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Tuesday had been a very full day (were there really only 24 hours in it?) and our two mystery guests, Jim and Peter, were now gone. So on Wednesday morning sitting in the hotel lobby with Karen Mines we were very surprised when F. Braun McAsh came strolling in. We greeted him and he joked that he was just there to return his key card to the hotel. In fact, he was our 3rd mystery guest. He left us guarding his bag of swords while he went off in search of Carmel and a cup of coffee.

When we pilled into the bus we had Braun for a tour guide, pointing out to us all the tv and movie production studios along the way. Our first stop was the Aaron Spelling Production building that was the Highlander production building during season 5 and was also used as a police station during that season. It was raining while we were there so I didn't get out to take pictures. This was actually just about the only bad weather during the tour and it cleared up before we got to our next stop, Deer Lake Park.

After an expert demonstration of bus-backing up skills by our bus driver, we found a good place to get out. This park was the site of Amanda's fantasy sequence in Dramatic License. We had a Q&A regarding fight choreography and Braun explained in detail how large-scale battle scenes that look very random are actually painstakingly planed and executed. He then gave us a demonstration of thowing stage punches with Carmel as an impromptu victim.




We moved on to the Sunset Beach just below the Burrard Street Bridge. The bridge is where Connor and Duncan fought Slan Quince in The Gathering and the beach is where Duncan pulled Connor from the water.





From there we went to Stanley Park. We stopped at the Sequoia Grill at the Tea House at Third Beach for lunch. Braun moved from table to table during courses. After lunch we enjoyed the stunning views from the beach. If I lived in Vancouver I don't think I would ever tire of Stanley Park or this fantastic beach.



Staying in Stanley Park, we went to see the totem poles. Very nice examples of poles from a variety of coastal tribes, the area was full of tourists taking pictures. We drifted from the mass of tourists for two reasons: first, there was the best view yet of the sulfur piles from the nearby shoreline. Second, there was also a nearby seawall that was where Duncan and Amanda fell into the water when shot in The Return of Amanda.

When we gathered back at the bus, Braun talked to us about sword design and demonstrated the design and use of Silas' bronze-age ax, Caspian's sword, and Consone's flamberge sword.



Back to the hotel, I went to pick up my photos from David's camera. Not a bad shot in the bunch. I had already talked to Ree about a possible fundraiser for Project Edan involving the picture. After showing them to Carmel, I will probably also put something together for PEACE.

Dinner was at the Water Street Cafe in Gastown. Great food, but the service was extremely slow. That was okay with me. It had begun to dawn on me that there were a very limited number of meals left on the tour, so I made a point of sitting with people I hadn't shared a meal with yet: Carmel, Karen Scott, Nancye, Lesley, along with Bev who was one of my normal breakfast crew.

More pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valoise/sets/72157602579713628/
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The dojo and Duncan and Tessa's antique store - these are definitely two places I wanted to see and on Tuesday that's where we started. The bus took us to Gastown, the neighborhood where many scenes were filmed. We started at the dojo, then walked to Blood Alley where the antique store was. Unfortunately the antique store building was undergoing renovation and a truck was parked in front, so it was a bit hard to get a sense of what it looked like. Nearby was the courtyard that was used for the cafe where Felicia Marten was sitting in Free Fall and the building used for Joe Dawson's book store in season 2. The book store building is now a deli and coffee shop. The tour group was standing outside snapping pictures, but I went inside and asked if they minded if we took pictures inside. The guys seemed a little freaked by us but said it was fine, as long as we kept them out of any pictures.




Finally back on the bus we went to the big glass building that was used for several things, including Dr. Anne's hospital. I don't remember what the name of the building was, but I did get some shots of it. There was a nice little wooded area right next to it, that I believe Carmel said they also filmed in, so I grabbed some picture there, too.


We moved from there to a place used in Band of Brothers where Grayson and Duncan met at night. Coincidentally, you could also get a nice look at the sulfur mounds from there, too.




From there we went to the park where Methos and Alexa sat in the rain. As we topped a little hill, who should be see but Peter Wingfield sitting with his iPod on the 'bench' which was actually in the middle of a little pond. We had a wonderful time with a Q&A and I took way too many pictures. We posed in groups of 5 with Peter and the alumni of the Paris tour got they own picture as well.



We left for lunch at the Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant. Absolutely fantastic views! Peter moved from table to table during the meal. During lunch I told Peter how much I loved the video diaries he did for PWFC and said that I knew he was busy now with work and family, but that it would be great if he found time to continue them. He said that not only did he plan to continue, but that he tried to put one together at the con, but his 5-year old computer crashed on him.

Lunch was over too soon and we moved to the scene of Methos' confrontation with Kronos and the site of the Jimmy scene. Once again the city-wide strike looked like it might be a problem as there was a picket line in front of the building. Carmel got out and explained that what we were doing and that we weren't going to cross the picket line. Turns out there were Highlander fans among the srikers. As we were leaving a few of us paused to get some pictures and a woman asked us what episode was shot there someone said 'Comes a Horseman' and I said it was the episode where we found out that Methos was one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. She said, "I know that episode!"




Peter talked to us some more and we took many, many pictures. This is the kind of dedicated guy he is for his fans - he left Vancouver for LA on Sunday. Spent Monday filming for 24. Left his house at 3:45 am on Tuesday to fly to Vancouver. Spent just a few hours with us to then leave and catch a plane to go back to LA to spend Wednesday doing voice work for the Highlander video game.

We went back to the hotel and I walked over to London Drugs to drop off David Abromawitz's camera that I had won in the auction on Sunday. We had a nice leisurely dinner at the hotel restaurant and movie night. We watched Adrian's movie 'Little Chicago.' When he gave Carmel his dvd he told her that it wasn't very good. He's right, he did it more as a favor to the beginning filmmakers and his was the only professional performance in it. Just a little way into it we started fast-forwarding through all but Adrian's parts. It was a hoot, and we actually could follow the plot pretty well. After that we watched The Gathering. I went up to my room but some stayed to watch more.

A very long, but wonderful day.

More pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valoise/sets/72157602561303305/
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Monday morning we gathered in the hotel lobby with no idea where we might be going that day. While we were waiting Kathy and Emily came down with a surprise for all of us. Kathy had knitted scarves for all 40 of us with three different designs relating to HLWW8 or Vancouver. Very pretty. These scarves show up in lots of pictures, they were a big hit.

I had a mental list of places that I knew Highlander had filmed at and that I wanted to see, but I didn't know about Mount Seymour Provincial Park, our first destination.

Lots of episodes were filmed here and you might recognize Duncan's cabin or the cliff he fell off of in Mountain Man. A big surprise was the 'lake' that he pushed a canoe into in They Also Serve to go to his island. Wide angle lenses and careful shots are what turned this tiny pond into a lake.



As we gathered around Adrian started talking to us about filming here. At one point he moved from talking to directing Victoria's camera shots. Adrian the director was the theme of the day as he took control of the camera several times.






One thing that was definitely different on the tour from when Highlander was filming was the number of tourists. When our bus pulled in there weren't that many cars, but by the time we left there were hikers all over the place and the parking lot was full. Finally dawned on us that it was a holiday and because of the wonderful weather families were flocking to the park for a day out doors.

We loaded back on the bus and went to Van Dusen Gardens. This was DEFINITELY one of my must see places. Unfortunately, because of the city-wide strike, the gardens themselves were closed and only the restaurant was open. We all packed into Shaughnessy Restaurant and when Adrian came he took turns sitting at tables, moving when the courses changed. We didn't get him at our table during lunch and had to wait for dinner. As we were eating someone at the table said, "Look, there's Jim Byrnes."

Sure enough, there he was. The owner of the Shaughnessy is one of Jim's oldest friends in Vancouver. Jim was an extra surprise that Carmel had for us. Saying the he had a turkey in the oven at home and could stay long, he sat and sang a couple of wonderful songs for us. Adrian took over one video camera during the brief concert.



Next stop was the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden in the Chinese Cultural Center. Very beautiful. Adrian was so funny, soon after we got there he became fascinated with a spider and spider web and commandeered the camera for 20 minutes trying to film it. We wandered through the garden enjoying the beauty of it. Finally we all gathered for Adrian to talk to us about shooting in the garden. He spent quite a bit of time talking about the fight scene in Timeless between Walter Graham and Duncan.


Dinner was a buffet on a boat and those of us who hadn't sat with Adrian at lunch got our chance then. One thing that everyone noticed throughout the day was how relaxed Adrian was. While he was at our table Mary Glynn told him that in all the years she's been going to cons she had never seen him so relaxed and happy.

Finally dinner was done and Adrian had us all go up to the top deck of the boat to help him film a video for PEACE. I a group we all faced the camera and shouted 'Wake the World', flashing PEACE signs. Finally the day was done and we headed back to the hotel. Once there Adrian had us assemble on the stairs in the hotel lobby with a nervous hotel manager looking on. He was afraid we were going to do something loud and he was right. One more time Adrian had us shout "Wake the World".

Then it was done. As we were having some parting words, Adrian was somehow introduced to mini-Mac, Sharon's Duncan MacLeod doll who was joining us on tour. The longer Adrian held the doll the more he got into it and soon he was posing it and playing with it like a little boy and his first action figure.

Very cute end to a very full day.

More pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valoise/sets/72157602522684996/
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The PWFC Friendship Con in Philadelphia in September followed by the Homeward: HLWW8 in Vancouver in October. Sounded kind of nuts, actually, attending two cons so close together, but then I signed on for the 4-day post-con tour of Vancouver with Adrian Paul. Yep. I'm officially nuts. Or a fanatic. Maybe just a fan.

On Thursday night of HLWW8 Carmel called all the tour members together and told us she had bad news. Adrian needed to leave even sooner and expected to start filming his next picture in Bulgaria. Initially the con was supposed to start on Tuesday and run through Friday. Then we would start on Monday. Now Carmel had arranged something for us on Sunday evening from 5:30-7:30 and we would have Adrian on Monday.

That was the bad news. Less Adrian. The good news was more tour - official tour activities were now scheduled from Sunday though Friday with a half day of optional activities on Saturday and, on top of that, we were going to have a special guest to fill in for Adrian during the week.

On Sunday after the con all of us signed up for the tour were loaded on a bus and found ourselves at the Orpheum Theater.



While the theater was closed to the public due to a city-wide strike, Carmel had arranged for the executive director of the theater to open it for us. Carmel and Adrian arrived soon and we made our way into theater itself.



This was one of the places high on my list to see on the tour, Wrath of Kali, Song of the Executioner and other episodes were filmed here. Adrian sat on stage and talked about working in the theater and took answered our questions.



We walked back to the area that was used for the palace in Wrath of Kali and several us took our turn to pose with Adrian for our tour pictures. The strangest thing, though, was how nervous I was standing next to Adrian. I am not normally intimidated by people. Not Peter Wingfield or David Abramowitz or any the other people associated with Highlander have ever made me feel this nervous. I'm sure that the expression on my face was anything but a smile. Not to worry, though, by Sunday evening I found myself very relaxed with Adrian.

But that's a story for another day.

More Sunday pictures are at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/valoise/sets/72157602478884928/

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