Sunday, May 4, 2008


On Friday, Enrique and I had the craziest and most intense shooting day. I hope he doesn't think I'm a slave driver. Here's a recap of how the day went.

4:30 a.m.: Wake up and get ready to go. Waking up here early in the morning is so much easier than at home because it is so hot, so you're more than happy to get up and shower off the sweat that has accumulated over your entire body throughout the night.

5:15 a.m.: Enrique picks me up. We are going to Alex Reyes' house to film him and his family as they get ready for the day. Alex is half Panamanian, half American and was born and brought up in the Canal Zone. He is married to Vivian, a Panamanian, and they have two daughters.

5:35 a.m.: Arrival at the Reyes home. We filmed the family as they got ready for their day and then followed Alex to work at the ports where he is an engineer.

8:15 a.m.: Finished filming Alex and family. Went to Kokotoa Coffee across from the ports for a break and to figure out the rest of the day.

8:30 a.m.: Get in touch with Patrick Dillon, executive architect for Frank Gehry's Museum of Biodiversity currently under construction at the former US army base, Fort Amador. Dillon is an American, born and raised in the Canal Zone, who also considers himself very much Panamanian. We organize to meet him in Gamboa at 11:00 a.m. (it’s a 30 minute drive north of the ports/Albrook area). We make other phone calls and send e-mails.

9:45 a.m.: Leave for Gamboa. A beautiful drive with the canal on the left and the rainforest on the right.

10:20 a.m.: Arrive in Gamboa. Drive around looking for potential shots and locations for our interview with Patric

11:00 a.m. Meet Patrick at the house he is currently building. It’s a dream beach mansion with only slats for windows.

Essentially, it’s a house with no windows. The house belongs to the head of the Smithsonian here in Panama City and is behind schedule.

Patrick suggests we go to the new Panama Rainforest Discovery Centre to do our interview.

11:45 a.m.: Patrick is nice enough to
take us in his 4X4 to the Centre. He helped to design and build the centre, so we are welcomed with lots of smiles. Everyone seems to love this guy, which is understandable, because I don’t think I’ve ever met someone so patient, relaxed, and just plain nice, considering all the things he’s got on his plate.

12:15 p.m.: Patrick suggests we go up to the top of the look out tower, which places you ABOVE the canopy of the rainforest.

12:30 p.m.: It stops raining so we decide to do the interview on the top of the tower over looking the rainforest canopy! I couldn’t have dreamed of a better location for an interview.

1:25 p.m.: We lose track of time on top of the canopy tower and have to leave because Patrick needs to get back to the city for a meeting.

1:40 p.m.: Leave the Panama Rainforest Discovery Centre for Panama City.

1:40 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Traffic is crazy. We are starving and running late for our 3 o’clock meeting with Carmen Miró, the first female director of the Contraloría (Panama’s National Statistical Agency) during the fifties and a demographer.

3:00 p.m.: Stop at Niko’s for a quick, very quick bite.

3:30 p.m.: Arrive at Sra. Miró’s house. Interview and film here in her triangular house.

5:25 p.m.: Leave to go back to interview Alex and Vivian from this morning.

5:50 p.m.: Stop at Kokotoa again for another coffee to recharge.

6:00 p.m: Arrive at Alex and Vivian’s house. Realize that the sun is down and that the lighting would be really bad. Decide to call off the interview. Instead, we stay and chat over drinks.

7:00 p.m.: We stop at Enrique’s house to pick up his partner, Milvia.

7:30 p.m.: Enrique drops me off at home. I think we both realized that even though it was definitely an intense day, it was worth it (and we had fun).

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