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Old 02-01-2010, 04:16 PM   #841
Vagabond Blue
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Chitown,

When I was in Algeria once we came upon a wedding of a child to a man. The girl couldn't have been older that 13. She was someone special as was the groom. We were the interloper Americans with our cameras and our van wasting time travelling around their country.

We were not welcome at first. Understand, we stumbled upon this while just passing through a town. When Jim tried to take a photo from the side door of the van, the spectators started to shove Jim and rock the van. Six of us sat in side as the van rocked wondering what would happen. When my stepfather Dave opened his door and stepped out without a camera, all was fine. we were suddenly welcome.

It didn't matter that we were American. It didn't matter that we were wondering around their country. It just mattered that we were engaging them on their terms which worked out well for us because we got to experience something we never would have.

I think your friend may be right. Show them who you are but, respect them, what they do. Ask before you take a photo. You may be pleased to see that they are welcoming and want to know as much about you as you do about them.

When I was alone in Haiti, it was impossible to not stand out. I could have dressed in rags, it wouldn't have helped. I found just engaging the people on the basic human to human level just worked.

Love the report by the way....

Celt
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:50 PM   #842
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Fantastic pics of Baja Chi. They bring back some great memories of my trip down there last Feb. I took tons of pics but none compare to yours.

Glad your enjoying the R again. I hope all works out one way or another with the GS8. Your report has been a great read.

I loved the shot of the dog! What a great eye you have.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:04 PM   #843
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Quote:
Next time I really should just go down there on a proper dirt bike and really see Baja...
and they'll still look at you the same way.

You look different and that is all it takes.
I was working in Kathmandu a few years back and I brought my trek bicycle over with me while I was there. I had about $3k Nikon equipment on the back of the bike and the bike was a conversation piece wherever I went. The camera went unnoticed. Every where I was asked how much does the bike cost. I answered honestly first...$~~300. I got Ohhhhs and Ahhhhss. and everyone backed up.
The personal income per annum there was about $65. The next time I was asked I said the bike was about $100 and got the exact same response. The next time I said it was a gift and I didn't know how much and I got appreciative stares. Point is you look different and no matter how poor you try to look you will still stand out.

You are right, you should get over it; any other course will be ineffective and possibly dangerous.

my 2cents

John
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:55 AM   #844
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chitown, been enjoying your gusto. I've found when traveling, after the planning, pressures drift away I can throw my idiot switch on and enjoy every goofball, tiny moment, uptight tourists and light em up. some folks don't have an idiot switch, and others reluctant to use it. It produces a spark in the eyes that folks respond to with a smile. Around home it seems to be on most of the time whether I like it or not. makes my life easy.

couple of years ago went to a TSO show in OKcity with my Finnish girlfriend. This was her 6th or 7th time and she dug it and all I wanted was about 3, make that 6, scotches after the show to neutalize. No wonder you wanna ride. I went to Finland with her and she accused me of going just to look at the Rukka gear, smart girl. But she forgot the Genelec store.

I just quit a soul sucking, mind numbing, grumpy coworkers, good paying job so i can throw my dog, bike, and some tools in the truck and hit the bay area for a project and some riding. Will complete a friend's promised kitchen redo and then grab some..

two lane roads and two bit towns
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:02 AM   #845
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Chiming in, been following this forever and lurking, living vicariously through you. I believe Celt has a great outlook on the whole foreign experience. You wrote:
Quote:
At dinner I mentioned this to a friend last night, she said I should look at it like I could be an inspiration to the children to better themselves, or to share images of other parts of the world for people who forget that everywhere isn't like their perfectville USA suburban community... but who am I to "invade" these people's lives, making a tourist attraction out of their homes or misfortune.
Has anyone else ever felt like this?


I don't agree, thinking that you're being an inspiration to anyone is incredibly arrogant. And you don't strike me as someone who would be that. Who says you're making a tourist attraction out of their lives? It's a chronicle, a record, and a showcase for the beauty of simplicity. Nothing more. Do it with respect, perhaps share your vision in the viewscreen with them if they're interested. Don't see their life as misfortune. Maybe to them, it isn't.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:27 AM   #846
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown



On another note, while I was in La Paz I met 3 guys riding down to Cabo from NorCal. Sorry, with the tequila I don't remember your names.
Anyways, one of you mentioned losing a Vario pannier off your GS. I remember giving my web address and that would point you here...
A friend (themanfromars) of mine who I missed by about 70 miles according to SPOT last week, posted about finding your pannier. If you find this, look here from your stuff.


Cheers!





Hey Joe,

I know the guy who lost that Vario Case. I'll put him in touch with you....


EDIT - Just saw the link to the other thread. I sent him the link, thanks for posting that.
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TedShred screwed with this post 02-02-2010 at 11:32 AM
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:44 AM   #847
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Thank you for the comments, I agree and understand most of what was said.

I do think it would incredibly arrogant to think of it like my friend metioned.

The most logical solution to my probably unfounded feelings is to spend more time learning the language so I can interact with the locals more freely. It's hard to ask someone if you can take a photo without speaking the language. I think a lot of my discomfort comes from what I believe is my inability to communicate. Though I have had plenty of conversations without understanding most of the words.
That's my ignorance.

Smoking that brown crap found in mexico probably didn't help with my paranoia either..


The comments posted though are right, I won't fit in, and I don't need too.
When writing what I did, the contrasts of Mexico/USA were very fresh in my mind, along with my self-conciousness.

I also wasn't exactly accurate in saying detailing someone's misfortune... I do believe that many people's more "simple life" found in Mexico could very well be more happy lives that many of those here in the USA with plenty of possessions or money. As a matter of fact, most people I saw in Baja were smiling, drive the road road in LA and look for people smiling...



Thanks again for sharing your insight and wisdom.





I'm off to take care of my stuff, and move my GS to a new (not yet found) location.
Anyone in the South Bay area have room for a bike for a minute?

About ready to get in Motion once again!
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:05 PM   #848
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Yep, sounds like you have it figured out.

Bon voyage...see you in the next installment.

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Old 02-02-2010, 09:36 PM   #849
Baja535
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That's my Vario

Joe,
I sent a note to your pal about the box. It is definitely a small world man. After we got back I started reading your stuff here and checking out the photos. Great stuff. We put together a little slide show and I'll have to send you a link from our adventure to check out.

I still can't believe he found my case and actually lugged it around. There are some great people out there. Thanks for remembering after the cervezas.

Chris
Cheers!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown

On another note, while I was in La Paz I met 3 guys riding down to Cabo from NorCal. Sorry, with the tequila I don't remember your names.
Anyways, one of you mentioned losing a Vario pannier off your GS. I remember giving my web address and that would point you here...
A friend (themanfromars) of mine who I missed by about 70 miles according to SPOT last week, posted about finding your pannier. If you find this, look here from your stuff.






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Old 02-03-2010, 05:19 PM   #850
TedShred
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown
Thank you for the comments, I agree and understand most of what was said.

I do think it would incredibly arrogant to think of it like my friend metioned.

The most logical solution to my probably unfounded feelings is to spend more time learning the language so I can interact with the locals more freely. It's hard to ask someone if you can take a photo without speaking the language. I think a lot of my discomfort comes from what I believe is my inability to communicate. Though I have had plenty of conversations without understanding most of the words.
That's my ignorance.

Smoking that brown crap found in mexico probably didn't help with my paranoia either..


The comments posted though are right, I won't fit in, and I don't need too.
When writing what I did, the contrasts of Mexico/USA were very fresh in my mind, along with my self-conciousness.

I also wasn't exactly accurate in saying detailing someone's misfortune... I do believe that many people's more "simple life" found in Mexico could very well be more happy lives that many of those here in the USA with plenty of possessions or money. As a matter of fact, most people I saw in Baja were smiling, drive the road road in LA and look for people smiling...



Thanks again for sharing your insight and wisdom.





I'm off to take care of my stuff, and move my GS to a new (not yet found) location.
Anyone in the South Bay area have room for a bike for a minute?

About ready to get in Motion once again!
I was just going back over the first page and reminiscing about our DV ride and all the other good times we've had in the last year. We're lucky to have bikes, good friends and the time to ride with them

Here's a random shot that's worth a re-post

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Old 02-03-2010, 06:22 PM   #851
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown


Smoking that brown crap found in mexico probably didn't help with my paranoia either..
!
Dude,
Are you harshing my stash?

F.U. Finn!




Peace, Love & Open Roads
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:53 PM   #852
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A few thoughts...

First of all, one can appreciate the sensitivity to feel self-conscious about this.

Second, I also agree that to think we can set an example to other cultures is condescending.

Third, you may be surprised by how welcoming local people can be, if you go out of the beaten path. I had a similar problem pulling my camera out of the bag in similar circumstances. I had people turn their backs on me. But when out of the touristic path, I was surprised by how locals even posed for pictures.

A couple of examples:

Alaska. The couple on the picture below came to the shore to examine the ice (it was June, in Kotzebue) to study about the seal population and the beginning of the hunting season. The guy actually was extremely playful and intelligent. When he saw me paying attention to what he was doing, he first made himself look like he was an expert on ice movements, and told me he was able to predict the ice breakage based on ancient traditions. Then he laughed, looked at me, and said he knows about the ice movements from the weather channel.



This is what they were looking, from the bluff where we were. On the left, down close to the beach, are kennels for race dogs (idatarod).



These other two pictures are from American Samoa. Of course, kids are easier to get on photos. Part of my point is that language only is not the main barrier. Tourism or a typical tourist approach is. And lack of cultural knowledge is probably another problem.









Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTown
I have a problem I need to get over.
In Mexico there's so many interesting colors, textures, people, buildings, etc. to photograph besides what I do, the problem is my overwhelming self consciousness while there, more so while riding with my fancy Power Rangers suit, on my fancy ( and somewhat shiny) BMW with all the gadgetry and what not.
I made the trek north on pavement in two days... I was going to to take a little while longer to get back in the good ole' USA and stop more, but have this problem of feeling like a rich gawking american tourist. I'm by no means rich, just put my hard earned money into what fuels my passions most - bikes, electronics, riding gear, and photography tools. When down there in Baja I think I see the way I'm looked at (especially in the very poor little dirt towns) when rolling up and it makes me feel bad.
No, more like awkward.
My inspirations get lost when I want to photograph or shoot video of the old cowboy riding his horse down the street, the beautiful children playing with a stick in the dirt, the old lady making tortilla's with a dog laying next to her, the colorful markets where you eat, or the interesting pastel colors of the houses that are really just shacks.
It's just not comfortable when I'm in my gear, coming off my bike.
It's not like I didn't have other reasons to head north, but this strange feeling of mine...

I truly enjoyed my time in Baja again, and find the place fascinating, the people among the kindest, and know all the fears that Americans have about traveling there completely unfounded. I just can't photograph some of it.

At dinner I mentioned this to a friend last night, she said I should look at it like I could be an inspiration to the children to better themselves, or to share images of other parts of the world for people who forget that everywhere isn't like their perfectville USA suburban community... but who am I to "invade" these people's lives, making a tourist attraction out of their homes or misfortune.
Has anyone else ever felt like this?

I really should get over it, but in the mean time here's some Baja through my eyes.
Next time I really should just go down there on a proper dirt bike and really see Baja...

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Old 02-04-2010, 10:01 AM   #853
Dead Eye Dan
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Hey Joe,

It's the 21st century and it sucks to be pitifully white. Can't change that, oh well.

I agree that the locals respond differently when you speak their language, even if poorly, it shows respect, and interest.

It's all in the attitude I suspect.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:00 PM   #854
Foofighter
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Lion BR those are some great pictures! Do you have any ride reports that I can see more in?
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:13 PM   #855
Lion BR
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Hey Foofighter
Eventually I will put a riding report together... But just for full disclosure, those two sets of photos I put here, in this mini hijack mode, are from places where access was only by plane (or boat). And by the way, the water you see behind the guys in the barbecue, is the bay called Fagasa, in American Samoa. It was completely submerged in last year's tsunami.
Thanks!
Cesar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foofighter
Lion BR those are some great pictures! Do you have any ride reports that I can see more in?
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