25 June, Bangkok, Thailand – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’
As my plane came in to land in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday morning I committed the cardinal sin of international travelling and turned on data roaming on my phone. Up flashed a news alert that the country I had left behind had voted to leave the EU and I immediately felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. I’ve spent the last few years travelling the world every summer and discovering how surprisingly different we are from the USA and Australia, and just how much we have in common with our EU neighbours. I was taking an ever increasing pride in my European citizenship, and not only had I just learnt that I was being stripped of it, but by the time we left the airport I’d also learnt that Britain itself was falling apart and our economy was collapsing. It was sounding like in a few years time I would no longer be British, only English. I felt like I was stranded on the other side of the world in some sort of disaster movie – and thanks to data roaming it had cost me £10!
I still hadn’t shaken off the shock by the next morning, but luckily I didn’t have to leave the hotel as we were filming an item on Thai fruit and vegetable carving and for once the interviewee was visiting US. In the function room upstairs an elaborate instillation of fruit and veg carved into flowers and geometric patterns was being put into place by a lady called Wan (it had taken her 2 days to carve). My co-presenter Lauren Layfield and I did a quick interview with her and then some school children arrived to impress us with their carving skills while I dressed up as French food critic Rene Mangetout and shouted at them.
After lunch we took over the restaurant next door, with its breathtaking view of the Bangkok skyline, and filmed a sketch about a woman who’s obsessed with chickens, for an item we’re filming tomorrow. Then I headed off for dinner with an old school friend who just so happens to be in Bangkok at the same time as me. No prizes for guessing what we spent half the evening talking about…