They’re filming portions of the next James Bond movie here in Casco which, if nothing else, gives me something new to make fun of.
To date, the preparation for the filming has taken place mostly at the bar below our apartments where crew gather around ten every morning for cold beer. They’re there sporadically throughout the day which would lead one to believe they’re not getting anything done. But in truth, there’s no way to tell as all the progress is behind the large gate of Club Union.
It’s an old building which was subject to bombings by the US military during the Noriega era and that which will soon play host to a luxury hotel with perhaps the best view in Panama City. I like to wander around the Bond film set and eavesdrop in on their conversations. This is made significantly easier by the fake James Bond ID card which I fabricated on a lazy Sunday afternoon last month.
One conversation spilled the beans about the renovation process on Club Union, which I found out will be transformed into an Embassy. I hear the word “Boliva” tossed around a lot by these guys which makes me believe that our beloved Casco Viejo streets may not be featuring as themselves in the movie, but rather as the Latin American neighbor to the south.
The Cultural Institute (that’s what it’s called, right?) we have here, next to the famed Las Bovedas restaurant, is currently being given a facelift as well. They’ve affixed awnings to many of the windows, donning the words “Grand Andean Hotel”. The Andes, being the world’s largest mountain range, sit between Boliva and Peru which would make perfect sense for the Boliva lead I picked up.
I find myself subconsciously acting like Bond himself in many of my outings: trying artfully, even deviously to figure out as many Bond secrets as possible before they are announced to the public on a website Mi6.com-a website I have come to monitor like the stock market.
Having James Bond in town has bothered a lot of residents, but not yours truly. I like to use the time with our temporary British neighbors, to do practical things like work on my English accent or drink tea sometime before dinner. I’m excited for the true film to come out and hope it might bring a little bit of attention to our little piece of paradise here in Casco. If, at the very least though, I am able to correctly predict several more key pieces of information about the Blockbuster hit, I’ll be content.