Friday, February 16, 2007

Meeting Mr. Wright

My first encounter with the world's most famours traveller, Ian Wright actually took place in the loo of the Sheraton Imperial Hotel back in 2001. I was taking a piss when the guy walked in, mumbled something with a cigarette in his mouth, and took up the stall next to mine. Definitely wasn’t the kind of first meeting I had imagined. But it quickly got ‘normal’ as Wright and us press people were ushered into a seminar room for a group interview.

Scruffy and bubbly, what you see of him on TV is what you get in person, which made the interview pretty easy ‘cos he gave good and long quotes. The dream interviewee. He was as sporting when it came to the photo-shoot. Wright chomped on a rambutan skin and snaked his way through some plants, just for the benefit of our cameras.

A couple of years later Wright returned to Malaysia and I got a one-on-one with him, this time at the magnificent Mandarin Oriental Hotel. His energy was endless, and the interview was another easy one to do. Again, he was quite the sport when it came to the photo-shoot. Although our time was up, Wright was more than willing to find the perfect bush for us to snap this particular shot…

Excerpts of my interview first published in the Sept 2003 of issue NewMan magazine

Your show used to be called Lonely Planet. Do you think we’re the only planet in the galaxy with intelligent beings?We’re intelligent? My God! Ha ha! I don’t think about it too much but I do believe there are loads of planets and galaxies with beings like us out there.

So you’re a believer?
Well everyone loves UFOs and aliens but I’ve never seen anything myself.

Now you can go to the moon as a tourist. What do you think of that?Yeah, it’s great for people with shitloads of money. Just to be in space and look back at the earth through a hole is just amazing.

What’s the biggest myth in the world?
That we live in a classless society. Absolute rubbish. On the lighter side, there’s this myth that the Japanese go to Canada to shag under the northern lights for better fertility. If you go to Canada, everyone tells you the same thing. We went up there with 40 Japanese people and we were like, “So, is it really true?” And they had no idea. It’s all rubbish! And it’s even in the Lonely Planet guidebook. There’s loads of myths like that actually. I love it.

Have you been somewhere you just thought: “Screw everything else, I just wanna stay here forever and ever”?Yeah, but it never really worked that way. Ha ha! I love cold countries like Greenland and Alaska. I could live there for quite a while. But I love England. I love the change in seasons and I’ve got all my mates and family there. It’d be hard to live anywhere else. And because I travel a lot, I need something solid to come back to.

Ever been treated like a king?Yeah, every country I go to! Look at me now; people serving me drinks and food at this fine hotel. It’s outrageous.

What’s the longest you’ve gone without changing underwear?I’m not sure, but when I was a kid I was worse! I went weeks without changing.

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