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Mexico - Day 1 - Esta donde bano el?

MEXICO | Wednesday, 4 March 2015 | Views [731]

Photo courtesy : Brian Rapsey

Photo courtesy : Brian Rapsey

It takes a while to get to know a place and it’s people, and for us, that’s pretty much what the first day was about.

We walked around the city of SLP taking in the buildings, the people, the smells and the mood. We watched as local schools began their early festivities for the Day of the Dead. We then piled into the car and drove 3 hours, to the city of Cuidad Valles. We discovered the landscape of a state that was green and lush, and ate corn and tacos served to us a by a family in overalls and sombreros.

But most importantly, our first day was about getting to know the crew i.e. the people we would be spending our next 10 days with. 

Brian Rapsey

Getting to know Brian is a process that takes place in layers – you’re unlocking different levels of his personality as you spend more time together, and it’s absolutely fascinating.

We first met the shy and confused Brian – tired from the journey and very reserved. The initial Brian was trying to figure us out just as much as we were him. He watched as we got into the process of filming, trying to judge our style, giving us our space and watching to see how we preferred to work. Brian at the beginning was shy and often confused, thinking for long and talking little.

Then we watched Brian get into his real element. We watched as he ran up stairs and slopes, climbed tables and walls - all to get the right shot. We watched Brian give all his attention to his equipment, we watched as he planned and positioned himself to get the right angles and great shots, all the while singing about how he loved his work. Because that’s the real Brian - lost in his films, completely immersing himself in the story and the people.

Except the language. When you hear Brain attempt to talk Spanish, you have officially been introduced to the third layer of Brian’s personality – the hilarious side. Brian can remember words in Spanish but can’t, for the life of him, remember which order they go in. As a result, Brian asking for the bathroom in Spanish goes – “is where bathroom the?” which was more often than not followed by someone pointing and laughing uncontrollably. Brian in his element is flirtatious, humourous and quirky all at once. He’s posing for pictures, making friends with strangers, breaking it down to Bollywood or swaying his hips to the bachata, beer held high.

Ben Hogart

There’s three things you notice about Ben right away – his height, his beard, and his smile – all in that order.

Tall and charming, Ben garnered attention right from our first morning in SLP where he was stopped a number of times by giggle groups of girls, who all wanted a picture with this towering, bearded man.

Ben Hogart is full of smiles and full of stories. He’ll tell you about how he moved from carefree Australia to mysterious Saudi Arabia. He’ll tell you of his wonderful wife Steph and their many adventures across the world. And, no details spared, he’ll tell you about the time he got diarrhea while backpacking across Africa. If you want to explore new places, chat with locals and try new food, Ben is your man. His enthusiasm is contagious, and there wasn’t a stranger we met during our stay in Mexico who didn’t warm up to Ben instantly.

And when he isn’t busy traveling across the world, Ben is busy fondling his beard or instagramming pictures of it. You can find him by following a number of instagram hashtags, all of which include a combination of the words #beardporn and #realmen. 

Ivanovish Solorio

Ivan was our gateway to Mexico in all its glory. From the airport on, this guide was by our side through all our shenanigans. Whatever our requests – be it a cold cerveza or an interview with the leader of a tribe, Ivan made sure we got it. He played the role of our guide, translator, groupie, porter sometimes, entertainer and friend!

Ivan’s patience while traveling with a film crew that constantly stopped, looked around, set up and double-checked shots before wrapping up again, was insurmountable.  This eager beaver attitude went, perhaps, a little too far sometimes – in his sincere attempt to answer every obscure question we had, he definitely put in some made up answers and exaggerated information. But without this guy, our trip wouldn’t have been half as enlightening or fun as it was.

Because when we weren’t busy on the job, Ivan shared with us his passion for the good things in life. He loves the outdoors and rafting, and we watched him kayak off waterfall after waterfall in Cuidad Valles. We visited bar after bar where Ivan insisted we drink like ‘real’ Mexicans – beer with no lemon, and tequila shots with no chasers. It was either that or giant mugs of michelada. On multiple occasions, this was accompanied by some mariachi music, a little tango, a little bachata and a little Bollywood – all mixed and matched into one fantastically entertaining evening. 

 Which finally brings us to – Nacho Libre, The Undefeated.

The driver of our minivan is about 4’10”, bald, has a belly that betrays his love for beer and is pretty much always smiling. Nacho knows where to go, when to get there and doesn’t like to be told how. And I mean to the extent that Brian once watched Nacho continue to read his newspaper after the traffic light turned green, but was too scared to point it out to him.

Here’s one thing we never figured out – Nacho was always the first to be served his meal at the table. No matter where we went, or how fast we piled out of the car and into the restaurant, Nacho managed to park the car, enter, order, tuck his napkin into his shirt and be served his entire dish before even our drinks arrived.

This about sums up the crew that set out together – a crew of strangers who got along like old friends. And when you pack two Australians, two Indians and two Mexicans into one minivan for 12 days, you know you’re in for a crazy ride.

Tags: beer, dance, food, india, mexican, mexico, on the road, san luis potosi, travel

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