in my living room in Edmonton but that´s not where it ended.  It brought us into contact with so many people, from so many places.  We discovered that we can climb mountains, we can swim rivers, and we can share our lives with people whose experience is totally different.  I met an ex-IDF weapons expert who, at the age of 24, is hiding in South America, because home is not peaceful.  He doesn´t want to get called up to go fight.  I gained a bit of understanding into the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a new appreciation for the state of peace that I´ve enjoyed my whole life.  To me, war is something you shake your head at on TV, not something you have to actively hide from.

Our plans didn´t work out in the way I thought they would, but that´s because life is weird and nothing works the way that you think it should.   You try and you succeed or fail based on what you learn and how you grow.  Life is nothing more than what you do, and who you surround yourself with.  I have some patient and loving friends, and that´s the biggest and best lesson I can take away from this.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=29 ip tba
You don´t need anything called ¨the Poor man´s…¨

We got up really early the other day, at 5am, and got into a taxi. The taxi took us to the bus terminal in Ica. Our destination was Pisco, and then Paracas. Pisco is the the name sake of the Peruvian brandy. Pisco the drink is gross, Pisco the city, well, it´s grosser.

They call the Ballesta Islands ¨the poor man´s Galapagos¨, and we were interested in seeing them. The tourist sites on the internet boast about the colonies of Humboldt Penguins, Sea Lions, and Boobies.

What we found out was that if it´s called the Poor man´s anything, you don´t want it. Now, to be totally fair, what we were given is what we paid for, and no one tried to rip us off. It´s just that it sucked.

When we arrived in Pisco, we were shuttled to the office near the plaza where we got on to a bus. The bus made the rounds of nearby hostels, picking up tourists from Belgium, Holland and France. From there, we made our way through the city, past houses in near ruin, past the largest Peruvian Air Force base, and finally pulled up to the docks.

When our boat boarded, we relaxed. We stopped relaxing in short order, as we neared our destination. At this point, I began asking ¨Just how poor is the poor man with his Islands?¨ Turns out, it´s the poor man who drinks on the corner, and pisses himself, due to lack of self control.

The islands themselves, are nothing at all like the Galapagos. Nothing. To begin, they are 4 big rocks, in the middle of the ocean, completly covered in bird Guano. Turns out Guano is the only Quechena word used in the English language. It means, as our guide Pedro put it, ¨How do you say it nicely? Poop. Bird droppings.¨ And by covered, I mean tonnes. They even have a dock, where boats come and remove the material for sale around the world. We went to a shit farm.

There are Penguins, and there are sealions. This is all true. But unfortunatly, there are also strong winds, which blow the stench of the islands to where ever you happen to be. There´s a rock formation called the Mouth, and it´s very realistic. It looks like a mouth with bird droppings around the corners and it smells like a mouth with droppings in it. Not only can you not really get too close for a good glimpse, but the tour lasts about half an hour in total, so it´s super quick. Which, when looking at mountains of poo, doesn´t seem so bad.

So, the afternoon was all about Paracas national reserve. Here, we thought we would see something worth seeing. Turns out that again, we were wrong. The bus took us from the docks outside of Pisco, to an interperative site in Paracas. We were in a parking lot in the desert. Inside, the guide gave a spirited talk on the history and importance of this park, and then we were told we could go watch flamingos. We walked down the path to the lookout tower, climbed it, and looked off into the distance. We saw several tiny pink dots about half a kilometer away. Those were the flamingos. We were going to walk closer, but that would mean being the guys who were walking where they weren´t supposed to in a protected area.

From there, the bus went to ¨The Cathedral,¨a rock formation on the Pacific ocean. This, we were promised was the scenic vista we had waited our whole lives to see. Turns out, it was a cliff, like any other cliff, overlooking an ocean.

We had lunch at an overpriced, yet strangly pictureseque restaurant stop, and finally arrived back in sweet Huacachina. We were exhausted, and all took naps. When we woke up, we continued our now established nightly traditon of chocolate cake and coffee ice cream. I can´t say how much I love this little town we somehow ended up in. Every night, I find myself telling someone new that ¨this really is my dream. For real.¨

So, lessons learned I suppose… if it´s described as something owned by a poor man, let the poor man have it. It´s probably covered in guano.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=28 ip tba
Everything is Full of Sand

We´ve been in Huacachina for almost a week now, and we realize that sadly, our time is running out. I´m pretty sure we´re staying here for the rest of our trip.

We´ve been sandboarding a lot. We´ve conquered the big dune behind our hostel, and today, we went out on a dune buggy trip. It was off the chain. We got in a dune buggy, with a Peruvian driver who yelled a lot. He wore his sand goggles, and when he took them off, we saw that he wore them more or less permenantly. The tan line gave him away.

The buggy left a group of American tourists, clad in American flag t-shirts in a cloud of smoke and dust as we took off and up the dune. The guy sitting next to me was from England, there were Danes sitting in front of me, and the rest of the buggy was full of my friends from Canada, and Israelis from our hostel. It was a truely international sandboarding expedition. We traced a well beaten path for about 15 minutes, before the buggy came to a stop at the top of a series of three ridges. These were the bunny hills.

We raced down, having spent 3 days practicing at the top of the big dune that leaves our hostel in it´s shadow every afternoon. Then we moved on. The buggy raced up the side of large sand dunes and then down steep banks. We felt like we were flying, and then we stopped again, this time at the top of a huge hill. This one, explained the driver is ¨no por los niños.¨ The kiddie hill was behind us now, and we all stepped up to the new challange eagerly. We applied large amounts of wax to our boards, and took off. I got hit by a runaway Israeli on a sandboard, and landed awkwardly on my arm, hurting my shoulder. I shook it off, and kept riding.

All in all, we rode four huge hills, a couple times each, and almost always did it first. One of the Peruvian workers asked us what part of America we were from. Shaun looked at him and said ¨Dude, we´re from Canada.¨

We´ve been trying to buy custom made tracksuits, but the communication barrier is getting us down. Tommorow, we hope to prevail. We have a plan, and it´s a good one.

I´m off to relax.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=27 ip tba
We don't need any more buses, no sir. We left Arequipa last night. It was alright, but really, it was Peruvian subburban living. Nice place with big, nice houses, cops on litterally every corner, and nothing that interesting going on. So, we boarded a bus at 6PM, with little idea of what today would bring. Our tickets were for Ica, two hours south of Lima.

As the bus was boarding, a lady, obviously cranked on cocain, came on to sell us drinks from her backpack. I did not really feel like anything from her backpack, so I just sat there wide eyed, totally unused to middle aged ladies on cocain with backpacks full of homemade drinks trying to make a buck. She got off our bus, and on to the next bus that was leaving. As soon as the bus started moving, another lady stood up, weilding a box of Cañonazo chocolate bars (which are among our least favorite of the local chocolate), and started speaking loudly in Spanish. We tried to figure out what she was saying, but no one could. Then, I recognized the words ¨repent¨and ¨saviour¨and ¨protect¨. So, she was praying for our protection, hoping we would buy some chocolate. She made her rounds of the bus, asking each passenger if they wanted a chocolate.

When we were in Arequipa, we saw their big cathedral. It was amazingly ornate, full of earthly treasure. They had just installed a statue of the second Arch Bishop of Lima with the dates 1606-2006 underneith. Amazing that the people who had told us the stories about Spanish conquest, and the brutal destruction would want a statue of one of the main culprits in their church. But that seems to be how the Catholic church works. As I was standing there puzzling over this situation, Ed reminded me that this is the same church that tells Africa that condoms cause AIDS.

So, at this point, we weren´t interested in buying chocolate to support someone on the basis of a Catholic prayer. We all quickly came up with our stories, and when she showed up with her sub-par chocolate, Ed piped up with ¨Soy Buddhist.¨ And then to reinforce it, he just said ¨Om¨. She turned her attention my way, and I said ¨Soy diabetico.¨ She looked at Shaun, and he said ¨Tomo el Pilldora¨ (it means ¨I´m on the pill¨). We all laughed, and she went back to her spot when she finished the rest of the bus.

This bus was full, and full overnight buses in Peru means kids sleeping in the isles. And also, Ed sleeping in the isles. I couldn´t get comfortable, and watched blankly as most of the Pirates of the Carribean played in spanish. The bus stopped at what I guess is like the A&W in Red Deer, the place that all the buses stop to let you use the washroom and stretch your legs. I looked curiously out the window and read ¨100% Leche.¨

So, realizing that I was where I was probably for the only time in my life, I got up, and went to line up for a litre of yogourt. The pretty Peruvian girl at the counter explained the procedure (pay first at the cashier, then you get your yogourt) and offered me a free sample of typical Peruvian cheese. I shook my head shyly and politely refused. I kind of wish I had said yes. But either way, I got a litre of mango yogourt and got back on the bus.

The first movie hadn´t quite finished playing, but they had stopped it, and no one really seemed to mind when they put the second one on. It was a Russian bootleg of the Davinci Code, translated into Spanish. I explained the premise to Ed, and started to doze. I drifted in and out of sleep and apparently slept through a Customs office raid. They try to nab Peruvians who bring cheap goods from Bolivia and sell them in Peru, hurting the economy.

I slept with my neck crooked against a drafty window. It was not a great sleep, and at 5AM, we were woken up by this guy yelling ¨ICA! ICA! ICA!¨ We looked out the window, and saw we were stopped at a traffic circle in a strange town. We got off, and waited. We tried to get a cab, but they´re all Daewoo Ticos, so if there´s anything in the trunk, like speakers, we can´t fit with our packs. A cabby with room in his trunk for our bags finally showed up after about 10 minutes. We got him to drive us to a town called Huacachina, about five minutes away. We got checked into a hostal, and slept.

When we woke up at 11:00 this morning, we had no idea where we were. We lazily slouched out of our room, finally rested, looking for breakfast. My eyes couldn´t believe what they were seeing. We´re in the middle of a desert Oasis. Really, an Oasis. It´s an old resort, once populated by rich Limenos, but now, it´s a second home for Israeli kids, and backpackers from around the world. The vibe is awesome here. We were planning on making it up the coast in a series of long trips, but I´m pretty confident that we´ll stay here and spend our days riding sandboards on the dunes, and hanging out in hammocks in the sun. There´s a pool and deck on the roof. I don´t need much more than this, and if I get bored, there are wineries nearby and the coast is a half hour away. But it appears that this is where the good times are at, so we´re staying put.

Sometime next week, I´m going to Lima to get a custom made suit and a stack of pirated DVD´s.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=26 ip tba
hard travel days

We spent way too much time in Cusco.  It was a fun place, kind of like Neverland. We saw it all, became regulars at an Israeli restaurant, made friends with the shoe shine kids, learned how to say ¨I said NO THANK YOU,¨ and all in all, really enjoyed ourselves.

But, it was with great relish that we left.  Our hostal was throwing a ¨HUGE PARTY¨, with Peru´s ¨BEST DJs¨, and wow, what a crap party it looked like.  They brought in a massive sound system and some lights.  The lights were poorly hung, literally nailed to the walls, the PA system had bare wires, and ¨Peru´s best DJs¨ play CDs, not records.  So, basically, some club kids showed up with a stereo and some Sean Paul CDs, and that´s the big party.  I think someone´s weird uncle gave them a ¨My First Rave Kit¨ for their birthday.  The party started at 10, and so did our bus out of there.  I find myself at a real disadvantage sometimes because, I think that everywhere in the world party kids wear the same Adidas jackets, and the same hats, cocked to one side, and walk around like they´re totally the boss when they see flashing lights and hear distorted bass.  I´m the weirdo with his headphones on, not paying any attention, and trying to drown out the mediocrity.  But whatever. 

So, we left on a night bus from Cusco to Puno.  Puno is the major Peruvian port on Lake Titticacca.  The bus moves quickly, and the alttitude drops just as quickly.  As we were getting ready for the bus we saw people putting on snow pants, wrapping their bodies in blankets, and preparing for that which we were not prepared for.  The bus was the coldest bus I´ve ever been on. I got up to use the washroom at one point, and everything was dark, and the bathroom window wasn´t there.  I peeded with the cold Peruvian countryside flying past me at over 100 KMH.  Definitely my most memorable.

So, we rolled into the freezing Puno morning and I tore my bag apart looking for any supplemental clothing at the bus station.  We got a cab to the docks, and went to see the floating Uros Islands.  They are a group of man made islands, made of reeds.  They´re basically floating giftshops.  I bit, and bought some nice gifts for my parents and Susie´s dad Bevan.  I over paid, but was more or less happy to do so, since I was dropping the money in the artesans´s hand.  People love haggling, but when you see someone living in poverty, the dollar saved doesn´t seem so great to me.  I´m happy to slightly over pay for everything, because it´s still a pithy fraction of what I would expect to pay at home.

We got the first bus out of Puno because it´s a crumbling town, smelling of urine and tourists.  There´s not much there. 

We took a local bus, rather than a tourist class bus to Arequipa.  It was awesome.  So many weathered old men, so many ladies with colourful sacks on their backs.  This was probably the most Peruvian experience we´ve had. We were the only foreigners on the bus, and the bus was way cheaper than the tourist buses.  We watched Braveheart in Spanish, and then watched the rocky desert go by for a few more hours.

Arequipa is a beautiful city, much less geared to tourism.  The plaza in Arequipa is said to be the nicest in South America.  I can vouch for the fact that it´s the nicest thing I´ve seen here.  The city centre is full of white buildings.  We have little time left, so we plan to spend the next few nights on busses, so we can make it to the beach, for a hammock session that´s a long time coming.  We´ve been staying at a chain of hostels in Peru called the Point.  Lima and Cusco were awesome.  The staff and guests in Arequipa make this place worth leaving ASAP. 

I´ve got a nagging cough, Ed has a nagging stomache problem, and Shaun has a nagging hostel employee problem.  All in all, we´re safe and happy.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=25 ip tba
Amazonian Ladies Ain't so Scary

Well. I can now say I went to the jungle.

We were going to take a trip with our friend, but due to time restraints, we had to go out on our own. We booked a trip with an agency that promised a lot for not that much money. Sometimes, these things work out poorly, and sometimes, they´re fantastic. It´s a crap shoot to say the least. Everyone we´ve met who has had similar experieces can vouch for the fact that down here, it´s not what you pay, it´s who you pay.

So, monday morning, we woke up, packed our bags and waited for our guide. He showed up on time, but reported that there were problems with the van. We left a half hour late, and when the cab pulled up to the van, I could see the problem. It was a hyundai mini van, with no 4×4. But, we all loaded in, and prepared for the best. Our driver´s name was Roofo, and he knew the way.

We drove down paved roads for about 30 minutes, and then it was gravel. These aren´t gravel roads like we have at home, these are narrow stretches carved into the sides of mountains. From Cusco, it´s hot, arrid, deasert-like scenery. Within about 20 minutes, we heard a crash, and saw our food spread out on the dusty road. We got out, repacked it and the rest of the roof rack and were off again. We wound our way through the mountains for a few hours before we stopped for lunch. We were in a colonial outpost. The place was perfectly scenic, and absolutly what I would imagine when I close my eyes and think Andean.

After lunch, we continued to bounce our way through the mountains, until we arrived at the Jungle Frontier town of Pilcapata. This place is like nothing else I´ve ever been able to experience. It´s isolated, lush and beautiful. Before dinner, we walked through it´s market, and bought sandals and personal supplies for our trip.

At dinner, our guide Cesar told us stories about the jungle. He told us about the animals we might see, the plants we should and shouldn´t touch, and a bit of local lore. He is our age and was raised in the jungle, but now lives in Cusco.

When we woke in the morning, we continued our trip. We stopped along the road to visit a small coca leaf plantation. Cesar showed us plants, told us how they´re used and told us about the local cocain production, and the good and bad associated with it. Nothing in this world is black and white.

Again, we continued on our way, and we soon saw everything change from the dusty, arrid country nearer Cusco, to the entrance to Manu National Park. You know you´ve arrived, because everything is shrouded in heavy mist. The plants change almost instantly, and soon, we were in the San Pedro Cloud forrest. The trees are covered in heavy moss, and the forest is alive with Monkeys and colourful birds. We were about 10 feet from a monkey who was feeding and playing in a bamboo tree directly in front of us. I thought this was the jungle, but I was told that it was just the beggining.

We pushed on, and arrived at the river port of Atalaya. We were supposed to drive to a town further up, and then get a boat, but we found that it had rained the night before, and the road was totally washed out. Where we were supposed to be driving, a mighty river rushed by and told us to forget it. Roofo tried to drive his van across, but got it stuck on a gravel bar in the middle of it all. We had to push him out. It´s different than pushing a van stuck in snow (which I have all together too much experience with). After it all, we ended up getting in a boat just up the road, and taking it to the boat that was waiting for us.

Over the next 6 hours, we saw the mountains dissapear, and the Jungle change, swam in natural hot springs (where I fell in the river with my pelican case, hurt my ankle, and thanked providence for pelican cases). Finally, we were informed that we had arrived. I didn´t see anything, but a narrow set of wooden steps. We beached, unloaded and climbed the steps, and saw our lodge. It was just the three of us, our new friend from Toronto, Nell, and our cook and guide. This place had no electricity available for us, only for the kitchen. We got settled in, and then had dinner by candle light.

After dinner, I found out I can walk a half hour into the Amazon at night, before my mind finally kicks in and tells me to get the hell out. After a near panic attack, I found myself resting in our room at the lodge, wondering what I thought I was doing in the middle of the jungle. I found looking into myself that night both challenging and rewarding. I considered everything about who I am, why I´m afraid of the things I´m afraid of, and how I had beaten all the odds that have been stacked in my path. I was in the middle of the Amazon Jungle with my friends, only because I made that choice. That felt great.

That night, Ed and I drank Rum and Inca Cola on the river bank. As we looked up, we saw the stars shining as bright as I´ve ever seen. The milky way was so prevelant, and like nothing I´ve ever seen at home. We accidentally drank all the rum, because we couldn´t see how much we were pouring, due to the fact that it was pitch black. We shared stories from when we were kids. I told everyone that The Three Amigos was one of my favorite movies, because it was the first movie I ever felt completely mesmerized by. I don´t think anyone else really got it.

I woke up the next morning cursing Ed and his stupid Rum, and when the group went on a walk, I opted to sleep. Turns out they didn´t see much, so the nap was the better choice.   It was the best nap I have ever had.  Outside my screened walls, I could hear nothing but birds, insects and other unknown animals conversing. I dreamed about a friend of mine, who once bailed me out without question. I really needed help, and he was the only one I could turn to, and he definatly showed me kindness. I hadnt thought about him for a while, but I dreamed about him in the jungle. I think that his kindness is what started my life on the turn around, and so, in a way, I really owe this experience to him. If you´re reading Braden, thanks. If not, everyone should know Braden Sustrick is a gem of a human being.

Our time passed quickly, and we saw a lot. We saw plants and animals, we learned about nature, and ourselves, and then it was time to leave. We made the return journey in one day, leaving the lodge by boat at 5am. We pushed upstream for 7 endless hours, litterally had to get out and push in some shallow spots, and then we finally saw Roofo sitting on the shore in Atalaya.

We had lunch, and continued. We blew 3 tires, and arrived in Cusco at 10:30. We had bus tickets for Puno, leaving Cusco at 9:30. We missed our bus out, but thankfully, no one had cancelled our reservation at the hostel, so we found ourselves in bed right away.

Today is peruvian independance day, and the town is full of celebrating Peruvians and Gringos. I find it hard, because I don´t really celebrate Canada day, and I feel like I have no place celebrating someone else´s day either, so I´ll observe. We leave tommorow for Puno and Lake Titticaca.

Today is also the halfway mark in our trip. This morning, Shaun and I looked at all his pictures, from the first days in Lima to now. It seems like more than two and a half weeks, and I know the next two and a half will be even more varried. This trip was a great idea. I´m having a blast.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=24 ip tba
At the Top of the Hill

Yesterday was my friend Ed´s birthday. Growing up, the 19th-21st was always special, because my little sister celebrates her birthday on the 21st as well. The last few years have been really fun, because Ed and I always celebrate our birthdays together. This year, we climbed mountains for 6 hours in a town called Pisaq.

Pisaq is a town in the sacred valley of the incas. It is known for it´s ruins and it´s huge market. Ed and I had no hats, and the sun was beating down awefully fierce, so we knew we had to get something. The choices were basically a pile of hats that looked like over grown hackey sacks, leather cowboy hats with ¨Machu Picchu¨ embossed on them, or awesome andean explorer hats. The choice was simple. We bought hats, and Ed looked like an Asian Indiana Jones (it looked great) and my hat was bigger, more like a cowboy hat, but definatly south american. We looked like straight up tourists. But our necks and heads were spared.

We climbed straight up, over ruins left by men of long ago. The masonry, the design and the fact that they´re so high up, and still intact made me feel awe-struck. The biggest puzzle to me was how someone conceived this plan, and how they carried it out. There are about 5 temples, fortresses and living centres up high in these mountains. The rest of the mountains are agricultural terraces.

The climb was tough, to say the least. On my birthday, we were in Aguas Caliente, which is the town below Machu Picchu, and we were waiting for this Hare Krishna restaurant to open. Krishnas feed me everywhere I go in Peru. They´re the best. Anyways, while waiting for this restaurant to open, we were playing on rocks in the Rio Urubamba. When it was time to find a path back to the shore, I slipped and hit my knee, and fell in the river. I spent 3 hours waiting for our delayed train with wet shoes and a sore knee. So, the climbing was painful. I thought about stopping and I tried to take the easy way down, but for some reason, I didn´t. I pressed all the way to the top, because I couldn´t let Ed and Shaun down. When we got to the top, I found myself staring at an ancient sundial. Sun worship was very important to the Incas, this is the spot where their preists figureativly tied the sun to the earth. The moment was absolutly emotional. Here I was, climbing mountains, so far from home, so far from everything I´ve ever crafted, and suddenly, at the very top of the mountain, I found myself staring at the inspiration of men long since gone. I sat there, considering what I was doing on top of a mountain in South America, and I realized I was there to see this sundial. I was there to see that when people put their hearts into things, it turns out beautifully. Standing about 10 feet to the right of the ancient shadow, I saw my own shadow. I felt connected to the sun, connected to this land. I´m such a stranger here, but somehow, I can feel this connection. We cast our shadows, and when we leave, so do they. I´m glad to say, My shadow sat perfectly next to theirs.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=23 ip tba
I turned 27 at Machu Picchu.

I´m very glad to report that not only is everything now going smoother, I found that only a few of those tapes were ruined.  So, I have nothing to feel bad about really. 

We went to Machu PIcchu on July 19.  I got my passport stamped, it now states that I spent my birthday there.  We took a bus and train to get there, and by the time we were there, it was full of people holding their digital cameras away from their faces, straining their necks.  We were standing on the bottom looking up, and all we could see were lines of people on the terraces.  Litterally, from one end to the other.  So shaun and I sat and just talked and contemplated where we were.  We had our feet hanging off the very far bottom egde of the great citadel.  It was awesome. Most of the tourists left by 2:30, so we stayed till the last bus, and loved it all.

Yesterday we went to the Market.  I bought pirated cds, we filmed people putting counterfit stickers on bike frames, spotted all the discrepancies tha tmakes it counterfit, and had a great time.  We finally met our friend Chango yesterday, and on his insitance, we went out to ring in Ed´s birthday.  Ed fell asleep in a bar at 12.  We had been walking and climbing and doing all kinds of things on little sleep, and he just got tired.

We´re going to meet chango at 10, and he´s taking us hiking around Pisac, in the sacred valley.  His friend is friends with the people in an indiginous communitee caled Infierno, on the madre De Dios river.  We´re going early next week, and leaving here by bus, arriving in Puerto Maldonado, an old rubber boom town in the amazon.  From there, it´ll be a 2 day hike to this town.  We´re renting tents and stoves tommorow.  They´re taking us just for coving their expenses, so it´s going to be super cheap and super awesome.

Chango is also going to take us to Isla del Sol on the Bolivian side of Lake titticacca.  This is awesome, because it will not involve tourists, or anyone other than us.  Our other plans are a trip to a set of ruins that´s just been opened to tourists.  It´s almost the same scope as Machu Picchu, but you have to trek in, and it´s still virgin and overgrown.  He said last year they went in July and were the 50th people through that year.  I´m really quite nervous, because it´s hard to do insane things when you kind of know better.  Also, if I come back with this kind of video, then you know, I´ve actually made it.  I´ll have actually done exactly what I said I wanted to, and sometimes, that´s as hard as failing.  Failing is easy, because it´s familiar.  Greatness is a shakey path, and only really recognizable when its done.  So cross your fingers, pray if you pray, think about the times we´ve spent in Edmonton, and hope for the best.  I´ll be doing all those things.  I miss you all extensivly.

I´m out to conquer some crazy stuff.  Hope it works out.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=22 ip tba
Something will always go wrong.

Well, we´ve been in cusco for a few days now. This town is very vibrant. I´ve been spending the days winding my way through narrow streets, cursing my Vans slipon shoes and cobble stone. They make a very unhappy couple. Oh yeah, and getting lost, and never being able to find the same restaurant twice.

We´ve seen monuments built by men long since dead, churches reaching higher and more glorious than I could have ever imagined and evidence of two cultures clashing, leaving one all but dead, and another status quo in the new world. We filmmed the city, we found ourselves caught up in parades we didn´t know were happening, laughed and gave kids 1 sole to take a pictures of them and their pet llamas, and we´ve made new friends from around the world. It´s been a pretty busy few days. This morning, Shaun and I went horseback riding above the city, through ruins as ancient as I´ve ever seen. At that moment, I thought the film would be called ¨The Honkistadors¨. Shaun bought a new tourist hat, so he wouldn´t burn, and he was wearing shorts. It was funny for everyone but him.

This evening, I was having a bad time. I miss my girlfriend, and I miss being able to see myself in light of the circumstances that I have created. I miss feeling like myself. Maybe that´s why you travel, so you can feel like yourself where ever you are. Because really, I like myself, and that doesn´t change with location. I couldn´t get through to Canada on the telephone, and I almost started to cry inside this little plywood booth in some internet cafe. I couldn´t even really communicate with the girl working there, so I just left, feeling pretty down cast. I decided to go home and watch a video I brought of a show my band The Difference played. What I found didn´t make me happier. It turns out that my heads were dirty or something, and basically everything I´ve shot in Peru so far, is not totally there.

I can say that the last 2 hours have been 2 of the hardest I´ve ever sat through. I thought about everything I am here to accomplish, and how much I just want to go home. I feel like I´ve failed before even starting. I have to throw out 10 hours of the best video I´ve ever taken.

But then, I thought it all out, cleaned my camera, and replayed the tapes, and the things that didn’t get recorded properly, weren’t that great anyways. For a few hours of sheer dissapointment, I thought it was all gone. But it’s not, so that’s very nice.

Tommorow, we meet up with Chango. This is the friend I´ve made though my friend Seve. He´s a body peircer who travels south america extensivly. He´s got a friend here from the jungle, and we´re going to start over tommorow. Tommorow, we´re going to meet some of their friends in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The guy from the Jungle is friends with a bunch of shamen. I´ve never met a Shaman in Edmonton, so that´ll be a new thing.

The next week will include Machu Picchu, the sacred valley, and probably leaving for the Jungle. I turn 27 on Wednesday. All I want for my birthday is a hug from susie, but short of that, I´ll settle for a new chance to make something real. You would have really hated the stuff we lost anyway. It was all about buildings and rocks. Nothing that interesting. Me on a raft in the amazon will be worth more. Even if not, well, I know there´s a raft waiting for me. If I give up because of a technical problem, this will have been a really expensive mistake. If I never give up, I´ll make it. I´ve made it this far on my own. And I think you need to do it on your own, or you won´t do it. So, casting all things that hinder aside, I´m going to take another, firmer step. If my camera falls in the river, at least the river will be taking me somewhere special. This film isn´t important, what I do with my life, and how I find rest is.

Don´t bother starting if you´re going to give up.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=21 ip tba
China Town Art Shows Cabbies Dudes on the Beach

Lima is a great city, If you can get past the constant threat of losing your camera. Our first day, we went to the China Town. We didn´t ask anyone about china town before we went, and perhaps we should have. Either way, it was an experience. I don´t think I can accuratly explain just what it was like, but I can say it was exciting. They have a shop for everything, including mascot costumes. Actually, there´s lots of mascot costume places, which makes me wonder what the market for Peruvian mascots is like. This part of lima is pretty crazy though. We walked around the Main municipal market in lima, which is a pretty desperate place. It was a huge contrast to the next night.

We have been staying in hostals called ¨the Point¨. They´re a group run by young guys from the UK who have travelled a lot, and decided that this is where they want to stay. They run a hostal in Barranco, which is Lima´s art district, one in Cusco, and one in Arequipa. They run a tight ship, and we´ve been thrilled by their places so far. Barranco is a word synonymous with ¨Bohemian¨. It´s lima´s art distict, and lucky for us, this is art week. We were walking by the cliffs near our hostal over looking the Pacific, when we saw a crew setting up a stage. I worked for a while as an Audio Visual tech, and a concert promoter and this kind of thing is interesting to me, so we decided to go check it out that night. We were shocked to find the best party ever. The square was packed, music was loud, and distinctly Peruvian.

There was a big crowd pushing in and out of a gorgeous looking colonial style building, and we decided it was a party to crash. I brought my video camera and videoed an amazing art show. There were hundreds of people in this beautiful gallery and everyone was having a great time appreciating expression. The best part about it was that it was totally free. No cover at all. It was a fantastic experience. This kind of event in Edmonton would be a huge deal. We then found another gallery that was showcasing some of the most beautiful handmade furniture and home accessories I´ve ever seen. It was a furniture design gallery, run by a Peruvian man and his italian wife. We did a breif interview, before talking to one of the other designers. They use local hands to produce goods for export, and buy most of their nicest stuff from a Peruvian collective. It was fantastic. Barranco is alive with creativity and passion. It´s where lovers come to fall even more deeply in love. It´s a beautiful place, and quite strange, in the face of such dire poverty, mere kilometers away.

The amazing race taught me a few things. High on that list is the fact that cabbies will almost always try to rip you off. This is most definatly true of lima. A ¨hey amigo, soy no stupido¨seems to make it clear that you know you can ride across town for 5 soles, which is like a buck fifty.

This morning, we woke up with a mission. We decided we needed to fly to Cusco. The city of the Incas. Throwing our itninerary out the window, we hopped on a plane for the incan Capital. This town is insane. It´s like Banff or Vail, or any other mountain town with tourists, but completely ancient. Everywhere you go, there´s coffee shops, which seem to rival the best in paris, Gold everything, the same tourist signs every 20 meters, and the most amazing scenery I´ve ever laid my eyes on. Lima was adventurous, Cusco is dream like. This is our first night, and as I retire, I´m thinking about the possibilities of tommorow. We met an american guy named Aaron, from LA. he teaches masters level filmschool, and has tentativly decided to come with us to the jungle. We´re here so much earlier than we planned, so we can make almost anything happen in cusco. Our friend Chango will be here from lima on monday to help us arrange the best trip possible. He runs a tattoo and peircing shop in Lima, and works with a group in Cusco. We´re going to be heading into the jungle with some friends of his who run an agency. We brought him $500 worth of tattoo and peircing equipment from canada, thanks also to our friend Seve Estevez (who used to live and work here, and hooked us up with his good friends). It really feels good to do kind turns to people who see the world from a perspective that´s just different enough to be palitable. I´m sure we´ll be in good hands when he returns. The city of Incas holds many mysteries, I´m sure. we´ll tell you how it all turns out.

Shaun has posted his first round of pictures from lima and the first evening in cusco on his flicker site. The link can easily be found on the right hand side of this page. I´m thinking of everyone at home and I´m having a blast. cusco is quite cold at night, I´m pretty much freezing, because I´m outside right now.

Love to everyone.
http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=20 ip tba
City of Kings

Well, we´re here. I can say, with no reservation that I will remember my first Hour in Peru for a while. we were met at the airport by our hostal´s driver. i had read warnings about the road from the airport on the internet. There are 2. One is an expressway, the other is not. Lots of drivers don´t want to pay the toll, so they roll the dice. The free road winds through the barrio.
Lucky for us, the ghetto was asleep when we rolled through. As we rode in silence with wide eyes, taking everything in, I knew we were where we needed to be. Our trip to the hostal turned violent as we were appreciating the stillness of the night. driving along the coast, we ran over a cat. I´ve never seen a cat get hit like that, and looking out the rear window, Shaun and i just starred in momentary shock, as we saw the poor thing thrashing. Good thing it got hit by the next car too.

We´re going to meet up with some friends this morning. We´re leaving our cameras locked up until we get a feel for where we are. This is the city of kings, and I actually feel fully alive for the first time in a while.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=19 ip tba
The story begins

Welcome to thesundial.ca. This is the first post, and my name is Drew.
Sundials are fascinating. They represent a continuation through time, and they often survive long past their makers. They represent an eternal searching and curiosity. They point to the constancy of life and natural laws. Year after year, they cast the same shadows and underscore the fact that we are all but temporary observers. We can strive to understand and observe the sun, but we can not control it. The only thing men can control is the shape, and size of the dial. This is how I choose to view my life and creative pursuits. I hope to build a sundial.

This is soon to be the exciting story of three friends who just decided to do something great. We’re going to Peru on Monday, July 10th to make a travel documentary. My travel partners are Shaun Goudie and Ed Chu. Shaun is a professional photographer with an absolute zest for living. He has traveled extensively, and is always looking for opportunity to capture moments in time. Ed is a Political Science graduate, with a background in Journalism. He can meet any person in any place, and become instant friends.

About 2 years ago, I started getting ideas about making travel documentaries. A lot of it started with the often-asked question “hey, why isn’t there a show about us?” I started off with a lot of bad ideas, and over time, those bad ideas have taken shape and now, I’m about to embark on an amazing adventure. I’ve invested everything I have on a dream of being exactly who I want to be. I’m taking a video kit I pieced together on e bay and 100 hours of video tape. Every single spare dollar I’ve had in the last year will be with me in my pack. I’m going to see if it really is possible to do whatever you want. You know how they tell kids to dream and then they end up as dental hygienists? That can’t happen to me.

In an age where absolutely everything (especially alternative culture), is branded by corporate interests, this project is 100% self funded and self directed. You won’t see energy drink logos, or anything covered with irreverant X’s. I think this is really important, because the story, the images, and the adventure will not be guided by anyone’s interests but my own. Together with a couple of awesome friends, I’m going to see the world, and hopefully I’ll be able to show the world who I am, and what I believe.

If you watch TV, the images you see of “alternative” culture are pretty dim. People like Carey Hart and Pink appear next to Pepsi commercials and shows like Meet the Barkers. This, no matter what anyone at A&E thinks, is not awesome. It’s really just stupid. I grew up with punk rock, and the sensibilities that come with that. I’ve tried to live my life by 3 letters. DIY! Do it yourself! This is the mantra that has created some of my favorite things in this world. I know it will not fail me.

I hope you keep reading, and I hope you enjoy our adventure as much as we will.

Drew.

http://www.thesundial.ca/index.php?news_id=18 ip tba