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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
Programme 2: Asia
Equator line across Indonesia

  • Simon Reeve's journey along the equator across Asia begins off the coast of Sumatra, in the far west of Indonesia.

    A collection of perhaps 18,000 islands here are home to more than 220 million people.

    At night the islanders sing of lost loves and the lure of working on the mainland.

  • A boat trip along the equator takes Simon to mainland Sumatra, where he hears fears about bird-flu and meets the Minang people, where men live as guests in their wives' family homes, and it is the women who propose marriage.
  • In Kalimantan, the Indonesian region of the island of Borneo, conservationists warn that hundreds of orangutans in Borneo are killed each year as a result of habitat destruction. The main problems are illegal logging and huge palm oil plantations, a product found in thousands of Western consumer products.

    EQUATOR: ASIA
    Sunday, 3 September, 2006
    2000 BST on BBC Two

    Simon finds illegal loggers who explain they need to earn a decent living and then heads to a protected orangutan area inside a beautiful national park.

  • Heading east through Borneo, he arrives in a village where tribespeople offer to adopt him.

    Not wanting to appear rude, Simon accepts, and the next day he adheres to local custom by giving his new "father" a fine pair of trousers. He is then blessed with chicken blood, presented with a short sword and "adopted".

  • Further along the equator on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, Simon is told of a long history of violence between Muslims and Christians.

    He visits the site of a recent bomb blast that killed several shoppers at a pig market and speaks to locals about the religious tensions there.

  • EQUATOR: ASIA
    Look at the highlights of Simon's journey in Asia.

  • On Indonesia's beautiful Togean Islands, Simon stays in a village of "sea gypsies" who live in stilt-houses by the sea. Expert divers, they take Simon fishing for octopus, then let him win an underwater breath-holding contest.
  • Simon and the crew head back to the mainland to get a flight out of Indonesia but are caught in floods that kill at least 220 locals.

    In a flooded town the crew are helped into a boat with their equipment.

    Locals pause while retrieving their belongings from flooded houses to wave and shout: "Michael Owen! David Beckham!"


Producer/director: Darren Kemp
Series producer: Will Daws



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