so, my brother and i were discussing the marvel of travel shows earlier tonight. it all started with a crack on my accent and how i would appear on a tv show where i’m traversing the wild dark continent (read irony) of Africa; in particular while riding the tro-tro and stopping by road-side sellers of snack foods such as kelewele.
he mentioned that the worst travel guide ever is rick steves. he epitomizes, acc to my brother, the best and worst of public broadcasting. it’s informative and absolutely boring. but we would always watch it. we watched as he traveled to Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, France and Italy. why? i don’t know. he didnt, but i remembered burt wolf. an older gentleman with a shock of white hair and beard who threw out hilarious and often sarcastic remarks as he traveled the globe. i distinctly remember liking his style of wit.
from there it was a natural progression to the best travel guide ever: ian from lonely planet (now know as globe trekker). what? you don’t know ian wright? heathen!
ian was a bit on the short side, sprung from the isles of UK, of indeterminate youngish age, sporting huge brown boots and a goofy smile. ian was the kind of guy who could travel to Afghanistan, get kidnapped by Taleban, meet Osama bin Laden, escape in the back of a supply jeep while his head is wrapped in a turban, jump off the jeep on the other side of the country and stop by a local hut for roasted lamb wrapped in pita bread. at the end of the show he would look into the camera while riding a camel, smile his goofy grin and state “cor blimey it’s hot…i hope this camel isn’t going to pass out…” and away he would go.
ian was the most obvious tourist ever. pale, english bloke, appearing out of place, rumpled, slightly wired and ready for any adventure. he had two pairs of pants, a couple of shirts, a jacket, a pair of dark shorts and his ever-present huge brown hiking boots. roaming around ancient ruins in Greece he would somehow find himself at a local wedding, not understand a word of greek but get invited to join the party, eat everything and dance with the bride’s grandmother. he never understood what anyone was saying but he found a way to communicate. he was the guy who would sleep on a stranger’s couch, get up and
while the other hosts got pampered with first class tickets to hawaii, personal stylist and an unlimited budge, ian was the the guy whom the producers handed $50, a map to outer mongolia and one cameraman. always honest, humble, spontaneous and outgoing, he handled it all with aplomb. and you don’t have to take my word for it…