Herald on Sunday - - TRAVEL LIGHT -


My part­ner and I have re­cently re­turned from a hol­i­day in the Banda Isles. We were in­spired to visit from read­ing Giles Mil­ton’s book Nathaniel’s Nut­meg. Five tiny iso­lated is­lands are the source of much of the world’s nut­meg and mace. They are part of In­done­sia but closer to West Pa­pua than any­where else. In the early 17th cen­tury the Dutch and Bri­tish raced to claim them as nut­meg was worth its weight in gold. The Ban­danese, who had hap­pily traded with Arab and Chi­nese mer­chants, were mas­sa­cred as a re­sult. To­day the is­lands are lit­tered with Dutch forts un­usual for their five-pointed star de­sign. We char­tered a boat to the tiny isle of Run (which the Bri­tish traded with the Dutch for Man­hat­tan, in the Treaty of Breda). Walk­ing through the hill­side vil­lages of colour­ful houses and beau­ti­ful mosques, we were greeted warmly ev­ery­where we went. The Banda Sea is pris­tine and a snorkeller’s par­adise.


I cel­e­brated my 20th birth­day on tour in Ri­mini, Italy, drink­ing vodka into the small hours of the morn­ing. At 5am my boss an­nounced that I was to travel to St Vin­cent, in the north­west of Italy to stand-in for a dancer that had fallen ill in another show. At 7am he packed me on to a train. With stand­ing room only, the jour­ney was hor­ren­dous, made worse as the swel­ter­ing heat and my hang­over kicked in. I had two trans­fers to make, and wouldn’t rec­om­mend ne­go­ti­at­ing Mi­lan Cen­tral train sta­tion with no knowl­edge of Ital­ian. I got on the wrong train, then fainted, face plant­ing into the squat­ting toi­let at the next sta­tion. Twelve hours later I even­tu­ally made it to my des­ti­na­tion, where I learnt dance rou­tines in a ho­tel cor­ri­dor and went on stage that night.

Banda Is­lands. Pic­ture / Getty Im­ages Sara Brodie di­rects Auck­land Theatre Com­pany’s new pro­duc­tion of Mau­rice Gee’s Un­der the Moun­tain, at ASB Wa­ter­front Theatre un­til Fe­bru­ary 21. atc.co.nz

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