Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Contagion - Matt Damon (2011) - Victoria Park Road Lay-by, Hong Kong

Just off the main road in Causeway Bay, where Gloucester Road joins with Victoria Park Road, is a small lay-by. This is the location of the kidnapping. The car and van cruise in, pull up, and poor Dr Orantes (Marion Cotillard) is carted off against her will. The big cream building in the background is the very recognisable Excelsior Hotel.

As you can see by the Streetview capture below, the place hasn't changed. Of course this is not surprising considering it has only been a few years since filming was done, but you never know - this is Hong Kong after all...

Legend has it that the Excelsior sits on Lot No.1 - the very first plot of land sold after the Brits took possession of HK Island. Although I can't find any reference to a plot of land known as "Lot No.1" (there is no such name for land lots within the Govt mapping website - though they have probably changed over the years) I have no doubt that this is the case. The land was originally leased to Jardine Mathesons for their East Point premises. The area in front of the hotel is the location of the famous Noonday Gun (the full name should really be the Jardine's Noonday Gun) and is still owned and operated by the company. Also, if you look up the ownership of the hotel, it is run by Mandarin Oriental which is, of course, owned by Jardines.

So you see, even after all these years the original opium peddling British company that was behind the push for HK in the first place, is still very comfortably sitting on the same plot of land it gained at the start of HK's colonial history back in 1841...

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