Thursday, February 28, 2008

Heading home

The time has arrived and I am starting to pack for an early morning flight. Can't wait to get back to good ole Virginia.

Don't know if I will be able to blog anymore on this trip, so I wanted to say thanks to everyone who followed along. I will keep the blog going, so this is only the start - more trips, more fun, more walking. Stay tuned...

Catch the latest updates on Flickr and Vimeo.

Thanks again!


Parking in France

Look, the cars are not big, why the trouble with parking them?

Can you say - "wine with every meal!"

Flickr pictures updated & Vimeo clips added

Catch the latest images.

You know what to do.

Hunt for Food 2

Here is a clip of the never ending walking and humanities need to sustain itself - basically I am getting food. More clips at the Vimeo site.


Looking for Hotel

Here I am in France looking for my hotel. The saga continues on the Vimeo site.


Hotel Hunt 1 from JOHN GYOVAI on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New pictures and videos added!

Catch them on Flickr and Vimeo.

You know what to do...

Made it to France!

I am in my hotel after another long day. Luggage is on it's way and hopefully will make it before the interview is suppose to start (some items are in the luggage bag, but could do an interview without it).

Had a two hour delay leaving Fes, Morocco, so that made the luggage transfer not work. I also had a time finding the hotel in France. You should catch the videos on the Vimeo site to see what I mean.

Last meal in Morocco

My last meal in Morocco.

I ordered a pastry (different than the one I wanted, but no worries) an American coffee (thick, small, black with lots of sugar cubes) and a banana (I received a banana shake instead of the banana I pointed too). It was a good and fitting meal for my send off and summed up the entire trip so far (odd, not what you expected, but pleasantly surprised).

I leave for the airport in five minutes and hope to make it through security without any troubles. One guide told me they will take your tapes if they think you are a professional without permits. For me, I am just a big white tourist and I have the video clips to prove it!

Hopefully I will post from France sometime today.

Thanks for taking the journey with me...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday update and new clips added to Vimeo

Having trouble with Blogger again. Wanted to let you know there are some new clips on the Vimeo site. Will be booking my hotel for France in a few minutes through the web. I leave in the morning for a 12:00pm flight and will arrive at my final destination around 7:30pm. Interviews the next day, spend the night and then leave early in the morning to come home - woohoo!

Spent the day wandering around collecting some footage. Nothing to exciting. I am tired of filmmaking the sneaky way. I have a couple of pics, but can't seem to get them to load through blogger. Nothing special, so I will just skip it for tonight. I watched some of Barber Shop 2 on the TV. I have not seen any fun TV in a while since CNN International edition is the only thing I can get. Fun to laugh at the TV (Yes, I laugh at the TV, that's where the sound and picture comes from).

Went to McDonalds today. I can't resist trying fast food in other countries. I ordered the McArabia - it was not good. Didn't have the camera with me, so you don't get to see the packaging, but I get the feeling they are making it to be like the street food. Whatever sells I guess, my favorite part is the McDonalds pant the employees where - they were snazzy.

Will talk again soon.

I will see about internet connection while in France, I don't know but will try to make it work.

Anybody watching the short clips on Vimeo?

Just wanted to check and see how effective it is posting pictures and videos on another website. Has anyone watched the video clips?

My plan was to post everything here, but blogger seems to lock up during some video clip transfers.

Let me know what you think?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Vimeo and Flickr websites updated

Catch all 85 pictures on the Flickr site (sorry so many and no descriptions yet, but you can figure them out!) and some new short videos on the Vimeo site.

Find the links on the right side and


Longer update and trip details

Writing on the way to the desert. We have been traveling for five hours and have about two and half to go. A really nice trip so far. We are traveling through the Middle Atlas in Morocco (one of Morocco’s mountain ranges). I am listening to John Lee Hooker and enjoying the sights. It is stunning to say the least. Beautiful mountains, rustic, majestic and diverse. The great thing is we are in the middle of the mountain range. Not beside, but up and down and in-between. Not sure where they shot the original Star Wars but this looks like some of it. Lot’s of pictures from the little camera, so enjoy. I also ran into an American photographer traveling on assignment. The driver from yesterday stopped and was leaving at the same place we just pulled into. Just a brief talk and looking over some gear, but nice to meet a fellow traveler. I told him I would love to do more photography and he said he would love to do more video – too funny. I enjoy being on the road as long as the sites are good. I would rather see something new, especially natural beauty, than spend time in a city. I find the countryside fascinating. We will see what the next two days hold. Hard to use the time on the road when I need to be busy collecting footage, but the rain has not made it easy. Can collect some footage on our way. Just picked up a nice shot of a Berber woman with some tattoos on her face (traditional markings). CafĂ©’s seem like the best place to film people and street life. Have to spend more time having tea!

Here are some of my thoughts on the trip so far. It will be a longer post, but I have the time and want to catch you up to date.

Flights to Turkey and the initial trip were not exactly great. I came into Turkey with no firm plans; they did come together at the very end. I don’t sleep well on planes, airports or new places, so it all catches up to me when I go for 36 hours without sleep. Stayed with the American doc and then two other families in Turkey. Was sent with a note when boarding the returning train to have a taxi take me to a hotel close to the airport, it turned out the train ride was more than twice as long as expected. I did ride with a young college student and we spoke the whole way (or attempted to speak). He said he was an atheist. I guess this should not surprise me, since turkey is very secular. If you are interested in learning more about the very, very interesting period going on now in Turkey, look for the current Newsweek cover story on Turkey. Some really interesting things are happening. While I was in country one news report was about a young man who through acid on the legs of a girl who he said was wearing her skirt too short. Another story was about head coverings and the right to where them at government jobs and school. Another story was the Kurds and some rioting and government clashes in the north. The Turkish people really hate the Kurds. Still a little shocking to have someone just come out and tell and they are dirty gypsies and terrorists and the person hates them. So on the last night, after the long train ride and my new young friend helping me with the taxi driver, he said there were no hotels in the area the note told him to go. It turned out we went to downtown Izmir, which is about 25 minutes away from the airport. He took me to a two star hotel and it looked like a dive, then a three star hotel and I ran in and no one spoke English. It would not have been a big deal, but I had a very early flight and not that much Turkish money left (I needed to get some) and no dinner. The time was 10:00pm. At that point I told him to take me to the Hilton, which the American doctor two days before told me this is where the Americans stay when they come into town. Off to the very expensive Hilton and it was worth every penny.

The next day was a long one - Izmir to Istanbul for a 7:00am flight. Couple hours in the airport and then on to Casablanca. While traveling to Morocco I sat next to a conservative Muslim women and we talked about Islam and Christianity the whole way. It was an eye opening experience on so many levels. Too much to talk about here, but I learned a great deal. There is so much more to my faith and the religions of the world outside of America. We are definitely a blessed country, but very little history as it relates to the rest of the world. The forefathers did a great job of thinking through so many items that effect a society. In one sense it would be easy to live out your religion in a country that you are born into that religion, are taught to memorize it’s holy words, have no competing thoughts or ideas, not allowed certain items that might interfere (alcohol, art and freedom of speech to name a couple) and is works based to enter heaven (we all love to work for our rewards). Really makes you want to understand more about the three monotheistic religions. Maybe this is the start to learning more about Islam.

I had a nine hour layover that I had hoped to head into the city for some footage and a chance to capture the world famous Mosque along the coast. After talking to cab drivers, rental agents and general confusion; in which I would have rented a car but they could not communicate the driver position or what side of the road they drove on – like Europe they said, which I thought that was opposite of the USA, so I didn’t want that and it turns out “like Europe” meant the rest of Europe, not Britain, because the cars and roads are the same as the US. I ended up having a couple of slick guys drive me into the city, which was not all that close to the airport. I wouldn’t recommend this, as you must walk out the airport like your heading to the parking lot and then they come and pick you up. Same for the drop off, they zip in like it’s a drug run and keep moving, all this and no background on who the people are and how to communicate with them. My driver did not speak English and the deal was $50 for five hours and it turned out to be 2 ½ hours. You win some you loose some. I am also too nice for stuff like this, as I could have started to raise a fit and maybe squeezed out more time or less money.

I eventually made it to Fez and had a good time in the Medina (market place with a labyrinth of streets and alleys) and then headed out to some Roman Ruins the next day. It was raining both days and I make the quick decision (also based on some arm twisting by the guide) to head to the desert. I previously wrote briefly about the experience and now am traveling back to Fez. Spent the night in the desert, rode camels and drove for two and half days. Had some market time and ran into the American photographer again who is with his girlfriend and had lunch together. The desert was fun and we had good weather. I was in a small group with two American men on some vacation time. Now it is back to Fez where we are heading into rain and snow. Bummer. Will figure out what to shoot my last day in Morocco and then off to France for some interviews.

Will be home on Friday – I can’t wait.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Off to the desert - for real

So we stopped at a hotel on the way to the desert. Nice place and I had a pretty good sleep. Sore throat is coming on and still feel like I need two days of sleep/rest. Off to video at a market and then on to the sand dunes. Hopefully will work out the video clips, but have my doubts. So it is pictures for now and I will make sure to do some video from the small still camera.

We will see about internet. If no,t I will be back online Monday night (Monday day for you).


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Last night's blog dinner pic

Uploading some pictures at the cafe that has wi-fi last night and I ordered an omelet with coffee. It was yummy!

Pictures updated on the Flickr site

Lots of pictures from the road trip today on the Flickr site.

Made it to the hotel after 8 hours on the road. Beautiful trip. This has to be the new motorcycle ride for some people I know who might be interested (Tim!). We passed a bunch of guys hauling dirt bikes on trailers to the desert. Hopefully the rain will stop (it is causing the electricity to go out in my room) - so pray for no rain!

Feeling a little under the weather. Sleep has been little and cold rainy conditions do not help. Will try to get a good rest tonight. Tomorrow we are off to a market and then to the desert. Getting ready to send off a bigger overview of the trip. Should be later tonight. Need to continue to work through technical difficulties with laying footage into Final Cut Pro.

Not sure if any of this is interesting to any of you (except the family). Still trying to figure out how to make it interesting. Sometimes I forget to pull the camera out, like today when we (the driver and I) stopped for some food and the guy who was fixing our food finished off the meat on a hind quarter and walked over in front of our table and threw the big leg bone in the trash can in front of us. Didn't take long before the dogs got it. Too funny. Don't ask if anybody washes their hands, I am kind of suprised I have not hugged the toilet yet. I do have hair coming out in weird places...

Riding in style

Off to the desert and wanted to check the web before I left (having trouble with Final Cut Pro). The driver is nice and we have a new Mercedes van to ride in style.

I might be out for a day or two depending on the internet connections.

See ya!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Heading to the Desert

Well I have decided, and I might add while the rain was pouring, to make the long trek to the desert. We will see if it works out and turns into interesting footage. More time on the road is not something I look forward too, but it has been rainy here and hard to shoot. Hopefully we will hit some interesting places along the way and I can capture some village life. Leave tomorrow morning (Saturday) and return on Monday. I will then have another day to capture some footage around the Medina and Fez. It does not look like I will be able to talk too much religion with someone on camera or capture religious life on camera, might have to do that back in the states. You can only go so far towards shooting around a Mosque. I was able to film people in the market today, so that went well. most of the trip has turned into tourism, hard to break out of that when that is the only way to get around (as a tourist). I also can't seem to get the footage from the video camera into the computer to show clips. This trip has been filled with those kind of technical challenges.

At times I have felt very lonely and isolated. I really have felt like a foreigner for the first time in my filmmaking. My most trips have been with people I know or at least have met and we work together in country. this has been a little different as it has been guide based or on my own. Not seeing other Americans is not new (Myanmar) but not being with Americans is another thing. I guess I miss the family as I was very busy for the last month before I left for this trip.

Another downside will be lack of internet. I was just starting to catch up on some things (and figure them out) and now will be on the road without . So if you don't hear from me, everything is okay, just no connection.

That's the update.

Picture updates at Flickr site

See the new ones, no videos today.

Popular sandwich from the street vender

It's food, not terds!

So it may not look to good, but it is yummy.

Today the guide went to the butcher, picked out some meat, he added some onion, garlic and green stuff (brain does not work enough to think of the name), ground it up and worked it into a ball and put it in a plastic bag. We walked over to the cokker guy and sat down and they cooked it up. Pretty good stuff!

Milk shake mania

Treated myself to a milkshake last night. Sorry it is sideways, blogger does not allow you to tweak, so I am keeping this way!

Funny thing is they give you sugar cubes. What am I to do with sugar cubes?

Milkshake was a scoop of ice cream and malt mix. Not bad, a little different. Cost about 25 cents.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New videos added at Vimeo site

Click the link on the right to view new videos!


Pictures at a new flickr site

Here is the link to a new Flickr site:

Catch all the pics at this new location.


Blogger working again!

Hey gang.

Here is the deal. Blogger is working at the new Cyber Cafe across from the hotel I am staying for the next 6 days. I will continue to blog and make this more informational with some pictures. I will add videos to my Vimeo site. So please click the link on the left to see videos. I should be updating every day now. I will also upload some larger files from the normal video camera (work footage and could even do some in HD). I will be transfering all my footage to my photography drive as I was told today by guide that they like to take your footage at the airport inspection if they think you are a professional and did not get permits (ooops!). I will transfer the footage to the drive and at least have a back up in case they take my tapes.

One day down in the Medina in Fez. Pretty incredible sights and sounds. I have also created a Flickr account to post pictures. I will be dumping all my small camera pics and will start to go through the better still camera pics soon. I just found out I did not bring my charger for the digital still camera. Too much of a rush out the door and for some reason I tossed it or it did not make it in my bag. Will see how to fix that, I do have two batteries. Please check the side of the blog for the link to the Flickr account.

That's it for now...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On the road to Ephesus video clips...

Enjoy the clips from the little still camera!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Trouble loading video clips...

Hey gang.

Having trouble loading video clips. Will have to wait until I get to a stable internet setting, hopefully that won't be backhome :-)

Here's a pic of the home I stayed in last night. It was cold and the family let me sleep with the heater in the room. I loaded up on shirts (long and short) and doubled up on pants and socks. Still cold. Ambian to the rescue.

Tomorrow is shooting around Aydin, Turkey and then back to Izmir by train. I will be traveling like a school kid with a note in Turkish for the taxi cab driver to take me to a hotel near the airport. I'm not worried... not a lot.

Dogs love me - Ephesus road trip pictures

So the dog's at John's house love me - I think...

Here are some pics on the road to Ephesus. Yes I drove. I gave a ride to one of John's friends to a town right before Ephesus. He did not speak a word of English. The only times we spoke, well kind of, was some hand directions he gave after we started driving out Izmir - the wrong way of course. The we went by an airport and he started drawing pictures of a stick figure and lines pointing to a circle. I finally figured out he was asking how much the plane ticket was to Turkey (not a picture of "this is how I am going to kill you"). Of course I blew his mind with my high priced multi country air fare. Guess he thinks he can never make it out now.


Coldest Church Ever

Back online for a little bit...

Sunday we went to the Coldest Church Ever - Anglican! Okay before Nate Clarke gets upset, let me explain. As we we're reading the Nicene Creed, I noticed some smoke/mist in front of me. It was then I realized it was my breath!!!!

No heat in the Church (and no lights). I took communion from the Priest (do they call them Priest's? - probably not would be my guess - clarify Nate...). These last two days are the coldest recorded this year.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Coldest House Ever

Here are some pictures of the "Coldest House Ever." To be fair and in all honesty, I had a heater running full blast all night. Add a couple of blankets and some sleeping bags and I was a few degrees past toasty. The first pic is my booties (hey now, this is a family blog!). It is customary to leave your shoes at the door, so they will give you something to wear in the house if it is cold (they also believe your plumbing stops working if you walk around on cold floors for a long time). The other shot is the owner and American Doc "John." This is him just lounging around the house - trying not to catch a cold. He is a recently turned empty nester with his wife visiting the states, you get the picture, guys love stuff like this - get the house warm or just put stuff on?

Last shot is my wife in two small cases. I will go over production gear soon and start talking technical stuff when shooting gets going (probably Morocco).

I am off to Church with John and then I am suppose to drive myself to the biblical town of Ephesus where the Apostle Paul stayed and wrote to the Ephesians. Did I mention I am driving myself? Oh yes, I will be recording some video of that!

Why do you think I am going to Church before I start driving in Turkey?

John arrives in Izmir, Turkey!

Made it to the first stop on the trip - Izmir, Turkey. I am staying with a wonderful American doctor who has lived in Turkey for the last 18 years. Here are some shots of me in my room and loading a clip to Vimeo. Shooting some around town and then down to Ephesus for more footage (and me driving!).

Catch it all tomorrow!

ps. All my love to the family: Ang, Trey, Mason and Mallory. Good to talk to you - I miss you already!!!

Saturday video update from Germany...

Catch an update in Germany form one brain dead traveler!

Sleepless in Germany...

So what does a guy do with no sleep and in the middle of the night, yet it is morning and people are busy doing there thing? You try to sleep when you can or you stay up and crash and burn later. For me, with cell phone alarm ready (behind my hand), ear plugs in and spot claimed on the row of seats (two people sleeping in the same area) I gave it my best try... This lasted about 2 minutes and then I just got up and wondered around. Oh well what can I say I'm a light sleeper!

Ten dollar breakfast!

Can you believe this was ten dollars in the Munich Airport! I even have proof with the receipt laying on the tray (okay so it was $9.80, but I left a tip to make it ten even - call me generous). The croissant was tiny and the OJ was not the more expensive "Fresh Squeezed." Yikes it's expensive in Europe; but the people dress cooooooooooooool.

"Lost in Germany"

So I have made it half-way to Turkey. Bonus points to all who can name the group who sings the song in the title heading (I would guess my brother and maybe my brother in-law).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday update...

So you no doubt have heard the news about FedEx (if not bounce down to the video clip). I have about 8 hours of work to do in a 4 hour time slot before I leave. Still no firm plans for Turkey or Morocco. Talking to a travel agent in Morocco so hopefully that will work out. Turkey will work out at the last minute (I hope). I think I will pack a suitcase, as I was really trying to live out of a carry-on and small tripod bag for tripod, light stands and reflector holder. It's a roll of the dice as ti if it shows up where you do, but I am sure I will need the space.

At this point I need sleep and will shove whatever I can into a bag and suitcase and figure it all out over there. Just can't forget the tickets...

Office picks with new still camera...

Trying to fit all this junk into one bag to carry on the plane. Looks like it won't happen. I actually think I can do it, but will run into trouble hauling 30 tapes and clothes . If I didn't need those two things I could do it. Pics from new Sony digital still camera. Res is set to VGA mode for computer uploads. Also added the video clip - the fun has just started...

Video clip of office from still camera

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday bites the dust...

Here is the update for Wednesday:
Placed my final order for gear - a travel tripod. I recently sold my last one as it was stinky, not smelling, just stinky to use. I swore off using travel tripods, but things happen (kind of like travelers rash - don't ask) and I needed something to hold a camera for interviews. I don't expect to use it much and even purchased a still camera tripod and will add a video head to it. The plan is for it to come in on Friday at 10:30am before I leave at 12:30pm. I mean really, what could go wrong? It's FedEx and I am sure something won't happen like the package they did not deliver today because of "Ice." The great thing about last minute stuff is you loose good judgment and start making decisions like: I will buy the $114 tripod and pay $48 for shipping.

One small project done and off the books and one more to finish up tonight. Then it is a day with the family. Still no hotels booked, but I did wire money into a business account that I will use to book hotels and rent a car in Turkey. My new bank and the new business account I opened will not let you use their bank card overseas, or, in fact, Canada and Mexico - welcome to my life in the country :-).

Still expecting the Canon HV-20 from Nate Clarke at Fourth Line Films to come in from FedEx (the "Ice" issue). A little more shopping, prescriptions to fill (Ambien and Travelers Diarrhea), packing to begin and finding stuff to do in other countries once I get there. Plenty of time...

Video Clip using Brevis Flip 35mm Adapter

Here is a short interview clip from the Brevis 35mm adapter I recently purchased. This is part of a short video I am finishing up for Project HOPE ( Also wanted to test adding video clips to the blog site. Expect more, but slightly more exotic...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Daily Blogs start today...

Will start the official blog today. More details coming as I spend a few hours in the Dulles airport before my flight on Friday. Believe me, I will have plenty of time for the details.

Today's update:
Received my international cell phone. No homies, you will not be getting my pounds and digits (old school lingo for phone number for you white folks). Fun stuff. Very expensive for calls, but valuable to have. I can use just about anywhere in the world and I have a UK number. More trips coming up, so I thought it would be good to have my own.

More gear purchased...
I have been on a spending rampage on gear. Ordered $500 of goodies from B&H. We are definetly in the overnight shipping category for everything. Still have more to get. Deciding on a new still camera and a new pocket camera.

Country update...
No hotels booked. No real plans. Nothing concrete. Not exactly the way you want to leave on a trip for two weeks in three different countries. Hopefully it will come together in the next few days (plenty of time).

Still finishing small projects here in Virginia. Needing to be done, looks like tomorrow. Worked till 4:30am last night (or this morning). Will work again tonight.

Welcome aboard friends. Prepare for the blogging adventure of a lifetime. Especially if you are young...


Tuesday, February 5, 2008