Asia blog 12

1 June, Malaysia – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’

This was our last day of filming for the 1st block of AOTP (5 more to go) and quite frankly we’re all knackered. This is probably the hardest 2 weeks of filming I’ve ever done, with heatwaves, long journeys and various lurgies and upset stomachs hitting most of the crew, apart from our researcher Ewan, who we all secretly wish dysentery on because… well, it’s just not fair is it.

It’s always nice to finish on a Main Event, and today we drove to the Sarawak Cultural Village to take part in a blowpipe competition. The local tribespeople round here are called Dayaks, and on the edge of the national park they’ve built a sort of mini tribal version of the Epcot Centre. It’s got a small lake and various wooden buildings that Dayaks and Malaysians traditional lived in, with displays of their native culture held within throughout the day.

For some reason they wanted to stage the competition for us after we arrived, so pretty soon Ben and I were chatting to a couple of guys in traditional costumes who explained how to kill a bearded pig with a 5 metre blowpipe. Luckily we weren’t killing any pigs today, just shooting bullseye targets on easels. Passing tourists were roped into the competition before Ben and I went head to head, and I did surprisingly well. I performed a celebratory victory chant with my instructor just to rub it in Ben’s face, then we spent the rest of the day wandering about in the oppressive humid heat learning traditional dances and games. It’s ridiculous how much we were all sweating, we’ve clearly not acclimatised to it after 2 weeks. Some days you sweat so much that you don’t have to go to the toilet all day. It’s not exactly a great look on camera!

When our director called it a wrap I couldn’t quite believe it was all over and I was going home. I feel like we’ve had everything thrown at us these last 2 weeks and have still managed to come out on top and make some really different and unusual items, from Indian rat temples to Malaysian cat museums. Just a 15 hour journey ahead of me and I’ll be in London (complaining it’s too cold probably).

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