Making Travel Movies

Waianapanapo Beach’s Black Sand, Maui

Apple has wooed me for a number of years now: it started with an iPod, then a second iPod (small objects, clumsy hands and water don’t mix well). Then, after learning the hard way that an iPod will fit in the pocket of a dry bathing suit but will not stay dry when you dive down to 10 feet in an Ontario lake, I converted to an iPad mini, which does not share this particular drawback…

I was still using a reliable PC desktop I had built for me in 2007 for making home movies. I used Adobe Premiere Elements 4 and the computer had only 2 gigs of RAM. Not nearly enough power to run a greedy thing like movie software. I learned to save my work every 10 minutes or so. As a movie grew the program would crash regularly every 15 minutes or sooner.

When I filled up my 500 GB hard drive to the point where I had to remove photos to an external drive with a backup external drive, I considered getting a faster PC with more RAM and storege. Being 71, I wasn’t sure that climbing on the learning curve that a Mac would require was the best way to use my senior years. but, in January, I decided to go for a fast iMac and have found its intuitive and seductively easy shortcuts well worth enduring the relatively small challenges it requires me to “conquer.” Apple also has been very helpful when I phone.

I have a backlog of movie projects that have been in a queue, some from 2010, while wrestling with the outdated machine and the PC/Mac issue.

Hawaii 2010 (Maui and the Big Island) was the first movie I chose to make, finishing it on Sunday. I really enjoy the convenience of streaming it from the Mac to our TV.  Hawaii was Anita’s choice for our 40th Anniversary Year. Mine was a second visit to Cuba, in which we took public transport around the island, our itinerary being Habana, Trinidad, Bayamo, Santiago da Cuba, Baracoa, Habana.

Both trips were super enjoyable.

Since the Cuba 2010 movie was done on the PC in 2010, I’m now working on a one week trip to Jamaica that we did in April 2014. I have jumped to that because it is a shorter trip, its rich history and culture are lovingly depicted in fascinating ways, exquisitely-fashioned plaques and monuments, and its drop dead gorgeous scenery. Our personal Jamaica connection made it especially wonderful. One important technical reason: its video is HD quality and I wanted to see if iMovie handles it well. So far, so good…

We visited Jamaica between April 6 and 14, visiting Kingston, Port Royal, Morant Bay, Boston Bay (for the jerk at Goldteeth’s), San San Bay for its gorgeous beach, Port Antonio, Runaway Bay and several historical sites near Montego Bay, before returning south from Runaway Bay to Kingston. We traveled in a rental car with W, a Trinidadian fellow I have known since we taught together in Trinidad in the sixties and B, W’s wife, Jamaica-born, whom he met while both were studying at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica.

B’s sister, E, from Kingston helped with the trip planning and her husband, J, picked us up at the airport, since W and I were to rent the car together the next day. J and E provided much hospitality that included a party at their house where we met family and friends for a fascinating evening.

Here is a short reflection on the self-directed Cuba trip.

Here is my one earlier post on the Jamaica Trip.

A few photos from Kingston and Port Royal:



Christmas Day Parang

Our impromptu parang side
Our impromptu parang side

It is always  better than good to get together with family and friends and feast at Christmas. We had nine for dinner and Avril had nine. The two groups combined later at our place for more partying and an impromptu, extremely lively, parang. Parang is a custom coming from the time when Trinidad was a colony of Spain. It is sung mostly in six-eight time and in Spanish. Often the parang deviates into calypso, Trini folk songs and lively, Trinified versions of traditional English language carols. We had two visitors from St. Maarten. Rose’s daughter-in-law and grandson. Having so many musical Trinis in one place made the parang, I now realize, inevitable…

Off topic, but very worthwhile: This amazing, colourful version of Handel’s Halleluja Chorus by The Lydians, a well known Trinidad musical company.

I now know that using the “three photo” option with the 10 second time delay can encourage a lot of frivolity, even amongst adults.  Out of nine photos this was the best – with 94% of the group actually on task. It was obvious that fun was had by all.