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Michael Palin's longest journey
on 12 December 2005
This trip is just so long and unusual that you can't help being intrigued and fascinated by it all. Ten months and 50,000 miles traveling through 18 countries all the way around the Pacific Ocean!
What makes Michael Palin's trips so special is the enthusiasm, wit and charm he brings to the endeavor. Plus the ability of the crew to find extremely interesting people for Michael to talk to and very interesting activities for him to sample. And the whole thing is beautifully photographed, making you want to visit the various places yourself.
Among some of the most interesting points on the trip are a wedding ceremony in South Korea, the Russian Gulag in Siberia, the CaoDai religion in Vietnam, Philippine women learning how to be foreign workers, lassoing camels in Australia, a French shaman in the Amazon valley, narcotics problems in Bogotá, and illegal immigrants from Mexico to the USA.
My only criticism is that the west coast of the USA and Canada got glossed over. I'm guessing that Michael Palin, after nine months of traveling, just wanted to get home.
The DVD version of this TV program consists of three discs. These discs contain the ten 45-minute episodes (7 1/2 hours) plus some extra material:
- a very interesting interview with Michael Palin (28 minutes)
- some scenes that didn't make it into the TV program (almost 50 minutes)
- a funny meeting with Eric Idle, with lots of inside jokes for Monty Python fans (8 minutes)
Even without the extra material I'd give these DVDs a "highly recommended" rating. The extra material, especially the interview with Michael Palin, makes it even more wonderful.
Note that there is also a beautiful and well-written book available that covers this trip - also highly recommended.