Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1965) - Return to Sai Wan Fort, Shau Kei Wan

After posting about Jean-Paul Belmondo's and Ursula Andress' trip to Sai Wan Fort for Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine I mentioned I would try and get up there to take some comparison pictures. Well, today was the day and here are some of the results.

The first picture shows the slope going up to the top of the fort structure. The slope is still there but it now has a set of steps cut into the middle and as you can see the external slope has been shored up by riprap.

At the top of the slope, the view is changed mainly due to the amount of tree growth that has occurred. As a result the lower area seen on the centre left of the next picture is no longer visible from the same place. The structures seen in the film are still fairly intact, the one exception is the large building seen in the top picture: it has been knocked down at some point and replaced by a small rest garden and a rain shelter (the structure with the orange roof in the lowest picture below.

The next picture is the view looking over towards the island formerly known as Fat Tong Chau. It's still called that but has been reclaimed and is now part of the Clearwater Bay peninsula. Both pictures (the film  grab and my own) were taken from the very top of the slope. Actually, if you look closely at the wall in the film grab you can see a circular dent in the cement on the right - you should be able to spot the same dent in my picture.

 For the next picture we move around to the east facing side of the fort. The top of the fort has since been turned into a radio transmission station and the top is completely fenced off. This section of the fort is also marked as prohibited to enter but we (I was doing my exploring with David Bellis from Gwulo.com) were being given an impromptu guided tour by a local hiker and he said everyone wanders all over the place so not to worry. The section that juts out now has a radio mast fitted to the top and it looks like some concrete reinforcement work has gone on for that purpose because the top now has a lip. The bit on the wall is the fenced-off section I mentioned.

Next we move over to the opposite side of the fort and what is the west facing wall. This is the wall that is scaled by all the assassins in the film and to get there we had to skirt the fence and push through some trees. As you can see from my comparison shots, this side is also completely overgrown. The second of my two pictures was taken about half way along the wall. In the film you can see the development going on in distant Chai Wan but it's a view that can't bee seen from this spot anymore.

And finally there is the final part of our trip to the fort that involves Belmondo et al dropping into what appears to be some tunnels via a ground level hatch. The personal visit showed us that the hatch has now gone - it's been sealed with concrete - and it doesn't lead to tunnels but was actually an access hatch for a water reservoir. You can see some of the pipework in my first comparison picture. The section of the wall we were just looking at previously is hidden behind all that tree growth.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable little excursion and I have to thank David for coming along (he will do a more detailed write up of all the other non-film related places we visited) and for Mr Chan - the local hiker who we disturbed from his morning newspaper perusal and who then proceeded to take us - not just around the fort but also - down into the nearby former barracks at Lei Yue Mun Holiday Camp.

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