The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Canine Artifacts in Vietnam

I visited the ruins of Kuong My in Vietnam a couple of years ago. The complex was built by the Cham in Tam Ky about 950 AD. Few foreigners every stop there as the town (south of Hoi An) if far out of the way. The caretaker took me to a pile of rubble among the towers and pointed out this little brick with a dog print. Proof that this little dog had once lived, more than 1000 years ago. Its a cute little artifact. I just hope the doggie didn't end up as lunch for the construction workers who built the place!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The View from the Dale Movie Set in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Yesterday Peter Jackson posted his official 11th Production Diary for The Hobbit. In it, he gives us a pretty spectacular behind-the-scenes view of what's been going on during filming of pick-ups the last few weeks in Wellington, New Zealand. One of the featured sets in the video is the city of Dale, which we see early on at the prologue of The Hobbit, and we will again see in the next movie, The Desolation of Smaug, and the final movie in the trilogy as well. The city--which is desolated by the dragon Smaug--is in fact the namesake of the second movie. In the video, we see extraordinary views of the Dale set re-assembled, prepped and filmed over the past month. While you've now seen the set itself, have you ever wondered what you'd actually see if you were there as an actor--what you'd see if the camera were turned around from the actor's point of view?

Below are photos from just beyond the edge of the Dale movie set--things you'd see say, if you were an actor going for a smoke of some hobbity tobacco, off to take a wee dwarven pee, or if you grabbed your lunch and you and your fellow cast and crew sat out to enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding you between filming scenes of The Hobbit.

The Dale film set sits on the northern end of the Miramar Peninsula between a public park at the Massey Memorial, and a recently-closed prison. The set was also used to film scenes from King Kong and The Lord of The Rings. Its less than 10 minutes drive north, via the old prison, from all of the main studios in Miramar (a suburb of Wellington). Otherwise Massey Memorial is reachable on foot from a path on the north-west side of Miramar Peninsula.

The beautiful path leading up to the Massey Memorial from the main road below is reminiscent of Mount Victoria (another suburb of Wellington), where the hobbits first encounter a ring wraith (the 'get off the road scene').

The Massey Memorial

From the Dale movie set there is nearly a 360-degree 
(well, maybe 315-degree) view of the Wellington Harbor.

Beautiful views from the hilltop where the film set is located. These are the same views your favorite hobbits, elves and dwarves saw from Dale. The city of Wellington appears in view above.

The path leads back down to the road on the other side of the peninsula, to the main road, and onto one of my favorite cafes--Scorch-O-Rama--at Scorching Bay.