Gutsy traveller

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 March, 1999, 12:00am

Somehow, one always associates Lonely Planet (World, 8 pm) with hot countries: backpackers wear sarongs or shorts, not parkas. Over the past few weeks Ian Wright has visited Mexico, Zanzibar, and he spent some time in a yurt in Kirghizstan, but nothing so far could have prepared him for the cold that is inevitable in Iceland and Greenland, which is where he is going this evening.

Wright and his fellow traveller Justine Shapiro are always pretty brave about eating whatever is on offer in the true spirit of Lonely Planet, and usually what they eat is considered a delicacy by their hosts, so it is impossible to refuse anyway.

Iceland and Greenland seem to have more than their fair share of odd things to eat, and as the weather hardly produces a surfeit of local fruit and vegetables, it seems like most of the delicacies on the Arctic menu are made from the same animal.

In Iceland, poor Wright cannot turn away fermented shark, made by leaving the shark flesh in rock covered boxes for several months. He also has to wash it down with potato wine, nicknamed Black Death.

An Inuit family treat him to seal liver, so it is hardly surprising that when a reindeer farmer called Stefan tells him the stomach contents of dead reindeer is an absolute must, Wright accepts his advice and munches it down.

It takes some time to realise that the endless days and a diet of too much reindeer have warped Stefan's mind and this is in fact a tasteless practical joke.

Next week, TVB Pearl have scheduled an amazing line-up of films, all Oscar winners, nearly all worth staying in for. Unfortunately there is an awful lot of rubbish to get through this week before that, including Laser Mission (Pearl, 9.30 pm). This should have been one of Brandon Lee's early films, evidence of his potential quickly over-shadowed by later, greater films. Sadly he died long before he really got around to making later great films, when a live bullet mysteriously got into a prop gun on the set of The Crow in 1993, and someone shot him in the stomach with it.

No one has ever been charged in connection with Lee's death, although it seems pretty unbelievable that real ammunition could have been put in a fake gun by mistake.

The story of his death would make a better film than the story of Laser Mission, in which Lee plays a young hero called Michael who is sent to track down a missing weapons expert (played by Ernest Borgnine). As if that wasn't enough, he has to escape being executed by a bunch of misguided KGB officers who think he is a spy.



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