The BBC’s World Affairs Editor John Simpson reveals his love for China, Iran and Ed Sheeran tracks – and recalls an air rage incident with a Colombian cartel member
The BBC’s World Affairs Editor John Simpson checks into our travel Q&A
The BBC’s World Affairs Editor John Simpson checks into our travel Q&A.
He talks about his earliest travel memory, the times he has been most afraid, his worst setback – and more.
YOUR EARLIEST TRAVEL MEMORY?
I travelled only between London and Suffolk until I was 19. Then, in 1962, my father said he would take me to Casablanca — he was a film buff and wanted to see the real place. Since then I’ve visited at least 154 countries.
WHAT GAVE YOU THE TRAVEL BUG?
My father’s stories about the Suez Canal, India and Australia. He had been around the world several times because he ran away to sea at 15 and became a steward on a P&O liner.
EVER BEEN AFRAID?
Lots of times. On an internal flight in Colombia I fell asleep and a huge thug in front of me jammed his seat back into my face. I was so cross I pushed it forward and my cameraman said: ‘I really don’t think that is a good move.’ I think the thug worked for a cartel.
Music on my phone. I listen to everything from Shostakovich to Ed Sheeran.
I was trying to cross a bridge in Angola during the war there, and a drunken soldier threw my passport in the river. I had to stay for another two months.
Simpson says Iran is his favourite destination – but he is banned ‘for now’. Pictured, a sunrise shot of the city of Kashan
La Fontaine de Mars, in Paris.
The Negresco, in Nice.
YOUR FAVOURITE DESTINATION?
Iran. It’s delightful — but I’m banned for now.
I’d like to visit Chad to see its brilliant mud-brick buildings. And my new novel is set in China, which I’ve been going to since the Tiananmen Square demos [in 1989].
I don’t like the way the government works, but the people and culture of China, I love.
- Our Friends In Beijing, by John Simpson, is out now (John Murray, £18.99).
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