Crushed by the disappointment of not being able to get into West Papua on foot, Charley Boorman is forced to take a series of commercial flights in order to resume his journey north to Tokyo. Picking up his route in Indonesia, Charley is excited about a new country and a new adventure ahead.
It’s 1999 and Cabramatta’s never had it so bad. Cabramatta train station is awash with junkies and dealers, many just teenagers. It’s like this everyday. Self made entrepreneurs in a local black market economy of drugs and gangland violence.
On his way from Sydney up the Pacific Rim to Tokyo, Charley Boorman arrives in Papua New Guinea. There, he goes dirt biking with a group of locals on a previously unridden and dangerous route. Aware that this country has one of the worst reputations in the southern hemisphere for hostility, Charley has to keep his wits about him.
On Monday, 4th September 1994, John Newman, the state MP for Cabramatta, was shot dead in the driveway of his home. The first political assassination in the history of Australia leaves the Vietnamese people of Cabramatta demonised and vilified - the community and the ideals of multiculturalism itself are in tatters.
In this travel show with a difference, Charley Boorman attempts to travel north from Sydney up the Pacific Rim to Tokyo, using only local forms of transport. Tonight, Charley heads up the east coast of Australia with a huge biker convoy in tow. Along the way he meets unique characters, travels in a replica Spitfire, tries his hand at cattle mustering, and even gets bitten by a snake.
Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta is the story of how the Vietnamese community fought back from adversity and found their place in modern Australia. Told for the first time by the community itself, this three-part series features interviews with the youth who got caught up in gang culture, politicians and police who were involved in Cabramatta's critical moments, and the ordinary people who lived through it all - from the crime and violence, the fear and racism, a heroin epidemic and the first political assassination in Australia's history.
Tonight's train journey travels from Istanbul, through Sofia, Zagreb, and Munich back to Amsterdam. On board the train, passengers talk about migration and a united Europe. The European dream is alive everywhere. At the same time there is insecurity about joining the EU and the price one will have to pay.
Tonight's train journey travels from the Lebanese side of the Israeli-Lebanese border via Hama and Homs, through Syria to Gaziantep in Turkey, and on to Ankara, Istanbul and Kapikule, a town on the Bulgarian border. On board the train, passengers discuss topics to do with the Turkish wish to become part of the EU; entering Europe with or without a veil; and issues to do with Christian and Kurdish minorities.
Tonight's train journey takes us to Beersheva, Ashdod, Tel Aviv, then Haifa and to the far northern Nassariyah, bordering with Lebanon. No region in the world shows a clearer divide between 'us' and 'them' than the one existing between Israelis and Palestinians. But even here the picture is not simply black and white.
Tonight's train journey takes us on a trip from the Iraqi-Syrian border to Aleppo, Syria. From there the train continues to Damascus and Amman in Jordan, and then to Aqaba. Along the way, travellers talk about their relationship with their enemies, Israel and America. Away from the train, Rana Husseini, a Jordanian journalist, who questions honour killings in her country, finds herself accused of being pro-American.
Tonight's train journey takes us on a trip from the Pakistani-Iranian border via Zahedan to Tehran, and from there to Istanbul. In the train, young Iranians talk about their relationship with the Ayatollah regime and its repressive policies. Once the train crosses the Turkish border though, everything that is illegal - such as alcohol, card games, singing and being unveiled - comes out as soon as Iran is behind them.
Tonight’s train journey takes us on a trip through no man’s land between India and Pakistan aboard the Samjautha Express. From Lahore the train continues on to Islamabad and Peshawar, and from there to Kabul, Afghanistan. There the bus and train goes to Quetta, Pakistan and the trip ends in Taftan, a Pakistani border town by Iran. During the journey, passengers talk about the future directions of the two countries.
Tonight's train journey takes us from Rameswaram past Bombay, Ahmedabad and Delhi to Amritsar and the Pakistani border. In the train there are discussions with travellers from several religions about the role of religion in modern society. Outside of the train there are interviews with the mayor of Ahmedabad, who is teaching Hindus and Muslims to live side by side, and a Hindu-Muslim couple in Bombay who publish a magazine on religious conflict.
Tonight's train journey takes us from the border of Bangladesh south through India. India is a fast-changing society, which is trying to maintain its identity. One young traveller talks about his dream to become the manager of an multinational IT firm. Not an unrealistic dream in India, which has become an IT superpower in the past 10 years. India is competing with the world, but at the same time, everyone has strong ties with century old traditions.
Tonight's episode chronicles the journey from Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) to Benapole, the border between Bangladesh and India. Outside of the train there are interviews with Burmese political refugees. The trip ends in Bangladesh, a country that has endured famines, natural disasters and widespread poverty.
Travelling south from Bangkok towards Malaysia, we meet a transsexual coping with modernity and a Muslim teacher discussing Muslim separatism. Passing the Malaysian border, people on the train talk about former Prime Minister Mahathir's leadership. The train travels through Malacca and Kuala Lumpur to end at the Thai border town, Hat Yai.
In Thailand everyone seems to be on the train as the city calls. The passengers have stories about the pain of leaving the village and children, and hope for a better future. On the train, a Buddhist monk speaks of travellers having wings and non-travellers having tails. Outside the train there are portraits of a Jewish rabbi and a female Buddhist monk who try to stop time.
This episode follows a train journey through Cambodia. It was not that long ago that Cambodia lost a quarter of its citizens under the Pol Pot regime. During this period the railways became dilapidated due to neglect and conflict, but now there is a daily connection between the capital and the Thai border. Along the way, passengers talk about daily survival and the difficult task of coming to terms with the past.
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