20 November 2009

PBS in Puerto Vallarta

This evening I took my first sunset stroll. I walked down to the malecon as the sun was getting low in the sky. It didn’t seem like there would be much of a sunset, but I didn’t care. For me, the amazing aspect of an evening walk here is that even when the sun goes down the temperature does not drop into single digits.

Venders were setting up their stands with food and maybe other things. Early diners started to fill the restaurants across the street from the malecon. Families with little kids, couples of all ages, and group of teenagers were just beginning to fill in the promenade.

I saw a video camera man setting up a shot of a guy who seemed to me to be standing perilously close to the edge of the walkway which could end in quite a fall to the beach. Because of his serious face and tweed sports coat, the guy looked kinda goofy. A well-dressed woman held one of those large light-reflector panels to the side of his body.

My first thought was that they were doing a wedding shoot but I didn’t see any gals in white. Then I thought maybe it was a Mexican politician, and was about to ask some of the locals who had also gathered to gawk. From what I heard, they had no idea who he was. Finally I gave up trying to decipher the situation and started to walk when the guy began to talk into the camera. I heard, “This is Ray Suarez….”, and I came to a full stop.

Holy Crap! PBS is filming in Puerto Vallarta and I just happened to happen upon it! (to my non-American viewers; think BBC). I cupped my hand to my ear to try and hear what he was saying. Turns out they are here doing a program on Mexican medical tourism. Ray kept taking and talking and I kept looking for the teleprompter or for him to finish because he couldn’t possibly have memorized a speech that long. But he just kept going without missing a beat, without one “um”.
When he finished they walked towards me and the cameraman and I started to ask what the heck PBS was doing in PV. The woman was very friendly and even asked my name. She was probably the producer. I asked where the teleprompter was and she said that they had been filming for some time now so that Ray could just rattle it off. Right. Now we know one of the reasons he has that job and we don’t. Ray joined in the conversation and then they were off.

I am proud to say that I acted with dignity and did not pull out my camera and start taking pictures of the whole event. In retrospect, it might have given Ray a thrill; a little paparazzi buzz. He probably doesn’t get fans stopping him in the street too often. In fact, none of the tourists seemed to notice who he was. Oh, that’s right, they are all Canadians.

I just checked the one picture I took of the sun going down, right after Ray and producer ambled off. The cameraman is on the left-hand side probably getting a much better shot than I did.
Ray told me that the program will air sometime between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Keep an eye peeled for that report on The News Hour and visualize me standing somewhere over to his left.

What a day!