I'm sorry. What was your name again?

Trip Start Sep 12, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Outside the airport, my ride wasn't there. I nipped back inside the terminal and after a drawn out conversation, the man at the information center let me use his phone. By the time someone had said 'he’s on his way’ and I had walked outside Fred, my contact at Biigfoot Studios, was standing sign in hand. I walked towards him and said to myself ‘Here we go!’ once more.

We jumped into a cab with a huge gas cylinder in the boot. Beeping at cars, bikes or humans moving too slowly for our drivers liking. I knew if I weren’t so tired my adrenaline would be pumping. I couldn’t take anything in. Years of pinning for this world and I couldn’t absorb any of it. We got to Bigfoot and met the other interns after throwing my bags into my small, dusty room. My heart started picking up pace. Probably from anxiety but it woke me up and then the adrenaline started flowing through my veins. We hopped into a Jeepney, which are old American military jeeps converted into outrageously painted extended versions of their former selfs. The mechanical skill in which they have been converted is something of beauty. They look like they’ve rolled out of the factory. Well, a paint booth anyway.

We chugged down the main road. The scenery flashed before my eyes. Palm trees lined the road. Florescent signs hang from shops and lampposts sting the eyes. Crocked market stalls stand by the corner of the road selling fruits by the colour. Yellow, red, green, orange and even pink. We’re off into the shops. It looks like a middle eastern street with colours bursting from it’s seems.

We go into a ‘French’ restaurant to have lunch. Having eaten half my body weight from the two plane rides, I really wasn’t interested. I order a glass of apple juice which arrive shortly after. Freshly blended apples. Something I’ve never tried before. The Americans ordered ice teas. I wanted to taste one but thought having only just met them it might not be appropriate. After buying a Filipino sim card we headed back to the complex, guarded by security dressed all in black.

Later, whilst walking into the main building for the grand tour, a heavily armored truck was parked outside. Two men with shiny silver shotguns stood with their backs towards the wall facing the street. I presumed they were exchanging money with the company. I felt very exposed walking between them and their potential ‘danger zone’. I looked at their guns as I walk past, closer as I got to the door.

Bigfoot is a much bigger setup than I had initially thought. With huge studios and large, fully equipped edit suites. I felt out of my depth. I hadn’t felt out of my depth in my career in a while. I great indication I’m about to learn more than I can fit into my brain.

Later that evening I decided to walk over from the apartments to the main buildings to find the other interns to jump on their dinner plans. My stomach had started to growl. I met Kenneth, an American intern who arrive a week prior to me, walking back from the build and he called out my name. After having a brief chat and arranging to come and knock on my door before venturing off to find a Spanish restaurant.

At 8 o’clock we met in the foyer of the studios. The room is a wash with polished black granite. The temperature is much more comfortable in here. I wanted to take my flip-flops off and cool the bottom of my feet on the floor. I decided against it. I was introduced to the to everyone else and we start walking to the roadside to jump into one of the garish Jeepneys. The five other people with me were from all over the place. A chap from Canada, one from the states, a Filipino-American from New York, a Spaniard called Hector and his girlfriend from the south of the Philippines. I forgot the names instantly.

In the Jeepney coins were exchanged. The Canadian sorted my fare and took the appropriate coins from my hand. I don’t understand how they know how much it costs. From experience I guess, but it had me confused. I’ve read that its 7 peso for the first kilometer and the 1 peso for each click after that. This was something I would have to learn quickly! I didn’t want to piss off the Jeepney drivers. Their driving was erratic enough. Beeping their horns whenever they wish to communicate something. Normally, 'You're in my way'.

We arrive at the restaurant and crossed the road to enter. A bald man, who appeared Mexican, but was probably misjudged from the quick glance, walked over and held three fingers up. I wasn’t sure why, but we were in a darkly lit around and my nerves were up a little so I broke eye contact and walked past. Three small kids walk towards us at the restaurants entrance holding necklaces’ with seashell on. I shock my head at the one in front and walked up the steps onto the raise section of the restaurant. A security guard who was standing around the tables looked at us as we walked into the doors. We went upstairs and onto the terrace to eat. The surroundings were like something from a film set. Nothing seemed real. There were palms trees dotted around the grounds and telephone pylons with 30 odd lines running along them. It was a lovely evening eating, drinking San Megel and relating with these very inviting people. The Filipino-American was very helpful when we were talking about something I wasn‘t up to speed with and always interjected to fill me in. I called the Canadian an American which he didn’t like much. I said it later on and everyone laugh. I felt very welcome and included into this new group of people. I find it hard not to judge new people, and generally assume quickly if I would get on with them. Hopefully this experience will counteract that snap defensive mindset a little.
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