23 May, India – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’
Up at the crack of dawn and onto the bus to Chand Baori Stepwell. If you’ve watched the Batman films you may recognise it as one of the locations where Bruce Wayne is held prisoner by Bane. It’s basically a massive hole in the ground with a temple type building around it. It has over 3,000 steps and was built in the ninth century – quite a feat of engineering. Back in the day, as well as fetching their daily water, people would head down the steps as a way of escaping the heat. Not much evidence of those properties today.
The heatwave over here continues and temperatures were pushing 50 degrees as Chris and I donned workout gear and danced on the steps to a parody of Fleur East’s song ’Sax’. If anything the stone steps seemed to radiate more heat at us, and I was secretly quite pleased that the staff at the well had hit us with a time limit in an attempt to extract bribes from us to carry on filming longer. We raced through the song with our director Al and cameraman Geraint doing a great job of working out what we did and didn’t need. By the time we were being shouted at to come up we all looked like we were stepping out of a swimming pool. I’ve never been so drenched in sweat in all my life.
After a couple of hours travel to the city of Juipur and a delicious lunch in the ornate restaurant of the local turban museum(!) we found ourselves back in the raging heat filming another song about the Jantar Mantar Observatory. I’ve never seen anything quite like it – commissioned by the Maharaja a few hundred years back to help Astrologers compile horoscopes it’s a concrete park full of giant astronomical instruments, some the size of church spires. Chris was dressed as Jai Singh, the astronomer who designed it, and had the bulk of the singing, whilst I interjected occasionally dressed as Brian Cox. This was fine by me. I soaked up every second of shade I could under one of the only trees while the rest of the crew zipped about on the baking concrete. By the end of the day we were feeling rightly pleased with ourselves to have got so much done – and not one of us had collapsed from heat exhaustion!