Thursday, July 3, 2008

Interview with a vampire

Virtually every day, one or more of our interview subjects postpones or just doesn't show (despite the standard 2-3 confirmation phone calls that precede each interview). Usually, their excuses for bailing are lame, but today we had a good one. Our final interviewee was right where he was supposed to be at the appointed hour... but we couldn't get to him because the building was locked down in a three-way stand-off among riot police, our interviewee's allies who had barricaded themselves inside, and a garrot of striking sanitation workers encircling the building with placards denouncing our interview subject (by name, in 2,000-point font) as an "Enemigo de los Trabajadores, Traidor, Chupa Sangre" ("Enemy of the Workers, Traitor, and Blood Sucker").

Said Nicole: "Maybe this isn't the best day to interview him."

Hopefully we'll interview the vampire tomorrow, but aside from him we are basically done with our Bolivian interviews, and we head for Peru on Saturday.

Much to my delight, we are actually already done typing up our notes on all 35 interviews, thanks partly to Nicole's unnatural desire to always be caught up on everything, and also thanks to GoogleDocs, which has made the entire process efficient, allowing me, Nicole, and César to simultaneously work on the same unified document for each interview, even now that César is back in Peru.

Nicole also had her first completely solo interviews today, as we had (intentionally) double-booked each interview time slot so we could cover more ground. One of the premises of this project is that Nicole is here not principally to learn (though she does that too!), but rather to contribute. And sure enough, we are able to cover far more ground, far faster.

It's been great working with James Lerager (Jaime) this week. We knew it would be awkward bringing his mega-camera into suspicion-laden environments, but his engaging style (and his photo of him chilling with Evo Morales) won over basically everybody. Tonight Jaime had prints made of 30 or so of the portraits he took, and tomorrow we'll deliver these as parting gifts to most of the people we interviewed. The photos look great and we will try our best to get some of them posted tomorrow.

Buenas noches,

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