A&E » Arts

Trekking into great stories

Adventurer brings multi-media project to town



What: Trekking in Tibet

Where: Rainbow Theatre

When: Saturday, Nov. 26

Tickets: Advanced $18, door $20

One year after returning home, adventurer William Jans began editing the footage of his travels through Laos, Southern China and mystical Tibet when he discovered images of bandits who had stolen some of his gear.

"I actually had video footage of myself getting robbed," he said. "It was hard to watch myself getting ripped off, but that is one of the reasons why my shows are so popular, because I am so honest and upfront."

The comedic tale is only one of many that Jans will share in two multi-media shows: Trekking in Tibet Saturday, Nov. 26 and Solo in South America Saturday, Dec. 3. at 8 p.m. at Rainbow Theatre.

Jans takes the less glamorous route of sharing his two global escapades. Yes Jans was one of the few trekkers to make it 6,500 metres up Everest. He could see the summit with his naked eye two kilometres away. However, his imagery is not coupled with heroic yarns about how he almost died, but instead with the great effort it took to tie his shoes at such elevations or how he obsessed over pencils or how to get soya beans out of his sleeping bag – he didn’t have any on the trip.

Funny tales are interwoven with heartfelt stories about the people he met, such as a Tibetan child whose favourite toy was a tin can on a string. "The little place was made of mud and dirt with no electricity or water," Jans said of the boy’s home. "The kids were so much fun. It was touching to see a child cherish one toy. Coming from a world where I only got 45 Christmas presents, it was wonderful to see."

Jans’s travels to Everest are included in his Trekking in Tibet show, along with personal glimpses into the pilgrimage around sacred Mount Kailash.

"Meeting people prostrating around the mountain (with approximately a 40 kilometre circumference) at high altitude, over 4,500 metres, with no shoes or flip flops, it really takes the wind out of your sails when you are wearing high-end mountain boots," he said.

Jans’s Solo in South America adventure will take audience members on what critics describe as "the best arm-chair travel show" through mining in Bolivia, trekking to Macchu Picchu and visits to the Amazon and Galapagos.

Documenting one of the oldest mining operations in the world was no easy task – and Jans did it twice. Temperatures reached 40 degrees in such cramped spaces, dynamite went off with no warning, the air quality was choking – and all this at 4,800 metres. During colonial rule in the 16th century, mining operations claimed 8 million lives.

"Miners still work 12 hours a day sustained only on coca leaves and water – food will ‘tire them out,’" he said of the 6,000 miners.

Film, costumes, live narration and different languages come together for the performance, which Global TV reporter Erin Lawrence applauded as "a very entertaining presentation. Can’t wait to see more."

Advanced tickets $18 at Escape Route or $20 at the door. Visit www.wrphoto.com for more information.

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