La Marchanta — Days Two & Three

I'm going to make a quickie cursory entry about days two and three on Anne Wallace's Marchanta project.

The fact is, I'm in the midst of November — you know, national novel writing month. And so, much of my free time is being taken up by working on my novel. Or so I tell myself.

The second day of Anne's shoot was back to the ferry. We shot on the American side, Mexican side, and then on the ferry itself, traveling between the two nations. Sadly, however, we were kicked out of Mexico when the Mexican customs official ambled up and politely told us we didn't have clearance. Anne had assumed we were cleared. But somewhere, among all the convoluted bureaucratic entities, she's forgotten one. But it was okay. We'd already gotten plenty of footage.

Back on the US side we set up a few more shots. And then we all piled into our vehicles and caravanned into Mexico. We crossed over by driving across the Falcon Dam. Very spectacular. Anne had a Mexican official meet us at the other side to expedite our entrance into Mexico. We were 12 individuals in five vehicles transporting about fifty thousand dollars worth of camera and sound equipment.

After getting the okay, we took a moment at a Pemex station for one of the cars to gas up. Many of us took advantage of the adjacent drive-thru beer store. This was the town of Guerrero, or, more to the point, Nuevo Guerrero.

And then we headed to the highway and drove upriver. We were driving to the town listed on the map as Guerrero Viejo. AKA, Antigua Guerrero. The ancient town of old Guerrero is my half-ass translation. I knew nothing about the place, except what Anne had told me. Something about a town that had been submerged by Falcon Reservoir.

We drove maybe 25 miles on the highway before turning off onto a rutted dirt road. We were a pickup truck (me and Carlos), two robust SUVs, and two little cars. The cars slowed us down somewhat. But the hour we spent on the unpaved road wouldn't have been that much shorter without the cars. It was rough going.

I would like to have the time to describe the extraordinary ruins of Guerrero Viejo, but, again, I have a novel I need to be working on. Actually, I decided to use my experience in this wonderful town as the opening chapter of my November novel. And I'll post those pages eventually.

To put it into a thumbnail, we had the ruins to ourselves. There were scenes involving galloping horses, underwater videography, audio recording of bats, and cameras mounted in a canoe.

I had a blast. One of the best memories was when me and Carlos (Carlos Pina — filmmaker and actor — not to be confused with the other Carlos, the caretaker of Guerrero Viejo) decided to wander the ruins of the city in the bright light of a gibbous moon when everyone else had gone to sleep. It was so damn cool. And I knew that this would blow away all the bullshit my friends would experience in their impending Halloween AND Dia de los Muertos party plans. Fuck, I was poking around the dead and haunted ruined city of Guerrero Viejo, in the state of Tamaulipas, in Mexico.

Maybe when I get this novel shit out of the way, I'll blog more about the experience. It was really wonderful.

Below are a bunch of photos from the trip.

Click on the tumbnails for bigger images.


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