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Episode 1.9 “Flying Fancy Free”

If you’ve ever been on a plane as day breaks, you know the splendour of not knowing where the sea ends and the sky begins. When the clouds form such a thick blanket that you can’t see the ocean blue and the sun seems like it’s being shy. A mountain peak breaks through the clouds with such authority that it feels like the island is no longer grounded but floating through the air like a blimp or airship.

Is this experience worth the 2 and half hours of sleep and getting to the airport for a 3:30AM check in? Maybe lol

Travelling is tiring, I’m not sure if it’s the shuffling or the hours of sitting down and waiting but something scientific happens to the human body. A few months ago a colleague of mine told me of a media conference in the tiny island of San Andres, off the coast of Nicaragua (yeah google it). It’s funny at the time when he told me about it, I really didn’t have very high hopes for it really coming to fruition at all. But low and behold the itinerary was sent and I was on my way.

Ended up travelling from St Kitts to Antigua, Antigua to St Lucia, St Lucia to Trinidad, overnight in Trinidad; jumped on another flight to Panama City and finally to San Andres Island; that’s a lot of flying.

San Andres is one of the most homely places I’ve ever been to. On Television you see video of whole families on motorbikes and you may think that that footage must be old, or that such a thing must only be happening in India or Indonesia on the other side of the world. Well, after touching down in San Andres for 15 minutes I saw 5 bikes pass by at the airport 3 of them carrying 3 or more people. Evel Knievel could learn a thing or two here.

The conference was put on by ANTV which is the News and Media arm of the Columbian Government. The purpose was to share culture through regional programming and content from a cross section of the Caribbean: Anguilla to Trinidad to Suriname. The similarities between St Kitts-Nevis and San Andres is astounding. Originally the local people spoke English and Creole English, basically what we call colloquial english in the islands. Their accent is amazingly similar to the Antiguan one. Like Kittitians they have a Bull story, which we see as an old folks tale on a plantation while they see it as a spiritual entity that runs through the street. Their Island is 10 square miles yet at peak can have 90,000 - 100,000 people, most of which speak only Spanish now.

At the Conference, I had to make a presentation about Blue Torch Productions in which I stressed our storytelling and creative advertising track record. I thought my impromptu presentation was kinda all over the place but they really seemed to like seeing some work from the BTP portfolio. Soon after the presentation I was taken outside to do be featured on an interview for the local tv Station. Not too Shabby right? Got to meet a bunch of great broadcast professionals from around the Caribbean as well, their stories and perspectives really served to broaden my own and I'm hoping there will be opportunities to collaborate with them in the near future.

San Andres is a beautiful, peaceful place, the food was fantastic, the people were really nice and the experience of interacting with a similar yet different culture was amazing. I did miss wifi though, yeah Wifi is a blessing. It took 2 days to get there and 2 days to get back. Even though the conference was shorter than the 4 days of travel, I would go again in a heart beat. The next time though I want the full tour and my gear not just my cellphone.



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