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tv   The Travel Show  BBC News  August 19, 2017 10:30am-11:01am BST

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some in the south and east will avoid showers altogether. the showers are most frequent in scotland, and it is windy. it will bea scotland, and it is windy. it will be a brighter day in north east scotla nd be a brighter day in north east scotland than yesterday. temperatures in the south—east of england, 22 celsius. showers will be confined to the north of scotland overnight. under clear skies, it will be a chilly night. temperatures in the countryside are down into single figures at the start of sunday morning. a fresh start, but they lovely, bright one for the vast majority, showers in scotland clearing. the clouded areas will be south west england, wales and northern ireland. it will feel warmer than today, given the lighter winds. the rain will spread into other parts of southern england. goodbye for now. hello. this is bbc news. the headlines:
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police in spain are searching for three members of the jihadist group which carried out the attacks in barcelona and cambrils. they include younes abouyaaqoub, the man the police now believe drove the van into crowds on las ramblas. steve bannon says he will continue to take on president trump's opponents, despite being sacked as his chief strategist. mr bannon said he would take on the powers that be in politics, the media and business. aid officials say more than 16 million people have been affected by seasonal flooding across south asia. the floods in nepal, bangladesh and india are thought to have killed about 500 people and are expected to worsen. stars from stage and screen have continued to pay tribute to one of the greats of british television, sir bruce forsyth, who died yesterday at the age of 89. now on bbc news, time for the travel show.
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india. 70 years after independence, this emerging world power of more than a billion people is still changing. i'm on a journey to two extremes of this vast subcontinent. crystal, ha rd crystals. white salt. can probably taste it. i began in gujarat, in the far west. this is genuinely incredible, i'm in heaven. pretty crowded. this week, i've travelled 2,000 miles over to the north—east. i'm on the banks of the mighty river brahmaputra, and about to go to a very spiritual place. it's one of india's lesser—known regions. we're really high up, and just to my right, the border with bangladesh.
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a part of the country which prides itself on its traditions. he makes it look so easy. it's incredibly difficult. but it's also looking forward and embracing progress. so now, i'm on my way to go and see assam's very own eco—warrior. it is going to be an incredible adventure. india's north—east, a collection of eight states, almost cut off from the rest of this vast country, but for a tiny strip of land. at partition, a large swathe of this region was sectioned off, to become east pakistan, which later became bangladesh, leaving the indian area landlocked.
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it's geographically and culturally out on a limb. this is frontier country, little—known to tourists and other indians alike. they call it the land of cloud, but that's because of the severe monsoon season. hilly, remote, the air is so crisp and fresh, and the view, simply spectacular. it's this cool climate that made the state of meghalaya and its capital, shillong, a popular retreat for the british during the colonial era. they dubbed it the scotland of the east. it's pretty crowded! but what about the city today?
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there's only one way to find out. i took a bus into the city centre. so it's a modern industrial town these days, shillong. whoa, feel it! i think those brakes may need a bit of work. so tell me, what do you think about shillong? this is your home city. what do you think about this place? the culture here is so different. you see the people here. it's not like the rest of india. here they are a different country. more than half of the population
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of meghalaya belong to the khasi tribe, and here at shillong's british—built polo ground, a traditional british sport is thriving, but it sure ain't polo. every afternoon, hundreds of people gather from all around to take part in a really interesting daily ritual. this is called teer, derived from the hindi word for arrow. a target is mounted and 50 archers have just a few minutes to hit it as many times as possible. the significance of the sport dates
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back to the early 1800s, when khasi warriors defended their homeland not with guns and swords, but with bows and arrows. i'm aiming forthe target, obviously. the small one. why is it going to the ground like that? get out of the way, everyone, here we go. spectators get involved by taking bets on the number of arrows that hit the target. crucially, it's only the last two numbers of the total score that matter. they are all added up, and the last two digits will be the result.
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690, five arrows. so 95 is the result. meghalaya became one of the few states to legalise gambling in 1982. people here are very superstitious. they'll dream about their dead family. a dog, a cat. and they'll try to make it into numbers. so i have 200 rupees of my hard earned money here. i want to go and gamble, can you show me how to do it? yeah. let's go to one of these counters. namaste, hello. i want to gamble on a lucky number. two digits, lucky number. i'm going to go for... 39. and i'm going to put 100 rupees on 39. and on my other bet, i'm going to bet on... 77, can you fix it so i win(!)
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laughter that depends upon your fortune. i had a dream last night, i had a dream... on it, is that the kind of dreams we have? wish me luck. it's a tense moment as the numbers are counted... 310, 320... and my dream turns out to be... a shaggy dog story. 77 was my number, 97 is the result. still, two of my lucky numbers, nine and seven. next, i head out of the city to the region's famed
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khasi hills and villages. incredible to think that despite landscapes like this, the north—east is one of the least visited areas of india. but things are slowly changing. we've been travelling out of shillong into the countryside towards the bangladesh border for about two hours, and it has been pretty bumpy and rough roads until suddenly, we have reached this bit and it's beautifully smooth road that would not look out of place in a major town. we're heading towards a village which has a really interesting reputation. the khasi hills are the only place in the world that you will find a bridge grown from the roots of the indian rubber tree, or ficus elastica. it was constructed during 1840.
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this bridge was meant for the villagers to cross over the river when they go back to their daily life, mainly agriculture. during that time there was no partition, no bangladesh, no pakistan, so we had that link. during monsoon, the khasi hills are hit by record—breaking downpours, more than 20 feet of rain in a month. these are some of the wettest places on the planet. but people here have found an ingenious way to harness nature in order to prevent the village being cut off by floods. just tell me what they are doing right now. now they are tying the bamboos to cross on both sides of the river, so that the roots of this tree will be woven along here. bamboo acts as a scaffolding, which helps connect roots from trees growing
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on opposite river banks. this is skilled and occasionally dangerous work. thanks to continuous repairs, bridges like this have stood firm for generations. and will probably remain for many more to come. so we leave meghalaya and head to assam. passing through some of the 25,000 tea plantations that have made this region world—famous. we're on our way tojorhat, just a few hundred kilometres from india's border with china, and thejumping off point for our next adventure. i'm on the banks of the mighty river brahmaputra, and about to go to a very spiritual place,
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the island of majuli, one of the biggest river islands in the world. now, there's 150,000 people on that island, and only six ferries a day, so each one is really crammed. just looking at the list of prices for all the different categories: passengers, 15 rupees, that's ok, that's reasonable. then you go down, past the vehicles, and animals have to pay. buffalo has to pay a5. bull, cow, 30. and then the poor elephant has to fork out 907 rupees! perhaps fortunately, none of these creatures were travelling with us today. and incredibly, after a few last—minute panics, we're set to go. i climb onto the corrugated aluminium roof tojoin men who do this trip day in, day out.
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starting in tibet, the brahmaputra river is nearly 2,000 miles long, second only to the amazon in the volume of water that rushes through it. interesting game of cards going on here, i think they're playing whist. i'd like tojoin in. but it may be a private game. high stakes. we arrive at majuli, and it's turmoil again trying to get off the boat. to avoid the queue, there is a sneaky way out, which involves climbing onto another boat and going down that way. you know what, i think i'm going to take that one. well, here we are, on land.
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it doesn't look quite as spiritual as i imagined, into the distance, it's just one big flat land of desert. but let's see. majuli island is home to 22 monasteries, or satras, initially established in the 16th century by the assamese guru, sankardeva. boys are instructed from a very young age in the religion he preached, vaishnavism, an offshoot of hinduism. the monks are celibate and according to their beliefs
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they worship only one god, follow a vegetarian diet, and reject the caste system. and here, the doctrine includes this special art form. many of these monks have performed around the world. that was amazing. thank you very much indeed. i know you spend a lifetime learning the skills of this, but can i have a go, can i try? arms through here...? very good. thank you so much. one, two, three, four. there are 64 positions in this classical dance and i'm having
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trouble with the first two. it's very difficult. one, two, three... without the grace, as well. no grace whatsoever. he makes it look so easy. and it's incredibly difficult. i'm going to leave it to the experts. sometimes you have to give up and let them carry on. an exquisite performance. but there's one problem, one very big problem, and that is that this island may simply not exist in just a few decades' time. hard to believe at the moment,
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but there is a genuine worry that majuli will be submerged and destroyed within 20 years. in the last 70 years, it has shrunk in size by two thirds. and a majority of the original 65 monasteries have gone. every monsoon, the brahmaputra river swells, eroding the terrain around it. bit by bit, the land is disappearing. but there is hope. so now i'm on my way, in a tractor, to go and see a man whose life's mission has been to try and tackle the flooding that has afflicted majuli.
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he is assam's very own eco—warrior. sadly, these are areas that get completely deluged when the monsoon hits. there is some water there that we have to cross. for the last 36 years, jadav payeng has taken on an extraordinary challenge, to save this land from vanishing. and so, his lifelong calling began.
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jadav is known today as the forest man of india. he began planting trees so the roots would bind the soil, soak up excess water and prevent the land from being eroded by flooding. from a barren landscape, he has created a forest the size of new york's central park. and he feels this will be more effective in saving nearby majuli then following government flood prevention schemes. so we are now going to do the ritual that every guest that comes here
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is asked to do, which is to plant a tree. what kind of tree is this? i'm going to put this in here... it's good. jadav has spoken at environmental summits all around the world, and his roll call of guests is equally international. i do know that everyone who plants a tree, when it grows, they put a plaque down with their name on it, and i'm going to have that privilege, fantastic, thank you. and so to my final day in assam, and a different kind of ritualistic
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celebration of nature. if there's one recurring theme throughout my trip in the north—east, it's the sense of community everywhere, really, and there's nothing better to illustrate that than this... a local village, going down to the river to celebrate harvest. this community was started in 1939 by a young woman who came from the mountains in search of food. i believe she found that this place was better for her because it is close to water, and civilisation needs water, so she brought friends and family here, followed by a brother.
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the entire family of her own clan... all from that one woman? really, fascinating, wow. this is a much—loved annual celebration, and people of all ages gather to muck in, using fishing methods that have been passed down the generations. dig it in. stamping. then you pull it towards you... pull the stick... and look! you can't see this! it's full of fish, it's full of fish. this is today's catch... wow! that is pretty good. and this, you will cook, now? excellent. so my trek across india from border to border is almost over,
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and it's been a realjourney of discovery for me off the beaten track. this isn't india "on tap", instant gratification which some people are accustomed to, but the rewards, if you make the effort, are immense. asnake?! can they bite? yeah, it does. it bites. is it poisonous? no, not much. not much?! laughter can i get out now? to an extent, it's the august weather we've been getting used to, a day of sunshine and showers once again. a rainbow was caught by one of the showers earlier. if anything, the showers are fewer in number today. frequent this afternoon, some heavy with hail and thunder.
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but a bit more sunshine around and substantially warmer. northern ireland, england and wales have fewer showers in the afternoon. there will be big gaps in between. some areas avoid the showers altogether, with strong sunshine and temperatures into the low 20s. the showers keep going for a time overnight in the northern half of the uk, but most other areas become dry, with clear skies and mist and fog patches. but a rather cool night. if you're camping tonight, take the warm sleeping bag. temperatures in the countryside will be down to five or 6 degrees. a fresh start on sunday, but we have a ridge of high pressure between the low pressure system departing and the one coming in. this is the one that contains elements of what was hurricane gert in the form of cloud and outbreaks of rain. that will push in later in the day but to begin with, a sunny start, quickly warming up. the cloud will steadily
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increase in the afternoon, and by the end of the afternoon, particularly grey across parts of ireland, wales and south—west england. outbreaks of rain, drizzle and mist around the coast, with heavy bursts of rain around the irish sea. it will feel warmer out there where you have the sunshine and lighter winds. we finish today with outbreaks of rain through the midlands towards the south—east corner. it is an august weekend, so some of you may be heading to the airport shortly. tomorrow, here's what you can expect in the mediterranean. a few storms in eastern parts of italy into the balkans and northern greece, but lots of hot sunshine, particularly hot across inland portugal and spain. and it gets warmer here over the next few days. particularly humid on monday into tuesday. the rain becomes more confined to the far north. increasing sunshine the further south you are. by tuesday, a burst of warmth coming our way. temperatures could get to the mid if not high 20s across parts of central and south—east england. this is bbc news,
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i'm rachel schofield. the headlines at 11am. the manhunt continues. police mount a major operation to find younes abouyaaqoub, the man now believed to have driven a van into crowds in barcelona, killing 13 people. relatives of a seven—year—old boy, missing in in the city, have flown to spain to search for him. british bornjulian cadman became separated from his mother during the van attack. iam i am live in barcelona, a city still trying to come to terms with the horrific events of the last couple of days, but also one paying tribute to those who died in a terror attack. steve bannon, donald trump's former chief strategist, has vowed to go to war with the president's opponents,
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after being fired from his job. also in the next hour, we'll get the latest on major
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