Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Caught between a rock and a saree


Good evening from somewhere on the outskirts of Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sri Lanka that is noted for the ruins of a palace, some colorful frescoes that can rival the Ajanta Caves in Maharastra, India (which I visted just a little over a year ago), and this amazing rock behind us.

SHOPPING INSTEAD OF CLIMBING

It takes just under an hour to climb from the bottom of the Sigiriya rock where this photo of the Travelife team was taken to the very top, but the climb and the amazing views you see enroute and all around you as you work your way up are supposed to be amazing. I say "supposed to be" because I actually didn't do the climb. It was just too hot. So I left the five guys I'm traveling with for Travelife TV to go up the mountain and do the shoots while I explored the town and came back to our appointed meeting spot with a colorful silk saree that I'd haggled down to half its original price.

OFF THE BUCKET LIST

The guys were just exhausted when they returned to the bus, but they seemed very happy to have done the climb and struck it off their bucket list of adventures. Meanwhile, this morning, I shot my segment of the show in a beautiful resort that was both luxurious and eco-friendly. We all enjoyed our stay at this resort immensely and only half-joked about the idea of shooting the entire season of Travelife TV in this resort instead. Everyone was sorry to leave, I included.

But the shooting at the resort was lots of fun. It really makes a difference when you truly like the place you are talking about on TV because the words and the enthusiasm just flow naturally. In my case, the guys were very pleased because I did almost every scene on my script in one take, including the interviews. In my last interview, I was speaking to the resort general manager and we were enumerating the many things possible to do at the resort. This included horseback riding and archery. I was just supposed to end my segment with a simple goodbye-and-I-have-many-other-places-to-go-to spiel, but for some reason, I found myself saying "I think I'm going to ride a horse."

Well, the guys lost no time in jumping on that and insisting I actually get on a horse since I had announced it on camera. And that was how I found myself on a horse a few minutes later.


Otherwise, my day in Sri Lanka went pretty well. It started off with a couple of alternately funny and serious pings on my Blackberry and ended with reminiscing over music on the way to the hotel and a whole lot of laughs over dinner with the team. I'd taken my computer out on the bus after work was done and started playing all kinds of music from the 80s, which got everyone on a memory trip. I'd already deleted most of my 1000 songs on my computer because it'd been slowing down my operations, but I still had something like 30 songs on it including "Stay Awake" by Ronnie Laws, "Worlds Apart" by Manhattan Transfer, and "Melt With You" by Modern English.

My music selection had apparently been appreciated as I've now been assigned to take charge of the music for the 3.5 hour ride tomorrow from Sigiriya to Kandy, Sri Lanka's capital of culture, where we're headed tomorrow. It's really fun to be working and traveling with these guys. When the cameras are on, everyone's all serious and professional. But as soon as the lights are out, the laughter simply doesn't stop. I'm so looking forward to traveling around the world with Travelife TV.




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