LAST EDITED ON 02-05-03 AT 08:03 PM (EST)
I wish I had some info that would help spoil the ending tonight, but then I wouldn't be in this forum, would I?
But I want to share a few observations I made from visiting the locale of the shoot last night and talking to the staff.
I had been wanting to go down to the site, and since it was my wedding anniversary, we got to splurge on a dinner overlooking the beach, the one where they "surfed" and did the hula.
(The Beach House restaurant where we ate is outside seating and looks right down on the beach from the north. You can only see the gray roof on the photo...)
As you may know, the shooting headquarters were at the Orchid at Mauna Lani Hotel on the Big Island, in November or thereabouts, according to a waiter who was there. The hotel was bought by Fairmont in December and was originally the Ritz Carlton.
As one might expect from the Ritz, even the bathrooms are marble, and the dining room they rented to confer and hold executions, The Grill, has fabulous koa wood panelling. Very elegant. These celebs had some of THE BEST Hawaii has to offer.
The part where I was disappointed: our waiter had been here during the filming, but had no idea who the Mole was or who won. Fair to say he had no interest in that aspect and hasn't even watched the show.
I found this interesting thinking of Chill One's posts about what the hotel staff in Brazil observed of S6. It confirmed my feeling that while staff are intrigued by the presence of a TV shoot, and affected by it somewhat, unless they are fans they aren't that interested in the substance.
This hotel has had really famous movie stars stay there, so I suppose these "celebs" were pretty minor in comparison, as when I mentioned Kathy Griffin the waiter didn't even remember her.
So what did I come away with? I got to see how well the shoot masked all the activity going on around it. The beach there is one of the most beautiful and serene on the island but it's tiny, and serves a large hotel that charges 300-2000 a night, and I wondered if they would close the beach.
The waiter said no, they shot early in the morning while guests were eating breakfast up on the terrace overlooking the shoot, and at other quiet times. Also, just out of the shots is a big hotel complex, and they did a good job of making the feel secluded. They did close down the one indoor restaurant and rent it to them, but kept the signature outdoor dining room open.
The surfing they did--well, this little beach is one of the calmest on the island, and one of the only places with a little calm lagoon on the water. Not typical Hawaii, and the sand there is not Big Island sand, which is coarse. They brought in sugary white sand from Molokai on barges. So the look of the beach there reinforces an illusion of the beaches (white sand and calm water) that I only wish were true.
The rocks are indeed vicious there, though, and I couldn't blame Kathy for complaining about a scrape. They hurt. And WHY they would torture anyone with wearing a wet suit in 90 degree temperatures is beyond me. Nobody wears wet suits except people doing depth diving.
The waiter said everyone at the hotel got a good laugh at the fake hot lava in Puako...
and I groaned last week when they transported them to "the other side of the island"--instead they drove to Kailua, the closest town. It was funny seeing them run through Kailua--if you've never been there, it is so friggin hot and the air makes me cough from all the volcano gases piling up there. That's where they do the Ironman run, in part, and I sure wouldn't run there.
So, all in all, the entire show only travelled from Waipio Valley to Kailua, maybe a quarter of the island's circumference. I guess the celebs had massages scheduled or something...
Only other thing to report is that my son saw Baldwin jogging on the highway a couple days ago as my son drove to work (at a spot about 5 miles north of the hotel where they shot). Baldwin was his favorite, so he was stoked.
Curious. Maybe he liked it here?