After a gruelling 14 hour flight with 3.5 hour stop over in Kuala Lumpar, the production of Travel Warning in Beijing
neared its beginning.
After only three hours sleep, we were met at our hotel by Andy, an enthusiastic young man with abundance of knowledge and energy. At around 8:00am we had hopped into the car (with our driver Mr Tian – who we would come to nickname The Enforcer), and drove along the Jingping Expressway to the Pinggu District in the east of Beijing.
The drive gave us time to relax from the early morning and lack of sleep. We managed to get shots of the traffic and scenery as we drove.
Our first stop was to take a stroll through the apple and pear orchards.
We picked this tour as part of our shoot for the scenes where our main character learns and appreciates nature, after being taken in after getting in trouble.
We enjoyed the scenery and atmosphere, as Richard, our main character and actor, picked apples by hand. We weren’t sure how many to pick, so Richard kept picking as I kept shooting.
I think they wondered why I wasn’t picking much, but I just kept my focus on filming and eating an apple now and again.
The bag came to 5kg and approximately $15 AUD, which looked like a ridiculous lot of apples when you looked at it in the plastic bag.
We then continued out tour with a visit to Stone Forest Gorge. The stone forest valley is 6 kilometers long with its main peak looking like trees put together, hence the name stone forest for the scenic area. The stone forest gorge area has dense plantations and fresh air, a good place to walk close to the greatness of the nature.
More shots out of the car, and of our characters looking out of the car.
We arrived at the bottom of the world’s largest glass sightseeing platform. It is hung out from the cliff on the highest peak inside Stone Forest Gorge (Shilinxia Scenic Area), 11 meters longer than the Grand Canyon Skywalk inside the Grand Canyon National Park in the United States. The transparent sightseeing platform allows you to have a terrific view of the valleys and mountains below.
Here we got many shots as we scaled the steep incline. At the top we managed to get some scenic shots of the area.
After the gruelling hike up the mountain, and (easier) gondola ride we returned to the bottom to visit Mrs Li and her husband Mr. Hao in their courtyard home. A few years ago Mrs. Li retired and left the busy downtown Beijing and relocated to her husband birth place for spending the retirement life.
Now she eats the vegetables she plants in her front yard and the Geese & Chickens in her back yard, enjoying an organic living and healthy life. We had a delicious home lunch made by Lady Li, which included fish, chicken, tofu, meat pancakes, vegetables and a refreshing Chinese tea.
We managed to get some shots also for the scenes after he gets in trouble and is taken in by the community.
From there, we travelled through the winding roads the Bolitai Great Wall, made of rocks and stones, not bricks made in kilns. Only one section of the wall in Village has been cleared and cleaned, with bushes and saplings removed from the wall.
Here we were able to film some climbing and walking scenes to finish.
The trip back to downtown Beijing was horrific with traffic setting back our arrival by approximately two hours.
Overall it was a very successful day shoot, having experienced some amazing scenery. Although the scenes weren’t furthering the story or plot much, (that would be days later), we were quite happy with the amount of footage we did get, especially in regards to the variety of locations and experiences encountered.
Exhausted, we had an early night sleep, but not before we backed up the footage to laptop and charged the batteries.
176 flights of stairs climbed