My Life In Travel: Nina Wadia
'I remember Belgium for the statues of the little boys peeing'
Saturday 02 May 2009
First holiday memory?
Belgium. My father worked for an airline so we travelled everywhere with him; he would sometimes get posted abroad, too. I remember Belgium in particular for the Manneken Pis statues of little boys peeing.
The Maldives, for my honeymoon 10 years ago. It took us three years after we got married to go there. We stayed at the Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa and it was the most luxurious holiday I've ever been on. Nothing else compares and it has possibly ruined all subsequent holidays! I slept through the first 49 hours after we arrived, it was that relaxing.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
Through theatre touring and work I've travelled all over England. I love Bath and anywhere in Wales is just beautiful. Britain is breathtaking, when the sun is shining.
What have you learnt from your travels?
That travel is not so much about the place, but the people. Having travelled with my father I have made friends all over the world. I have found that there's a real sense of human kindness that you don't always expect to find and that people are essentially the same.
Ideal travelling companion?
Until I met my husband, Raiomond, I liked travelling alone, but now I have to say it's him. He's very easy-going. We've taken our kids, who are five and two, to quite a few places. We have a huge map on our wall at home and our daughter crosses off the places that she has been to.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
A combination of all three. One of my most outstanding holidays was in Rio de Janeiro with a friend. I jumped off the mountain next to the Sugarloaf on a double tandem paraglide. I saw what the birds see – it was just one of the most breathtaking experiences.
Greatest travel luxury?
My iPod; I like to listen to music.
It's a shame, but since I've had kids I don't read any more because I've developed travel sickness.
Where has seduced you?
I loved the Pangkor Laut resort in Malaysia. I grew up in Hong Kong and until I had been to Malaysia, I didn't think that South-east Asia would be very different. It was a comple contrast and so beautiful.
Better to travel or arrive?
I prefer to arrive. I used to love travelling but now I dread it – unless it's paid for by work and I'm in first class!
Worst travel experience?
I was very ill on the Trans-Siberian railway on a school trip from Beijing to Irkutsk. I couldn't escape the movement of the train and I was on the very top bunk.
I had a pretty horrible time in Udaipur, India. I got food poisoning. The people and place were lovely but I also found the level of poverty heartbreaking. I didn't feel I could really enjoy myself.
A hotel I stayed at when I was working in Birmingham. Another was in France. It looked stunning on the website but the room was literally the size of a toilet. I was with my family and we practically slept on top of each other.
I particularly loved the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, the Oberoi in Mauritius and the Sheraton in Kuala Lumpur. I like Asian-based hotels – in terms of customer service they are unmatched.
Favourite walk/swim/ ride/drive?
I like Scotland for walking, particularly around Loch Lomond. It's absolutely stunning. I also like places like the Maldives for walking along the beaches.
Best meal abroad?
The tastiest food you'll ever have is from the hawker markets in Singapore. The food is made very simply, right in front of you by people who know what they're doing.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
I tend not to stay in the hotel; I go out and get my bearings to know where I am. I think that stems from getting lost in Iran when I was a child; I got separated from my parents temporarily and it was very frightening.
Places I have never been to, like Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and Madagascar. However I'm terrified of the spiders in Australia.
Hong Kong, where I lived until I was 13. It has so much about it that I love – it's like a mini-Manhattan.
We're going to Prince Edward Island for the summer. It's somewhere Raiomond's family goes for their holidays, so we're taking our family along.
Nina Wadia stars in 'I Can't Think Straight', available on DVD from Monday 4 May
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