Survivor Micronesia, Episode 16
In September of 2007 the crew of more than 200 accompanied by 80 forty foot containers began arriving in Palau to build reality. Over the next 6 weeks workers would convert an empty waterfront lot located next to a luxury hotel into the Survivor Micronesia camp. in Total, the four months in Palau will once again transform this mellow island into a bustling production facility and bring millions of dollars into the local community.
Even though the show was shot almost entirely in Palau, a few charter flights to neighboring island nations would allow SEG to name the show "Survivor Micronesia Fans Vs. Favorites" instead of something repetitious like "Survivor Palau 2". They have done it before with Panama and the Pearl Islands. The sad part for Palau is that when curious viewers of Survivor google the show, they will enter Micronesia and receive information on the Federated States of Micronesia instead of Palau where the show was actually filmed. All those promises from Big Fish and SEG to promote Palau quickly disappear, poor negotiating on Palau's part.
Down the street the art department creates the challenges and sets while a helicopter pad is constructed next to Roll 'em Productions. The French made Eurostar with a Wescam mount will be used to capture Palau's stunning beauty from the air and also to tape the show opening as host Jeff Probst hangs from a red and white bell 400 helicopter at the beginning of episode 16. For the wide aerial shots doubles, know as the dream team who act as stand ins for challenge rehersals, will dress in duplicate wardrobe and renact the actions of the actual survivors. While the last episode of Survivor was based on a World War II theme, this season will revolve around the a traditional island warrior theme.
As construction on the Tribal Council begins,the production team heads out into Palau's many islands to disassemble summer houses, clean beaches and build challenges. Surprisingly the locations are spread across many islands and include many beaches used by hundreds of tourists daily. Despite the inconvenience created for locals, tour operators and other film crews. this second Palau episode is welcomed by the community at large. During the 3 months in Palau Survivor will employ hundreds of locals, hire dozens of boats and vehicles, fill many hotels and consume all the food and alcohol Palau can provide. The visiting crew, which is seemingly dominated by Australians, is a strange mix of professional television personnel and others which Survivor has picked up along the way. Students, surfers, construction workers and painters are hired in the locations survivor travels to and the lucky ones may move on with the show. The aura of the show is a different one, part film set, part surf camp and part fraternity.
In the Palau state of Airai, local craftsmen revive an old war canoe with fresh paint and attach a coconut painted like a severed head to the outrigger. In Koror the welding shop blazes with sparks crafting the items the show needs but can not buy on island. The grocery stores wrestle with trying to keep fresh vegetables on the shelf while the hardware stores sell out of even basic items such as nails.
Back in Los Angeles the contestants are going through rehearsals and wardrobe fittings where costumes are selected which represent the personalities of each contestant and allow the viewer to witness the expected weight loss to occur over the forty days of production. Soon they will board continental Airlines for the 24 hours of travel that will land them at the Palau International Airport in late October. After a couple of days for recovery, production will begin as the survivors, some new and some returns, make their way to the 2 tribal camps located on Ulong Island and Ngereblobong Beach. Interestingly Ulong Island is the same site as a tribal camp in the earlier Palau episode.
The 2 tribes eventually named Malakal and Airai would be located quite far from each other. The camp located on Ngereblobong Beach sits in a cove where at low tide the beach is in accessable by boat. The solution is to build a crooked wooden walkway from the camp out to the deep water.
Up in the state of Ngarrard, North Beach Cottages are being stocked with all the things a survivor needs after they are voted off at Tribal Council. The private bungalows at North Beach will slowly fill with the first eight loosers before they are all shipped off for exotic vacations half way through the show. The second half of the survovors who participate in Tribal Council will take an hour van ride every third day to the base camp in Malakal and then on to a boat for the 10 minute ride to German Dock where Tribal Council has been constructed. While at North Beach the survivors are kept inside the resort, however life is good with a private beach and an army of production assistants to cater to their every need.
Check back for more of the full Survivor Micronesia story.
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