"Around the World in 80 Treasures"
Topic: Films and TV
Have you been watching, "Around the World in 80 Treasures", the documentary series by Dan Cruickshank on BBC2? On the whole, it continues to be a very interesting series visiting some 40 countries on six continents. However, on the Indian continent, I seem to remember that someone called Michael Palin did get to some of the 'treasure sites' first in his recent travel series, "Himalaya with Michael Palin". I certainly experienced 'deja vu' when Dan visited that enormous stone sun dial and its accompanying zodiac stones at the Jantar Mantar Observatory in Jaipur.
Coincidentally, both Michael and Dan have an affinity with elephants, Michael was told he was probably an elephant in a previous life and Dan was 'blessed' by an elephant. Also, they both took time off their travels to play cricket with some young local lads! I suppose Mr Cruickshank's approach is slightly more learned and thought provoking than Mr. Palin's but not necessarily more exciting or educational.
Last week's programme on 4th April, (the seventh in the series), covered Jordan and Ethiopia. Now did you spot Dan Cruickshank's cultural faux pas? I watched the repeat last Saturday because I missed some of Monday's first showing so I saw his blunder twice. Do you remember his visit to an Arab tent to sample some of the 'delicacies'? Two Bedouin gentlemen were entertaining him, and his crew, and an enormous tray of food was placed in front of them. Did you see Dan tuck in with great relish tearing asunder some unmentionable animal part (yuk!) with his fingers? He used his left hand to take the food - the hand considered by Arabs to be 'unclean' (you use it for personal hygiene). When eating from a communal dish with the fingers, Arabs always use their right hand. So, Dan's social gaffe would have contaminated the food. I bet the two Arab gentlemen suddenly lost their appetites - certainly, their faces appeared to say it all!
Well, that observation apart, tonight's episode should be very good indeed as we are whisked through Mali and Libya to Egypt, the Land of the Pharaohs. Here we will see what I consider to be one of the world's finest Treasures, the Death Mask of King Tutankhamun (pronounced Tut-ankh-amun, please, not Tu-tank-hamun). I have had the privilege of seeing this mask in the Cairo Museum and it is breathtakingly beautiful. Don't miss it!