To read Part Three of this interview, Bumble on Life, click here.
The people are lovely. I would say it’s quite a sedate place, and there are some wonderful sights to see… if you’re there for cricket, yes, but there’s plenty of other things to get involved in. It’s very, very hot!
We’ve stayed in some fabulous places. Down in Colombo there are so many really nice hotels. I love a sundowner in the Galle Face Hotel, and the cricket ground in Galle itself is fabulous, with the fort in the background. I also love the Victoria Golf Club in Kandy, and the ground there, Pallekele, is one of the most picturesque in the world. Once when I was staying in Kandy, I put my breakfast down for a moment on the balcony, turned around and a monkey had eaten it! He took one of my slippers, too…
For me, golf. I think Barbados is the best; Sandy Lane, if you’re fortunate enough to get on there, and Royal Westmoreland are both absolutely magnificent. Barbados and Antigua are both fabulous places and great holiday destinations. Lots of sunshine, the people are wonderful, the music’s great and the food is terrific.
Jamaica is raw, and people seem to be a little bit wary, but it’s fine. It’s a good adventure, and once you get out of the centre of Kingston there are some really gorgeous places to explore.
One massive tip for the Caribbean – don’t go out too early. It doesn’t liven up until late. Have a good kip and then, if you want the real scene, get yourself out at 10pm.
My favourite ITC tour was in the Caribbean when I was asked to host a SeaDream cruise. There were 80 people on the boat, sailing the Caribbean islands. We had an absolute ball, it was fantastic.
We’d dock here and there and explore and swim and snorkel, it was great. The food was wonderful… crikey! I think I put a stone on – real opulence. That was outstanding, that cruise. With 80 or so, everybody sort of mixes together, you know everybody. It was an outstanding experience.
Last winter, in Christchurch, New Zealand. I did a documentary on the earthquake, and I had to go up in a helicopter. When you’re up there you can see the fracture and the real devastation, [the quake] just floored everything. Our pilot was Richie McCaw! This fella, reputed to be the greatest rugby player ever, was right in the mix during the earthquakes, airlifting people to safety 24-7, with an hour’s sleep.
I’ve been to Christchurch several times, and to see it from above is totally different. When you see it from up above you really see it’s just gone in a straight line and flattened everything. It’ll take a long long time to get the structures right.
I’m a fan of Pakistan. They have the Pakistan Super League (which is like the Indian Premier League), and they play it in Dubai and Sharjah. For the finals they go back into Pakistan. I’ve put my hand up and said I’ll go and do [commentary]. I think it’ll be a good story.
When I’ve been I’ve found the people terrific. Lahore is mind-blowing. Badshahi Mosque is incredible, and the markets in Lahore stretch for miles. You can easily get lost – go in through this gate, come out that gate. You spend all day down there and then go again the day after, because you’ll never see it all. It’s a brilliant place; total chaos, but it works.
Similarly, in Bengaluru, coming out of the airport, it’s 15 lanes of traffic going one way. But don’t be surprised if there’s something coming the other way, too. It could be a car, a bicycle, a cart, a motorbike… it’s great. The best thing I’ve seen was two blokes on a motorbike, carrying an oven. And two carrying a 40-inch television. Incredible. No helmets of course, unless they’ve got a Bob the Builder plastic helmet.
I try not to travel without my charger, and I fail often. Sometimes I think “I wish I’d brought my fridge with me” – because my charger’s always on top of the fridge! Also insect repellent, I never go without it.
My favourite thing is getting out and about. And I don’t mind going on my own either, just exploring. My wife and I went on a river cruise last year, and that sort of thing’s pretty regimented; you get off, put your earpiece in, and “here’s a cathedral, here’s a castle…”. And I’m always going off piste you know, “oh I wonder what’s down here”, and then the group’s disappeared and I have to try and find them. I quite like going off and exploring.
My ITC cruise is probably my most memorable, I’d never done it before. I love horse racing… and I must say, I like a golfing holiday with the lads. I like the camaraderie of that, not just the golf… because I’m not that good at golf. I like the evening session.
One of the most impressive hotels I’ve stayed in is The Trident in Mumbai. It has a very sad history, but it’s a fabulous hotel, breathtaking and stunning.
Another one I’m really comfortable in is Tamarind by Elegant Hotels in Barbados. The snorkelling is as good as anywhere, you can go out a bit and swim with the turtles. And it’s a great location – you can get the little yellow bus into Holetown.
I’d love to see the Northern Lights. I think it’s a bit Russian roulette, and you’re not always guaranteed to see them, but that would be spectacular.
Meeting people. Getting out and about and meeting the locals. It’s fabulous, great fun. Travel is the greatest thing, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to do it.
In Sri Lanka, we went to a shed. Just outside Colombo, and it can’t be far, because we went by tuk-tuk. It’s called Beach Wadiya. It’s right next to the railway line, on the beach between the railway and the sea, in an absolutely stunning location. You sit on benches to eat. Lobsters… just keep ‘em coming! They’re catching the fish, and bringing them straight in. It was unbelievable, they couldn’t catch these lobsters fast enough! Amazing.
For Part Three of this interview, Bumble on Life, click here. Browse our website for information on Spectate’s upcoming tours, or give our team a call on 01244 355 604.