Invest in real estate close to top tourist destinations.
LAHORE, JANUARY 29, 2015: Imagine waking up to sweeping views of Machu Picchu from your bedroom window. Sipping cocktails by the pool of your own villa after a day exploring ancient ruins on the Mexican coast. Or building your dream vacation home at the base of Africa’s tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro.
Ever been on vacation and felt inspired to make the trip more permanent? Perhaps you’re considering buying a vacation home, or looking for new investment opportunities? To inspire your inner travel bug, these are some of the top properties now on the market close to historic sites, from Pakistan’s Best Real Estate Website, Lamudi.pk.
Asking price: US$1.45 million
Mexico is famous for several things, chief among them are the country’s ancient ruins and pristine beaches. And there’s one place that combines both these things in one ideal location: Tulum, with its Mayan ruins and the turquoise color of the sea set against a rugged coastline. This Mexican-style villa is located on the beachfront just a few kilometers from Tulum so you can visit the area’s historic sites then return home to relax, unwind and sip cocktails by the swimming pool.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Asking price: US$80 per square meter
Imagining waking up to stunning views over one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This 15,000 square meter block of land is located next door to Machu Picchu, a true historical treasure created by the Incan Empire. The land is waiting to be developed as a boutique hotel, spa resort or residential condominiums. The perfect investment option within Peru’s tourism sector.
Asking price: US$7,038,000
Just 40 minutes from Cartagena on Colombia’s north coast is Baru Island, a natural paradise with a booming tourism industry. Living close to the area’s white sand beach is a dream come true for many Colombians, as well as an increasing number of foreigners looking to invest here. This spectacular 23 hectare block of land includes 600m of beachfront along the Caribbean coast.
Asking price: US$35,000
Currently on the market 12km from Moshi, a district on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, is this 6000 square meter square block of land. Offering splendid views over Africa’s highest peak, the block is for sale for 60 million Tanzanian shillings, or $US35,000. Full of fruit trees and flowering plants, the property is currently used to keep horses and as a camp site for travelers. It is ready to be developed as a private home, farm or other venture – and is perfect for those looking to explore the continent’s must-see attraction.
Galle Fort, Sri Lanka
Asking price: From US$400-700
Founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the historic fortified town of Galle is the top attraction in southern Sri Lanka. Combining European architecture with South Asian traditions, the fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. This four-bedroom holiday home for short-term rent is ideally located for those looking to explore the old fort, as well as the beautiful beaches in the surrounding areas.
Intramuros, the Philippines
Asking price: US$112,700
The walled city of Intramuros is Manila’s oldest district and was the seat of government during Spain’s 333-year rule in the Philippines. This studio apartment is located in the nearby Eton Baypark Manila development. The property offers views of both the Rizal Park, where Pope Francis recently celebrated mass with about six million Manila locals, and the famed Manila Bay sunset.
Asking price: US$3,600,000
Built in the 9th century, the Borobudur Temple in Central Java is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and Indonesia’s most popular tourist attraction. Its unique design combines Javanese Buddhist architecture with Gupta art, reflecting India’s past influence on this region. Currently on the market is this 100,000 square meter block of land, which offers views over the ancient temple and the surrounding mountains.
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Asking price: About US$450,000
The birthplace of the prophet Muhammad and the holiest city in the Muslim world, Mecca attracts millions of visitors every year. The city is also home to some of the Middle East’s most expensive real estate, though only Saudi nationals can invest here. This grand villa is located near the Umm al-Qura Museum in Mecca’s Al Noaria neighbor-hood and is just 20 meters from a mosque. The property has been recently refurbished and, with its 12 large bedrooms and six bathrooms, offers plenty of space.
DUBAI: Banned fast bowler Mohammad Amir has received an early reprieve for a return to domestic cricket following his cooperation with anti-corruption officials, the International Cricket Council said on Thursday.
Amir’s five-year ban was scheduled to expire on September 2 but the 22-year-old could return to domestic cricket with immediate effect, the ICC said in a statement.
Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Amir were all banned for spot-fixing during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010, particularly for incidents during the fourth test at Lord’s.
The decision to let Amir play domestic cricket was made following the ICC board meeting in Dubai on January 28. Amir flew to Dubai a few days back to have a one-on-one interview with ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) head Sir Ronnie Flannagan.
RELATED: Amir may swing again in domestic cricket soon
The fast-bowler made headlines as a teenager when he played an important part in helping Pakistan win their maiden World Twenty20 title in 2009, which was his first international cricket tournament.
He quickly evolved into a genuine match-winner, picking up 51 wickets in 14 Tests, 25 in 15 ODIs and 23 in 18 T20Is before he was banned along with teammates Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif in the spot-fixing case.
RELATED: Mohammad Amir hopes for leniency in five-year ban
Amir’s first domestic appearance may occur in the Super-Eight T20 Tournament, which will be the last event of the current domestic season. However, the dates of the event have not been finalised yet and may be staged after the World Cup.
However, there is also a perception among the current and ex-cricketers, fans and administrators that Amir should not be given a second chance to resume cricket.
Some of the domestic and discarded international cricketers feel that they have worked hard to get into some sort of reckoning and it would be unjust to them if Amir is chosen ahead of them.
Speaking exclusively to Express News Mohammad Amir expressed gratitude to all his fans and family who supported him over the course of the past four and a half years, paying particular attention to his wife.
“My wife has supported me tremendously and has helped me through everything,” Amir said adding that he would be announcing the good news of his wedding soon.
He further added that his cricket and fitness were his main focus and he urged his friends and family to continue praying for him.
“I am confident to perform well and I will use my full potential to serve Pakistan,” he said.
Concluding, the pace bowler thanked Express News for their support and that he was grateful for never hearing any negative news about himself.
In a press conference this afternoon, Amir reiterated his gratitude for all those who showed him support during his ban and was thankful to the ICC.
“I am very glad to hear ICC’s decision,” the player said.
Commenting on his performance, Amir said that “all players come under pressure and they have to handle the pressure in a professional manner.”
In an answer to a question on how long he thought he would need to polish up on his fitness, Amir said “I don’t think I should need more than one month. I know my body and I have been playing in unregistered matches to keep up with my practice.”
With reference to the ban and the match-fixing, Amir was adamant to put the past behind him and focus entirely what he said was his ‘new life’. “As well as a better player, people will see a better human being,” he added.
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It is that time of the year when the breath of the crisp sandy cool sea breeze in the mornings confirms that our mild, desert winter is here.
With it, it brings a gush of festivities, weddings, parties and many visitors – the return of old friends and family living abroad, to enjoy winter Karachi-style. I suppose it’s because the best weather comes around this time of the year and people choose winter holidays over the summer ones to plan their events and trips. Suddenly, Karachi comes alive during the morning, afternoon and evening, as opposed to just the evening like in the sweltering days of summer.
There is a lot of excitement in every house hold as people prepare for a flurry of guests dropping in unannounced every other day. I always remember my mother having something ready to serve the guests at a drop of a hat and my grandmother would be able to produce an array of treats within seconds. In Pakistan, you feed your guests before you eat yourself, you never have less than three things on your tea trolley and you never let anyone leave your house without a cup of tea and a samosa. It’s just sacrilegious to do otherwise. Money, status and position in life don’t change this tradition but what might change is what we serve to our guests. Either way, this tradition is enshrined in our way of life and, hence, I don’t remember ever leaving anyone’s house not stuffed!
The one kind of samosas that always reminds me of my maternal grandmother (Nanny Mummy) are sweet banana parcels – tiny, crisp samosa leaves that wrap a sweet fragrant banana mixture with coconut and dusted with icing sugar. I don’t remember much else about them but what I do remember is how it felt to bite into one. The audible crunch of the pastry followed by an instant hot, sweet, aromatic burst of honey-like Pakistani banana. This reminded me of the combined pleasures of eating banana fritters and the satisfaction of devouring a McDonald’s hot apple pie and trying not to burn my tongue! One was never enough, dipped in freshly whipped buffalo milk cream, the combination was reckless but divine.
So here I have created a memory of sipping warm cardamom doodh pati chai and munching a hot banana samosa – the combination is so good that it takes me back to Karachi, to sitting with my Nanny Mummy on her soft, fluffy bed, watching her favourite show Tanhaiyan and chatting about her petunias.
This recipe makes about 10 samosas and can be either baked or lightly fried in vegetable oil. I usually bake them for the sake of unwanted additional calories and cholesterol.
Preparation and cooking time is about 20 minutes.
Ingredients for the filling:
Bananas – 2 (large, ripe and mashed)
Coconut – 60 grams (desiccated)
Cardamom seeds – 2 tsp (freshly ground)
Crumbled jaggery or Muscovado sugar – 1½ tbsp
Filo pastry sheets – 20 (each 2/5 inches wide)
Vegetable oil – to seal the samosas
Ingredients for the drizzle and decoration:
Dark chocolate – 10 pieces
Salted butter – 1 tsp
Tea – 1 tsp (ground in a mortar and pestle)
Icing sugar – to dust
1. To make the samosa filling, combine the mashed bananas with the coconut, ground cardamom, jaggery or sugar and cover it.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 200° C. Place two filo pastry sheets on top of each other and place one heaped teaspoon of the banana mixture at one corner of the sheets and fold it into a triangle, fully covering the banana mixture. Oil the filo surface as you keep folding it, until you reach the end of the pastry. Stick the loose corners together with a little oil.
3. Make all the triangles and then place on a baking sheet, brush them with oil and bake them in the oven for about three to four minutes or until they turn light brown.
4. To make the chai chocolate drizzle, place the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water on the stove, making sure that the water does not touch the glass bowl, and melt the chocolate. Add the salted butter and stir until everything is evenly melted and mixed well together. Then stir in the crushed tea leaves.
5. To serve, dust icing sugar on the samosas and lightly drizzle the chai chocolate drizzle on top of them.
Once it’s ready, you can have these with a fresh, hot cup of tea and enjoy them with your guests on a cosy winter day!
This post originally appeared here.
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One of the most popular messaging apps sure isn’t what it used to be, oh, 48 hours ago.
Snapchat on Tuesday announced a massive update called “Discover,” which will feature content from media outlets that the social network has partnered with. As of Wednesday, those outlets are CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo! News and Warner Music Group.
And just a day after the update, AT&T announced that it would premiere on the platform a superhero series called “SnapperHero.” In it, social media personalities will take suggestions from fans, influencing the show’s 12-episode story. Keeping with the Snapchat tradition, episodes of the show will disappear 24 hours after they’re first made available.
Comedy Central’s page on Snapchat’s new Discover feature. More outlets for “Broad City”: Always a good thing.
The changes seem to emphasize branded content over that from individuals.
Still, “Discover” was met with some excitement: The NiemanLab said it “could be a significant moment in the evolution of mobile news.”
But regular Snapchatters just want to know where their “best friends” went. Users have flooded Twitter with complaints about the removal of the feature allowing anyone to view the three people a user most frequently interacted with. In theory, this “best friends” feature gave you some idea of who your friends were closest with, at least on Snapchat.
Snapchat did not respond to a request for comment on the changes.
It’s worth noting that while the official emphasis on media properties is new, brands like Taco Bell have long used Snapchat to reach teens and 20-somethings. If anything, the app’s new direction signals that Snapchat wants to play along — and reap ad revenue, too. We’ll see if the audience sticks around.
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About two years ago, I got a call to work as an “extra” on an overnight shoot for the pilot of the FX show The Americans, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. “Extras” or “background actors” — euphemisms designed to spare our feelings and place us at least somewhere on the continuum with our colleagues who actually speak — are the folks that cross the street, ride the elevator, work in the cubicles and are generally peppered about a set or location, providing professional and easily controlled “atmosphere” (another euphemism). As it begins its third season, I’d like to think that I may have contributed in a small way to its success (more on that later*).
Extra work can be easy or hard. Mostly it is just boring. However, my work on The Americans was an overnight shoot so it was, at least, certain to be lucrative. Here is a breakdown of that day and night:
2:00 p.m. — The show is set in 1981 and the agency asked that I bring my own period-correct wardrobe. As an avid collector of vintage clothing, I simply went to my closet and chose a suit from 1981 (slight flare in the trouser, thin label, double vent). I put it on for the first time in years. “Gee, these trousers are a bit snug,” I thought, “but I guess I’ll be okay.” Bad decision number one. The first rule of thumb when you are bringing your own wardrobe to set is that the clothing should be comfortable. But you know that phenomena when a garment feels okay when you’re in the house and then doesn’t feel okay later? I had a very bad case of that. Ditto the very stylish Oxford lace-ups I chose, only remembering hours later why I don’t ever wear them. After a few minutes they hurt and after a few more minutes my feet felt like they were on fire. Bad decision number two. I finished the look with what I whimsically refer to as my lucky pedophile glasses: the very period-correct window-style rimless shades.
3:00 p.m. — I grabbed my overnight bag filled with reading material and jaunted out the door, leaving my apartment in Jersey City and taking the PATH train to Manhattan, and then the subway to Brooklyn.
4:00 p.m. — Unfailingly punctual, I arrived at St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn a few minutes early, grabbed a slice of pizza, then reported to the “holding area,” which is a designated place for extras to wait until required on set, where I was greeted by Abby and Kevin, the upbeat duo responsible for coordinating the background actors. The phrase “holding area” has always made me think of a farm. On this particular shoot we were a fairly large group of extras — at least thirty. Some of us were supposed to be FBI agents and others were supposed to be Department of Justice employees. This struck me as funny as I was under the impression that the Department of Justice referred to Wonder Woman, Superman and the rest of the Super Friends. I only realized later I was, perhaps, thinking of the Hall of Justice. I proceeded to find an isolated table, sat down, and started reading a book.
5:00 p.m. – Despite having just had a slice of pizza, I felt like a nosh; well at least I thought I did. It is common on a set to think you’re very hungry even when you’re not. This is due to the many hours of waiting around and the constant availability of a craft services table or truck (annoyingly nicknamed a crafty — every object and every action on a set seemingly has an annoying nickname). After a few minutes, I got permission to go over to the crafty where I ate an entire meal for the simple reason that it was there. Bad decision number three.
6:00 p.m. – We were slowly processed through hair, make-up and wardrobe. My outfit was approved and they put a little powder on my face. Not much you can do with my hair, but since I was playing an FBI agent, they seemed happy enough. We were sent to be “propped up” –another annoying expression. There is something about being told to get “propped up” that makes me want to rebel and not get “propped up” — maybe because I don’t like the sound of being “propped up,” or maybe the insider lingo suggests undue importance for what is really going to happen, which is that I am going to be walking by in the background holding a briefcase. Either way I didn’t like it, but I did it because that was my job. Turns out I brought my own prop, a period briefcase, thus ensuring I would have whatever necessities I might need with me at all times: tissues; water; a book; my phone, etc. The prop mistress did however give me an FBI badge, which made me feel slightly important, albeit briefly. Now in compliance with the mandate to be “propped up” and I moved on.
7:00 p.m. — All thirty extras were walked over to the location in the actual Supreme Court building a few blocks away and led to an on-site “holding area,” an actual courtroom, in fact. I tend to keep to myself on these shoots for the simple reason that I prefer to read and write, and if you get roped into a conversation with someone who is impervious to social cues it can be catastrophic, so I tend to be polite, professional and a bit aloof. Background actors are, as a group, a bit over-the-top in their need for attention.
Many do this kind of work for a living, and excessive talkativeness is an inevitable side effect of being a background actor with a foreground ego. Failing an actual speaking part, most will settle for peer validation and endless commiseration, which can often result in a range of social maladjustments, the most egregious being a tendency to take hostages in conversation, a form of interpersonal terrorism where the victim is forced to endure long and often bizarre monologues that usually reveal far more about the actor’s mental state than the level of acquaintance merits.
I found a bench and before I could even set up my bags, a blonde actress of “a certain age” began a rambling soliloquy of cringe-inducing over-sharing. “This courtroom is strangely familiar to me,” she began, apropos of nothing and oblivious to the fact that I was a stranger. “I wonder why?” she continued. She was acting and, apparently, I was her camera. I braced myself because I knew what was coming. “Hm. Oh, I know! The reason why is my divorce. Yeah, just got divorced a few years ago. Didn’t work out, it wasn’t the worst divorce in the world but — ya know — it was still a divorce, and I mean divorce is always painful, at least mine was. You’ll never guess why we got divorced. Turns out he was gay, can you believe it? But I said to him, ‘Listen, you’re gay, it’s fine, have a great life, I don’t want to hold you back.'” Numb and immobilized by my embarrassment for this poor, unloved extra, I nodded politely and turned back to my book, praying mightily that my colleague would find some other gay to regale with personal details of her life. What can you do in situations like this? You want to acknowledge a person’s existence but any approbation perpetuates the effluence of over-sharing, which forces you eventually to be rude. I must have found the right tone of indifference, because within five minutes Miss Lonely-hearts found a suitable replacement with whom she spent the next thirteen hours confiding deeply personal things while I, gratefully, read my book.
8:00 p.m. – Abby and Kevin asked us all to line up for inspection. The director, Gavin O’Connor, entered the courtroom and slowly began assessing the extras and separating us into sub-groups that would provide atmosphere for the different set-ups planned for the shoot. As he went down the line, the extras stood at attention with hopeful, obsequious expressions, each hoping that Gavin would assign them some preferential responsibility or — the Holy Grail for extras — the assignation of a line of dialogue that would result in a union-mandated upgrade. I took my place in line. When he got to me, Gavin asked my name. “David Munk,” I answered. “Nice period glasses, David,” he remarked, proving again that I don’t call ‘em “my lucky pedophile glasses” for nothin’. His comment, though pleasant, reminded me that despite my efforts to deny my feelings, I was in many ways as eager to feel seen as the divorcee or the rest of the “Super Friends.” We were then broken into three groups and I sat back down, conscious that my trousers, which I formerly regarded as “a bit snug,” needed to be upgraded to “extremely uncomfortable.” Could it have been my neurotic eating at the crafty?
9:30 p.m. — I was called for my first scene, which involved me waiting for a cue from Kevin, opening a door, walking out into a hallway (behind the principals who were having a conversation), walking down the corridor away from the camera, pretending to take a drink of water from a broken water fountain, walking two more steps to an elevator, pressing the button, counting to five, stepping on to the elevator, and waiting for Gavin to yell “cut.” I did this seven or eight times. It was not hard, though, to be completely honest, it did hurt my pride a little.
11:00 p.m. — Crew breaks for “lunch,” which is what they called it even though it is 11:00 p.m. We walked back to the first holding area a few blocks away. It was a huge spread (common on shoots). Though I wasn’t hungry, I overate again, filled with regret before I even finished my first serving, which did not prevent me from going back for seconds. With the second helping of “lunch” I decided it would make more sense to just stop counting my bad decisions entirely, which turned out to be something novel: a good decision. It was around this time I noticed that it was raining.
11:45 p.m. — We were told to head back to the Supreme Court building and the holding area there. Problem was the rain was now torrential. They provided vans to get us from one place to another but the van and my umbrella weren’t much help because it was raining sideways. When I got back to location, my back was soaking wet and my ill-fitting shoes, formerly merely pinching, were now squeaking, my wet socks hastening the development of festering blisters which made it impossible to walk without throbbing pain. I felt worse for the women who had to go back into hair and makeup to refresh their 1980-secretary looks which were awful in the first place, every one of them looked like Dorothy Michaels, Dustin Hoffman’s female character in Tootsie.
12:00 a.m. – I dried off quickly enough, but started experiencing stomach distress, certainly owing to the fact that my pants were two sizes too small and I had, at this point, been stuffing my face for eight consecutive hours. I also became aware of being quite tired for the first time. I noticed that many of the extras were stretched out on the courtroom benches and sleeping. I have never been able to sleep in public or in strange places and I regarded my colleagues with envy. As my eyes grew tired, I decided to switch from a book to a much more easy-to-read magazine. I took my wet shoes off to dry a bit and my feet began to swell in protest.
1:00 a.m. – I was finally called for my second scene. This one was set in an open office with several rows of tables. Once again, the FBI agents were supposed to be conversing while the principals did their scene. I was seated between two gentleman and when the director yelled “action,” we were supposed to pantomime conversation, which is actually not as easy as it seems, especially for someone like me who is not known for his subtle, small work. In fact, I was petrified of overacting. In hushed tones, extras have been known to repeat the phrase “peas and carrots,” or other nonsensical language to mimic the visual of a real conversation. When Gavin yelled action, I concentrated as hard as I could on being very, very, small and doing nothing to draw attention to myself, which to be honest, is completely inorganic for big, brassy me. The worse offense an extra can commit is “pulling focus.”
During the scene in question I found this almost impossible, not because of anything I was doing but because of what was happening around me. The actor to my right was really, really, BIG; his broad pantomime broadcasted that he was VERY UPSET about some perceived DELAY, for in his character’s interior life he had decided he was being kept WAITING. His broad gestures and exaggerated expressions screamed “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS SHIT? I MEAN HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN?” and the level of his focus pulling made me very frightened that I was going to get implicated in his gesticulated RAILING against the gods for MAKING HIM WAIT! It occurred to me that what this actor was really mad about waiting for was the acting break that he never got.
But that’s not all: the other guy, the guy to my left, pretended to talk to me about something that seemed completely different from the guy to my right’s fake anger over being kept waiting. The guy to my left was soulful and soft, like he was telling me about the loss of a beloved pet, or a recent catastrophic diagnosis. The dissonance of these two fake conversations and their concomitant competition for my attention rendered me completely mute; in fact, I became nearly catatonic, terrified as I was that any attempt to share the guy on my right’s fake disgust or the guy on my left’s emotional pain would create a tsunami of focus pulling and the director would notice and publicly rebuke me.
Instead, I ignored my scene partners completely, stared straight ahead, occasionally whispered “peas and carrots” and robotically pointed to my official FBI document, like a wind-up toy at a carnival, all the while praying for the scene to end. This went on for thirty minutes and by the end of the scene my nerves were raw, my feet were throbbing, my stomach was grinding and I completely hated the angry guy on my right and the sad guy on my left in equal measure. Finally we were led back to holding again and I limped like an old boxer back to my corner.
3:00 a.m. – After another long period of waiting, many of the other background actors were released and went home. Because of my lucky pedophile glasses, I had been chosen for the conference room scene, which was the last shot of the night. As we were led into the conference room I wished that I had been a bit fresher, as there now seemed to be a high probability that I would actually be featured. I was having difficulty walking due to stomach distress and whatever part of me wasn’t wholly focused on walking without hitting into the walls was filled with remorse that I had eaten so much. My pants were digging in to my bloated stomach and my Oxford shoes were pinching terribly and squeaked every time I took a step from the 11:00 p.m. deluge.
It was in this condition that I entered what appeared to be a conference room right out of a 1970s film like The Anderson Tapes or The Parallax View: the centerpiece of the room was a heavy oval conference table, which was accentuated by wood paneled walls that followed the contours of the table — essentially a round room. The most peculiar feature of this time-warp conference room was a recessed ceiling, also in the shape of an oval, with an elaborate lighting fixture that looked like it fell into the room from an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. If I wasn’t so troubled (feet, stomach, fatigue, hurt pride, hatred of mankind, etc.), I’m sure I would have enjoyed the perfectly preserved period room. Instead I was having trouble staying awake and trying mightily to manage the pain of my blisters and my pants that now dug into my stomach like calipers.
4:00 a.m. — As the technicians discussed angles and camera movement, I began to experience a strange auditory phenomena: the FBI agent across the table to my right would say something, but I could swear I was hearing it on my left. A moment later, someone to my left said something but I also heard it on my right. WTF? I looked up and realized that it was the ceiling whose odd physiognomy was somehow throwing the sound around the room like a ventriloquist, adding greatly to my general feeling of disorientation and anxiety. I wasn’t the only one: out of nowhere some FBI agent across the table started screaming and shaking his leg frantically, the victim, apparently, of a charley horse; but his howls of pain sounded like they were coming from behind me. I spun around in terror just as the director called “and… action!“
It took all of my remaining energy to appear to be listening actively to the principal actors and block out the auditory hallucinations, throbbing feet, stabbing pain in my stomach and general bleary-eyed state of complete exhaustion. There was one female FBI agent seated across from me whose voice carried in a strange childlike way as it bounced around the room during takes. Like some old 1970s horror film, I swore I heard her say, “Help me mommy, it hurts,” but it was just the ceiling, throwing audio clips from The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane around the room like an old rag doll.
5:00 a.m. — Would this scene ever end? By 5:00 a.m. I was in such a bad way that I looked down at my briefcase and couldn’t remember the word for it! Naturally, I feared the worst and decided it was a brain tumor, associating Elizabeth Taylor’s moment of terror prior to receiving that diagnosis when, after picking up the phone to make a call in her Beverly Hills living room, she couldn’t remember how to do it. This was all the proof I needed to know that I too had a brain tumor. My anxiety abated around the time Gavin yelled “cut” for the last time, and we were “wrapped.” It was 5:10 a.m. I hobbled out of the Court building and limped to the curb like a whore at daybreak. There were no cabs anywhere so after a few minutes of standing around trying to find a ride, I tick-tocked into the subway, back into the darkness and headed toward home.
*Addendum: Several months later I excitedly watched the pilot of The Americans on FX, waiting for my big scene in the conference room. Suddenly, the two leads burst into the strangely shaped room. The camera slowly panned down the table of FBI agents. This was it! And just as the camera reached me, to be specific, just as the tip of my index finger came into view, they cut away. After all of that waiting and work, just the last joint of my right index finger was featured for a moment in the final product. In the end, my contribution to the success of The Americans may have been as small as one joint of one finger, but there it is and it is mine.
A version of this piece originally appeared in stargayzing.com
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