Thursday, February 24, 2011

Michael Palin... A Travelling Entertainer

Thanks to NetFlix we have become raving Michael Palin fans.  It started by viewing his Pole to Pole BBC series.  We loved it so much we hated to see it come to an end... so we then went with him on several more travelling adventures.

This 8-part series starts at the North Pole, and follows the line of longitude 30 degrees east as close as possible all the way to Antarctica.  Filmed in 1991 Michael uses every possible different form of transportation possible, starting with a ski plane, then an icebreaker, trains, ferries, buses, taxis and ending with a dog sled trip to the south pole.

It is interesting to see all the different cultures, in Finland, Russia, Turkey and the Mediterranean.  In Africa down the Nile... the pyramids, Ethiopia, Lerata, Kenya and Lake Tanganyika.  A witch doctor warns him of an "evil shadow" following him and shortly after he cracks two ribs whitewater rafting and misses the only boat from Africa to Antarctica.  To what lengths will he have to go complete his trip from pole to pole?

Michael sets himself a daunting challenge to circumnavigate the world in less than three months without flying.  It is amazing the cultures and frustrations he goes thru, missing travel connections and getting a week behind in the first three weeks.  The trip is plagued with problems, as well as fun stuff, like the unforgettable ceremony when crossing the International Dateline.  This 7-part series made me want to try to do it too... except take a little time to enjoy more details along the way.

We have seen several Everest expeditions... and in fact just saw a 6-part Everest -Beyond the Limit series with Russell Bryce that was exceptional.  But Michael's Himalaya includes more than just his trek to Base Camp One.  You get a real feel for the magnitude of this highest in the world mountain range as you travel with Michael thru Pakistan, India, Nepal, China, Tibet, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.

How much Michael Palin can a person take?  When we finished this incredible circle trip around and thru the Sahara I made a few mental notes of incredible architectural masterpieces I would like to personally visit... and I would think one could get some pretty good prices on hotels right now with all the unrest in that area... not to mention the free live entertainment and strife in the streets.

Michael Palin is such a gentleman in the travelogues it is hard for me to recognize him in his early days with the Monty Python boys.  So we dusted off a VHS relic and watched "The Meaning of Life."  I can see why it was such a hit with Shelby!  It fulfills every teenage boy's fantasies.  How can one understand the meaning of life without sex education?  There is a lot in this movie that challenges what you believe about life... and death.  Why are we here anyway?

I love the creativity of this piece of work.  Truly a classic!

I think this quote sums it up very nicely:
"Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations."

1 comment:

  1. Only it seems to me that once in your life before you die you ought to see a country where they don't talk in English and don't even want to.
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