“Are you wearing a bra?”
That was one of the first sentences directed to me upon landing. We did not collect our luggage because it didn’t arrive. As we came out of the airport, our film crew was waiting. We did not make the expected dramatic appearance pushing a mountain of aluminum cases on two trolleys. It was just us, dragging our carry-on.
The soundman needed to mic me in the airport lobby. With exquisite courtesy in his accented English, he inquired about my undergarments. He needed a sturdy mount for the mic.
It took two hours to rig our taxi with cameras and lights. You think a documentary is just a camera following the action, but the action must be lit and wired for sound.
The sound and camera crew crawled around in the taxi while we waited beside it at the airport. Meanwhile, our film director hinted of some sort of surprise to be found inside our hotel room. The room and hotel are gorgeous, we were promised. But whatever it was that we’d find in the room was left intentionally ambiguous.
There’s a lot about this project that’s ambiguous, or at least unknown. We know what we’re looking for and we know what resources and how much time we have for the search. But we don’t know what we’ll find. We’re meddling in a criminal subculture and can’t predict the reaction we’ll elicit from the thieves. And what about their bosses? If we’re poking into organized crime—and we believe we are—will the bosses feel threatened? Will they be angered? Or will they just smirk and laugh at us?