(This document originally appeared in the NewsFlash section of the site.)

by Francis LaLumiere

May 19 1997 - This is the second in a short series of articles retelling the highlights of our World Championship Grand Prize, a visit to Tunisia, North Africa - to see, hear and taste in every possible way the locations used to shoot Star Wars twenty years ago . . .

Tatooine Memories - Day 2
From the Trip Diary of Francis LaLumiere

--- May 04, 1997---

"Star Wars Canyon" was all I could think of when I awoke on the second day of our expedition. That's what David had promised us the previous night, and that's what we would get! At the heart of the canyon lie the locations used to shoot numerous scenes from Star Wars, and a few from Raiders of the Lost Ark too ("I'm gonna blow up the Ark, Rene!"). Starting with the famous bluff where Obi-Wan and Luke stood as they looked down upon Mos Eisley, we proceeded across an incredibly rocky terrain where any vehicle but a landspeeder would soon beg for mercy.

Hours of hiking under the Saharan sun brought us successively to the spot where Obi-Wan made his first apparition, the impossible-not-to-recognize rock from behind which Dathcha jumped out and shot R2-D2 with his ion gun.... But there is one location which occupies a very special place in my heart, and that is the rocky outcrop where Luke was attacked by the Tusken Raider. This was a critical site that David West Reynolds had not yet located, and before we entered the canyon he showed us reference pictures and pointed out the landscape details we should look for.

I ended up discovering it, and I was incredibly excited! We promptly set out to re-enact the Star Wars scene (something we did all the time) and I'll never forget the picture my mind registered when I was lying where Luke had been, with David standing above me in an attack stance, the hard rock against my back, the blue sky overhead with the blinding sun, and the canyon echoing our every word all around us... Now I know how Luke must have felt on that fateful day. It was terrifying!

Later that day we traveled a short way through the Chott, a dried up lake located roughly in the middle of Tunisia. This is where the exterior scenes picturing the Lars' homestead have been shot. And although the familiar dome and hardware were removed by the Lucasfilm crew when they left 20 years ago, the crater at the edge of which Luke stands to watch Tatooine's twin sunset is still there. And that's all there is: the crater, and a few scars in the ground indicating where the props had been. But, amazingly, that's the location I had the most difficulty leaving. Even as the others began the mile walk back to our Landrover, I stood there and looked at my surroundings, tears in my eyes and shivers in my heart. To this day I still don't know why, but this is the location where the entire Star Wars universe coalesced and it suddenly dawned on me that I was there.

In the words of Jon Snyder, "More Star Wars than you can shake a stick at". But there were still four days ahead of us!...

Thanks again!
Francis Lalumiere - Gold 28

T Minus 2.5 Weeks - April 17 1997
T Minus 8 Days and Counting! - April 25 1997
Beginning the Journey - May 01, 1997
Journey to Tatooine - May 16 1997
Journey to Tatooine - May 19 1997
Journey to Tatooine - May 21 1997
Journey to Tatooine - May 23 1997
Journey to Tatooine - May 27 1997
A Journey Remembered - June 20 1997

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