Ben Crowder directs the award-winning production of Te Pō which returns to Q Theatre from October 25-November 4. Book at qtheatre.co.nz
What was your greatest holiday?
The greatest trip I've ever been on is always the most recent - which for me was a fabulous tour through China, Singapore and Thailand hosted by the Asia New Zealand Foundation. It was an intensive three weeks, exploring the theatre scene in these countries with two other selected theatre practitioners. We had excellent hosts who had lots of personal contacts and allowed us access to some incredible places I would never have been able to experience on my own.
And the worst?
Being unwell on a bus in the middle of the night in India. I was delirious. I remember finding myself being looked after by a stranger - who had me under a water pump in a village square - they ran and got me a local cola and made me eat a teaspoon of salt to keep my electrolytes up. They got me back on the bus - the person I was travelling with was equally unwell. Amazingly we made it to wherever we were going - the fever broke - and somehow we still had our belongings, money and passports. I never saw the person again who helped - the kindness of strangers.
If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing?
I hate to admit it - but having a beer. I love unwinding on holiday - soaking up the atmosphere.
What's the dumbest thing you've ever done when travelling?
Ending up in the snow in the Himalayas on my own - without a jacket/jersey - just a map and a bar of chocolate, having to walk through a bandit-haunted forest for two days, then realising why no one was there in the off-season as the monsoon broke and the leeches arrived. It was one of the quickest departures from a mountain range one could imagine.
Aisle seat or window seat?
Window - I love to look out.
Complete this sentence: I can't travel without ...
A robe and a book.
What's the best travel tip you've ever been given?
Just eat the street food - and don't worry.
What was the most memorable meal you've had while travelling? I ended up in rural France, being hosted for a grand evening meal (I was there through luck, as the people I was staying with were having hospitality repaid). It was with a traditional farming family - they spoke no English and I spoke little French. There were perhaps 14 courses, all exquisite.
What's the best thing you've brought back from a trip? A khaen from my latest trip to Thailand - it is a traditional folk instrument from the Issan area. It came in what looked like a rifle bag (great for airports!). However it made haunting music we used in our last show Spirit House (I then needed to get a khaen player from Thailand to play the music in the show).
Favourite airport to land at? I enjoyed Sapporo airport in Hokkaido, Japan as it had a fully functioning and large fish market running in the airport. I liked that it felt totally true to the region and Japanese culture and not just another homogenised shopping mall.
What's the next trip you've got planned?
Thinking about a return to Japan - maybe taking in Okinawa this time; it is known for its beaches and beautiful glass.
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