The production company had it all locked down – watertight – top secret – right to the last minute as they checked in for their flight to `Denpasar on the Island of the `Gods – Bali.
Australia’s most annoying and persistent paparazzi – let’s just call him “nuisance” – had tailed them to Sydney international airport, deduced where they were headed and bought himself a costly, last-minute ticket. He was arriving on a different flight, but just under an hour later.
His mathematics had him out of the terminal with no luggage about the same time as the group, waiting for a tonne of gear and their transport, so he could lie in wait, which is what he did, casually leaning on a scooter at the exit.
Smoothly tailing the bus to the Sofitel into the leafy, green enclave of Nusa Dua – he surreptitiously watched them unload excitedly and checked into a nearby cheap hostel as the hotel was fully booked when he called from the main gate and enquired.
Next day he tracked them to a helicopter base, where his money was refused to charter a chopper, as the `Government has closed the airspace unexpectedly.’ A day’s shooting saved in the can safe from a prying lens.
No dumbass, he knew he could not enter the hotel’s grounds and whip out his long telephoto lens, without running the risk of being arrested and slammed into a cell in Kerobokan. As protected VIP’s with government assistance, he had to devise a cunning plan to shoot from outside the boundary.
So he hung out on his scooter with the locals, blending in just outside the main gate hoping to see them sweep out in their cavalcade to film, or glean some intel from staff and locals.
We got word of his whereabouts from an eagle-eyed security guard, who recognised him from the circulated “NOT WELCOME” photo, so we headed to the main gate from the pool where we had been sitting.
We needed to look like guests – not corporate hounds, and we did in our swimsuits, wet hair and towels slung over our shoulders. With a mic-headset discreetly in place, we chatted with the Manager and security as we sauntered to the front gate, where we were stopped by an authoritarian guard saying we could not exit. “What the? What’s going on, we whispered into the mic…” to be told we were stalled because the zealous guard thought we were trying to steal the pool towels!
A quick order from the Manager to let us go, and we strolled out to the street looking left and right, trying to identify him from the plentiful internet photos we’d seen of him, as he stalked celebrities, fronted court or dodged TV reporters.
Three minutes later – bingo there he was talking earnestly to the security guard at the adjoining hotel staff entrance gate. Quick. Think. 60 seconds come up with a plan!
So we lured him in. It wasn’t hard.
We talked very loudly as we passed by him, pretending to complain about our mis-treatment as guests at the Sofitel, all because the TV crew were filming that day. We couldn’t use the main pool because they were filming, we were suitably mock-outraged.
Next minute “Ladies, ladies,” he called as he puffed up behind us on foot. “Did I overhear you say they are filming the finale today? What time is it happening? It’s just I am supposed to be there to photograph the stars for their newspaper story.”
Hook. Line. And sinker.
We informed him it was happening at 6pm by the main pool and it was closed to the public, and we hotel guests. We grizzled and said how annoyed we were. He took sympathy on us and even suggested we contact Management to ask for a refund, which was comical considering we worked for the hotel company!
So, at 3pm the cast and crew shot their scenes – not at the main pool, and were finished and back at their villas by 5:30pm when he surfaced, skulking at the border hiding his camera under his shirt.
A quick discussion about Police and Government reps being on their way to examine the contents on his camera and possibly his hard disk too, because, when he had entered Indonesia on a tourist visa, apparently on a holiday, they would be surprised to find he was papping Australia’s top reality stars, and he was gone.
He had disappeared back down the drain, his mission to terrorise a wearied TV crew aborted by two PR chicks with wet hair.
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