But the reception pales in comparison to what she gets at the next stop, a heavily downmarket mall that she says she visits regularly. (En route, we take several detours. "I built this highway," she notes, then points out other major projects constructed on her watch: her cultural center, convention center, film center, hotels, hospitals.) Finally, we pull into the 168 Shopping Mall, in an area of Old Manila that Borgy describes as the local equivalent of East Harlem. She applies a quick layer of powder from her gold Buccellati compact and steps regally out of the car. Immediately, shoppers swarm. Her security detail steers her up an escalator to the food court, where Imelda, indeed, holds court. For about 45 minutes, shoppers approach her, asking her to pose with them for pictures, which she very happily does while soaking up the acclamation. "Thank you for everything you did for us," says one woman. "We love you so much," says another. One gentleman pulls a 1968 pocket calender with the Marcoses' picture on it out of his wallet. A little girl approaches and says, "I'm Imelda too."
As the masses take their photos, Imelda's photographer robotically snaps them snapping, and W's photographer, in turn, records thata surreal scene, to say the least. Imelda's photographer has seemingly been shooting away on his old-fashioned 35mm camera constantly for two days now, and it occurs to me that I haven't noticed him change film once. Is the camera even loaded? Maybe. Maybe not. But that's not the point. For Imelda, it's the attention that matters.