My new travel agent


Has my TV and cable remote turned into TripAdvisor?

Having run the gamut of US and UK located shows I have started choosing my televisual feasts on where I fancy visiting or want to return to now that lockdown is giving me island fever here in Malta. I have not set off the rock for over a year and though a lovely place it’s so small you could carpet it in an afternoon.

The Serpent gave me a decent dose of Thailand, Nepal and India. My sister is so ancient she can remember the rumours of a serial killer praying on backpackers in the 1960s in Asia.

Yearning for a bit of ice and snow I watched the thriller Cardinal, set in Algonquin. Not the hotel in New York where Dorothy Parker held court with such gems as “Every morning I brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue” or “beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes to the bone”, but some snow hole north of Toronto where a serial killer was plying his trade.

Next I hopped over to the beaches of Sydney for Deep Waters followed by the anodyne surroundings of Canberra in Secret City, Australia’s own House of Cards.

To add to the feeling of local immersion, these shows have to be binge watched, accompanied by meals and booze from the country of the series. So possum burgers and Bundaberg Rum for Oz, Moose Lager and maple syrup pancakes for Canada and chilly Mo-Mo washed down with Tongba for Nepal. (Look it up). No wonder my diet isn’t working. Maybe I need to watch more shows from Japan or other low fat diet countries.

In fact maybe TV watching can be part of a diet?!

...and another thing

Along with these travelogues you can vary your holiday by going back in time. For example, St. Petersburg in Russia but with Catherine the Great or the French countryside and Versailles but in 17th Century and with the bonus of lots of rumpy pumpy.

An extra on your visit is you can learn the language, i.e. anything with subtitles. At the moment, a lot of subtitling comes from Scandinavian drama. Personally,  I find all Scandinavian languages impossible to speak without half a pint of phlegm in the back of your throat. Believe it or not Norwegian TV once asked me for the script of The Muppet Show as they could not understand the Swedish Chef. Swedish TV had wanted to charge them for a translation. This only goes to show the Swedes have a more developed sense of humour than the Norwegians.

...and another thing

If you have a jiggery-pokery cable box like we do, you can really go exotic. We can access TV from Afghanistan to Zambia.

So with a click I can cheer on The Voice in Sri Lanka, leer at Caribbean’s next Top Model, shout out the answers on The Price is Right from Lesotho or pick a favourite on Big Bother in China.(Yup. It’s there. I hope someone sees the irony).

I love local game shows because obviously with limited budgets the prizes are more likely to be modest (a goat, a canoe, a lawnmower, matching mosquito door and bed nets) but directly linked to local needs. Well except the goat. That was in the US on Let’s make a deal.

 There’s always something very 1960s about these shows. The middle aged host with a purse string smile firing innuendo as some hapless ‘hostess’ hands over the question cards or steers over contestants. The scenery that shakes like a blancmange, super nervous contestants and their family who twitch and look directly into the camera like a tree full of owls.

...and another thing

So next time you long for a skiing break, a trek in the jungle or a shopping spree in Milan, grab your remote. I hear Elon Musk is currently absorbed by Hilary Swank in Away, and mankind’s first journey to Mars.

Stay safe.

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