Wednesday, July 06, 2011
TLC (Astro Channel 707) Samantha Brown's Asia Debuts on July 25
Recently Kuala Lumpur was treated to a glimpse into the life of travel goddess Samantha Brown during her promotional tour for her latest show Samantha Brown's Asia.
Regular TLC viewers would be familiar with the bubbly blonde who headlined shows such as Passport to Europe with Samantha Brown, Passport to Latin America with Samantha Brown or Girl Meets Hawaii. She's got everyone's dream job - globe trotting for 230 days in a year with a crew in tow including her personal stylist!
It's interesting to read her resume that she started out as a working actress and even starred in off-Broadway hits. This she playfully quips when asked about her previous career helps as "when all fails, you can sing and dance away." However, she does credit her acting training to helping her "talk to the camera like a person".
Malaysia holds a special place in her heart. When she first met her husband during their courting days, he impressed her with the story that he spent one year in Malaysia. Her first date with him was even at a Malaysian restaurant in New York called Melaka.
TLC also shared ten things you didn't know about Samantha Brown, like how she always travels with a jar of peanut butter and a book of poetry like Robert Frost or Mary Oliver. I liked the little story about her being a professional blimp photographer as she happened to catch a shot of a fallen blimp that was sold to Associated Press, and subsequently bought by Time Magazine and USA Today who paid her USD300 for it.
Vietnam (Airs on Monday, July 25, 10pm)
The episode sees Samantha venturing into the Sa Pa region in the North, where she stays with a tribal family. Then, she moves on to Hanoi, the cultural capital to explore famous tunnels of Cu Chi and its floating villages. Samantha admitted that she had a different perception of Vietnam with the war (her dad served during the war) and was surprised that the people there, "live, breath and love like everyone else".
Hong Kong/Macau (Airs on Monday, August 1, 10pm)
In this episode, she discovers another side to Hong Kong's ultra modern facade, its beautiful natural scenery at Lantau island where she goes abseiling. She also visits Tai O fishing village for a look of what Hong Kong used to look like in the olden days. Next she hops over to Macau where she gets a taste of the gambling tables the city is famous for including its unique cuisine with some pop stars thrown if for some glam factor.
Singapore (Airs on Monday, August 8, 10pm)
In this episode, Samantha gets to learn from a Peranakan dance. In contrast to the city life, they also feature laidback Pulau Ubin as a reminder of the old days. Samantha also gets to sample the food (helped by KF Seetoh) and visit the muslim district, Kampung Glam with guide Anita Kapoor.
Cambodia (Airs on Monday, August 15, 10pm)
One of her favourite countries, she found the people here to be the friendliest despite its tragic civil war history that she nicknamed them, "The Irish of South East Asia". She get to visit the most amazing temples in Angkor Wat and the bustling city of Phnom Penh.
Thailand (Airs on Monday, August 22, 10pm)
In this episode, Samantha visits an elephant sanctuary, which houses 15-20 rescued elephants. She has to take care of an elephant - washing, feeding, cleaning and even checking its poo to make sure it is eating right. Samantha also explores Bangkok and its picturesque postcard beaches.
Malaysia (Airs on Sunday, August 28, 10pm)
This is the Merdeka special that TLC is running hence it airs on Sunday compared to the usual Monday viewing time. In this episode, she visits Kuala Lumpur where she drinks beer out of a shoe at the Royal Selangor Club. She also catches the sights in Penang where she indulged in her favourite dish in Malaysia aka wantan noodles, pick tea (one of her favourite beverages) at Cameron Highlands and met the orang asli families in Ipoh. She relates how the Orang Asli kids were a little shy of her but extremely fascinated with her blonde hair. They broke out in laughter when she told them (through an interpreter) that her hair is fake.
Japan (Airs on Monday, September 5, 10pm)
Samantha explores the contrasting cities: megatropolis of Tokyo vs ancient Kyoto. This episode also has her visiting Mount Fuji and dressing up like a geisha. Some Japanese businessman even thought she was a real geisha and stopped her to pose for their photos.
Bali (Airs on Monday, September 12, 10pm)
Samantha explores the Island of Gods with its landscapes of lush rice terraces, swaying palm trees and white sandy beaches. She also got to share the spirit of Bali through their colourful festivals and ceremonies. Samantha relates how filming for this episode took place just after the film crew for the Eat Pray Love movie had wrapped up production - one place in Ubud even had a tongue-in-the-chic sign saying, "eat pay leave".
Tune into Samantha Brown's Asia on TLC (Astro Channel 707) every Monday 10pm, starting from July 25. Encores on Saturdays, 3pm and following Mondays, 4pm. From October 10, look out for Samantha Brown's Great Weekends Season 3. The series has Samantha showing you how to have a fantabulous weekend all around the US. There's driving along the Route 66 (always a big dream for me!), reliving her childhood at a San Jose circus to helping out homeless dogs in New Orleans.
*All pictures except the first two are courtesy of TLC