Monday, December 29, 2008

LOST on Oahu

Hello my dear friends -

As Season Five is now less than a month away (!!!), I realized I better get my act together and write about the rest of my time on Oahu. I still intend to post some thoughts on the bevy of S5 previews that have been released over the past few weeks... and I have yet another jealousy-inducing surprise to throw down before January 21... but for now, let's revisit my fateful day on The Island, shall we?

After our incredible run-ins with Michael Emerson (Ben) and Terry O'Quinn (Locke), my husband and I still had eight hours left on Oahu with Jeff from Kos Tours! Needless to say, we made the most of it...


In selecting the pictures for this recap, I realized very quickly that a shot of, say, the tree under which Kate and "the man she loved... the man she killed!" buried a time capsule lunchbox isn't all that interesting. It is, in fact, just a nice picture of a tree that happened to be in an episode of Lost.

Exhibit A - The tree as seen in the show:

Exhibit B - The tree as it looks now:

Wait a second... under the tree... is that the infamous black horse that Kate has run into both off and on the Island? Do I now have to post ALL of my hundreds of pictures from Oahu in order to allow fellow Lost fanatics to thoroughly inspect them for clues? No, no... I refuse to tempt anyone with that painful exercise. I'll stick to posting only the most recognizable locations we visited and tell myself that the horse under Kate's tree was just a coincidence. As was the black SWAN we saw swimming in a pond near the temple used in a few key Sun and Jin flashbacks. As was the boar that chased us through the jungle...

Just kidding -- no boar knocked us into the mud and left creepy whispers in his wake. He's still out there -- continuing to torment Sawyer, I'm sure.

Moving on...

I neglected to mention in my last post that as my husband and I made our way on foot through downtown Honolulu in order to find that day's Lost set, we passed a building that I instantly recognized (and that has since been discussed in a similar capacity in the Season Four DVD extras):

I'm sure you remember it, too, as it's the site of Desmond and Faraday's first encounter.

If only I'd run into either of them!

And where the Drive Shaft Duo decided to move forward with their record contract.

And the background for the still-to-be-figured-out picture of Brother Campbell and the freaky Ms. Hawking.

As well as the spot where the fateful meeting of De-monked Desmond and Penny went down!

Yes, both the exterior and interior of St. Andrew's Priory have been used in a lot of episodes over the years. And here's a random fact for you -- Dog the Bounty Hunter's office is just a few blocks away. Who knew?

Before I continue on to show pictures from outside the center of Honolulu, I should mention that there are tons of spots downtown that have been used in the show time and time again, just like the Priory. But it was kind of pointless to take pictures of them because -- well, take "Penny's house," for example. It looks drastically different now -- with nary a prop or camera in sight -- than it did in "The Constant." So I'll spare you those shots and the long explanations that would have to go along with them.


After my husband and I recovered from the shock of chatting up Mr. O'Quinn and had taken in a few of the other sites downtown, we rejoined our guide Jeff, climbed back into the Hummer and headed to Byodo-In Temple.

The temple is behind Sun and Jin in the screencap above, and it looks exactly the same now. Which is to say that it's still absolutely gorgeous. Below is the gazebo featured in that same episode, "House of the Rising Sun."

It's no longer draped in streamers and party lights, but it remains a charming little spot, don't you agree?

We really enjoyed walking around the grounds -- the peaceful atmosphere helped us to fully calm down from the morning's excitement. But we couldn't rest for very long, because next came The Ranch.


Kualoa Ranch, where the vast majority of Lost's jungle scenes are shot, is privately-owned land. Thankfully, Kos Tours has been granted a permit for access. I can't tell you how thrilling -- and also a bit spooky -- it was to have the run of this incredible area. No one else was around. I kept expecting Smokey to whomp us at any moment.

But he didn't, and therefore I was able to get my nerd on and reenact several particularly memorable scenes from seasons past. I started with the infamous climb up the hill (from the pilot episode), where Shannon finally translates Danielle's ominous transmission.

No signal for me, either.

If you've watched the DVD extras, you're aware of how the effects team is able to enhance the appearance of every location using CGI and other tricks. Greens become greener, mountains slightly shift position, shrubbery appears, trees disappear... you'll see some of the subtle differences between the real locations and how they look in the show throughout the rest of this post.

But there is one area that looks pretty much exactly as it did on screen... Who can forget "the first, and hopefully last Island Open"?

Guess what? Hurley's still there!

After some faux golf, I made my husband act like Goodwin on the logs where the infamous Other and Ana Lucia grew increasingly agitated before finally coming to blows.

Don't worry, I didn't impale my husband with a stick after our little scuffle.

Jeff and I then chilled for a bit at the site of the Jack and Ben Season Three Finale Showdown, aka The Place Where Bet Gets His Ass Kicked. Yes, the same logs are still there.

In retrospect, this probably wasn't the most romantic spot for my husband and I to pose, huh?

Perhaps the most fun we had all day was when Jeff recreated Hurley and Charlie's downhill Dharma Van joy ride for us in the Hummer. I wish I would've taken a video as we bumped along -- it was hilarious.

And here we go... Yee-haw!

Interestingly enough, the area where Hurley did donuts at the bottom of the hill after he and Charlie realized that they were still alive was filmed in a different location a little further down the dirt road, still on the ranch. Rest assured that Jeff took us for a spin in that area, too.


No visit to Kualoa Ranch would be complete without stopping by The Tempest! Once a World War II bunker and now home to a small movie museum, The Tempest didn't look quite as foreboding as it did in "The Other Woman."

And you know I made my husband reenact the Jack/Juliet ("Jacket") kiss!

That's right, folks... you can go INSIDE of The Tempest, because it's back to being a movie museum, hence the stuff on the walls. Alas, Faraday and Charlotte are long gone.

One place I didn't like visiting was the Skeleton Pit... the very spot where Ben shot Locke and left him for dead, thereby causing me to lose five years off of my life. It's all filled in now, but you can still see its outline in the grass.


If you ever visit Oahu and are interested in taking the Kos Tour of Lost filming locations, know that -- with the exception of St. Andrew's Priory and Byodo-In Temple -- all of the spots I've included pictures of above are covered in their five-hour tour (and a subset are in the two-hour tour if you're pressed for time). Since my husband and I booked a private ride around the island, we saw a combination of sites from the five-hour itinerary and the full-day "Circle Island" tour, which is made up of a completely separate group of Lostorific places outside of Kualoa Ranch.

One of those stops is where the ill-fated drug plane perched from a cliff...

... Or did it?

Below is what the area really looks like. Jeff said that during filming of Locke and Boone's scenes with the plane, the parking lot was covered with greenery to make it look like the jungle floor, and the plane was only a matter of a few feet above the ground. All hail the power of special effects!

The plane now rests, along with a ton of Oceanic 815 wreckage (I do believe that's one of the huge engines under the tarp), inside of a gated area near a small airfield. All of the suitcases and other random debris from the crash site are piled up in this spot, too -- it's really bizarre.

I've never felt any love for the Others, but if you keep arguing that maybe they're just "misunderstood," then perhaps you would've enjoyed our quick stop in New Otherton (aka "the Barracks"), which serves as a camp for children when Ben's not around.

I turned back shortly after this shot was taken -- it was too creepy!

What was not nearly as creepy was making our way across slippery rocks to the "Survivor's Beach" -- the location where all of the beach camp scenes have been shot.

Jeff told us that just three days earlier, Sawyer's tent was in clear view, but it had been moved by the time we got there. As you can see from the picture below, the beach itself doesn't have anything on it. The set pieces are in a woody spot to the left (out of frame), behind a taped-off area that's guarded by a security officer.

It was incredibly surreal to see all of the makeshift shelters used by the Lostaways -- I kept expecting Vincent to run out from one of the tents! (This one might be worth clicking to enlarge...)

Next, my husband and I attempted to reenact the scene where Kate and Sawyer return from their fun-filled stay in cages on the secret neighboring island. I think we look even more exhausted than they did, don't you?

Last up was the place where it all began... the site of the Oceanic 815 crash. Before visiting Oahu, I had always figured that the crash beach and the camp beach would be one in the same, but they're actually nowhere near each other.

At the end of the crash beach, a very recognizable tree stands proudly...

Thankfully, no zombies were spotted while we were there.

The crash site is literally right off of a paved highway (not a major highway, but still), so I can't lie and say that it was easy to picture the 815 wreckage strewn all over the place -- it wasn't. The sandy beach was significantly smaller than I had imagined it would be, and it's obviously heavily CGI'd for the show. However, Jeff was pretty sure he knew exactly where Locke had chosen to sit during the pilot episode. Therefore, I of course had to take a moment of silence and meditate there myself!


It had been a long, productive visit to The Island. We climbed back in the Hummer -- a little sweaty, a little sandy, and with more than a few rocks in our shoes, but I don't think I need to tell you that our day trip to Oahu couldn't have been any better. Not only did we actually run into an episode shoot and get a chance to talk with the man, the myth, the legend behind my favorite character, but we also covered the entire island and visited countless locations from the past four seasons. A big thanks once again to everyone at Kos Tours for the great experience and memories!

After ten or so hours together, Jeff returned us to the airport and we said our goodbyes. As my husband and I headed into the terminal and shot one last glance back at the big yellow Hummer, our fearless guide rolled down the window and shouted with all his might,

"LONG... LIVE... LOCKE!!!"

It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

- e