Safely landed in Faizabad and I’m bunkered up in my hotel for the next couple of days. Though this is one of the safer parts of the country, recent tribal fighting nearby has thrown a bit of an X factor into the equation, and Stephane (the French vet) has recommended I don’t go out on the town with an expensive camera on display for fear of theft or kidnapping. The biggest problem on the small scale is accidentally filming a woman, which could seriously anger the locals. Despite my great and ever-constant eagerness to explore, it looks like the safest option is for me to stay in and equipment-sit for the next couple days.
Our plane ride over was a dream – vast whitecapped mountains to either side of the plane. Because the flight was underbooked, I had quite a bit of mobility, so I stuck with my 7D and moved around to shoot out various windows. I also stuck a GoPro to the front windshield to get some POV footage of the plane which I think turned out pretty nicely.
Another thing I’m just starting to come to terms with: wearing a National Geographic press pass. It’s like magic. The locals don’t care, but the cache it carries with other westerners is amazing. On the flight into Dubai from New York, the attendants all made friends with me, begged to be taken along, then left us a gift bag of snacks, toothbrushes, and (I kid not) seven shaving kits. I guess we looked like we needed it. Since this is my first broadcast gig I still feel a little bit like a spy, an overdressed beggar, and I have to keep reminding myself that this time it’s real. Anyway, I’m glad to be here. Yesterday I signed the scariest release form I’ve ever seen (containing release in the case of both “acts of terrorism” AND “acts of god”), but in a few more days I’ll be in snow leopard country with an amazing team. I’m learning a lot on this trip, and going farther out of my already well-eroded comfort zone than ever before.
As always, your readership is incredibly appreciated, and helps me feel connected to home.
More to come.