My life in travel: Paterson Joseph
'I'm in love with St Lucia. The scenery is amazing'
Saturday 06 September 2008
First holiday memory?
I'm from London and I had never seen the sea until I was about 15, when I went on a trip to Littlehampton. I remember it being blustery and cold and there being an arcade somewhere. We all had a big dance – half of Kensal Rise was having a party in Littlehampton.
Going to St Lucia, where my parents are from, with my wife in 1996. I had heard so much about and it seemed like home. The people are wonderful and the scenery, food and music are amazing. The food was exactly what we cooked at home only there was much more variety. In Anse La Ray they do these amazing fish fries. Afterwards, you hop on a little bus and go to a "jump up", which is basically a party, to dance the night away.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
The West Country. I've spent a bit of time in Bristol and I rather like it there, particularly in Clifton, by the bridge. Gloucester is beautiful as well; I came across a lot of lovely old villages with thatched cottages. I took my parents-in-law there; they're French and they loved it – it's proper England.
What have you learnt from your travels?
That the whole world is not the West and that there are other ways of doing things, whether it's eating, seeing or valuing life.
Ideal travelling companion?
My wife. But if I had to travel with somebody fascinating and who knew everything, I guess it would have to be Stephen Hawking. I would love to hang around with him – he unpacks the universe and I think he would be a really fascinating holiday companion.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I'm definitely not an adrenalin junkie; I get enough of that at work. Holidays are always a matter of relaxing and spending time doing nothing. I like to eat and drink and not worry about it. I like to see a few sights, but I don't have to see everything in the area.
Greatest travel luxury?
My iStation. It takes up space in the suitcase but I love to be able play music anywhere.
I've just finished weeping my way through The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It suits me as it's very straightforwardly written. It's one of the most beautiful and moving things I've ever read.
Where has seduced you?
St Lucia, particularly the sulphur springs and Diamond Falls. I'm in love with the country!
Better to travel or arrive?
Both. I like to enjoy the travelling and to be at rest when I arrive.
Worst travel experience?
Sicily, where I received the most unfriendly welcome as a black man I have ever experienced. I had spent some time in Naples at a theatre festival, and I had a couple of weeks off to go backpacking and it was hell. I experienced pointing in the street, sneering looks and the girl I was travelling with was chased. It was awful. Then I was brutalised by the police at the airport. Thank goodness I had a British passport to get them off me. It took me a long time to get over that and realise that not all Italians are racist pigs.
It's the reception that makes a hotel for me. It's so annoying when they get things wrong. That happened once at a Radisson in London and it drove me mad.
I stayed in some lovely hotels in Thailand, especially the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. It was very peaceful and really well done. It also had food to die for and the staff were incredibly polite.
Favourite walk/swim/ ride/drive?
I live in Tours, France, and there is a lovely cycle from Tours to Savonnière. It's a one-hour ride through fields and along the river.
Best meal abroad?
In Istanbul. I was very young and on my second job, touring with a company called Cheek by Jowl. We ended up in this little restaurant. There was music and we sat at a long table and were fed what seemed like 15 courses. The food was absolutely lovely and you left feeling light as air as it wasn't stodgy.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
Unpack my suitcase, which clears my head. Then I look out of the window and see what's going on and go for a walk to orientate myself. Berlin was great for that. I was there filming for a month, and had a great time cycling everywhere.
I'm going to go back to St Lucia, hopefully in February, to take my son to see his grandparents. There's a cable car that takes about an hour and goes into the rainforest and I know he'll love it. I'd like to stay at the Jade Mountain Resort, which is a very expensive celeb hangout, but I can't afford it.
London. You can disappear in it and it's so nice to do that sometimes.
St Lucia is the next big one. I'm very British but there's that part of me that I want to share with my son. He's half French and thinks he's half English and I'm trying to explain to him gently that that's not quite the case. I think going there will help. Before that, we might go to the Ile de Ré on the west coast of France.
Paterson Joseph stars in the new Aardman animation 'Chop Socky Chooks', starting on Monday on the Cartoon Network at 5.30pm
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