Anthony Bourdain says things. Right now, the Quotable Bourdain:
Last night was the series premiere of Parts Unknown, world traveler and food documentarian Anthony Bourdain's new CNN show after he decamped from the Travel Channel. It's a lot like No Reservations, but amped up hard. With first-rate work from the Emmy-award winning production team at Zero Point Zero shooting in a bunch of locations that are more-or-less off-limits to outsiders — "my crew and I are among the first to record what has been unseen for decades by most of the world," says Bourdain in Myanmar — it's back to what they do best. And that also means Bourdain being extremely quotable, although this episode strayed clear of any dick jokes. The whole episode is online, but here now, the Quotable Bourdain:
1) On the waiter-summoning smooch: "What's up with this? With all the kissing sounds, that kissing, smooching sound you're hearing all over the place? My wife would have been in like ten fights so far. 'Sorry, who are you smooching at? Bitch?'"
2) "This is how you summon a waiter in Myanmar. I know, I know. Try that at Hooter's and you'll be rightly ejected. It takes some getting used to, for sure."
3) On prawn curry: "That is some good shit my friends. We shall know them by the number of their dead."
4) On running into Philippe Lajaunie, owner of Bourdain's old restaurant, Les Halles: "It seems only natural that he be in Burma/Myanmar at the same time as me... Back before anything, before I wrote the book that changed my life from broke-ass utility-grade chef to whatever it is I am today, I had never been to Asia, until this guy sent me to Japan. And got me hooked."
5) On similarities back home: "Tazaungdaing, full moon day, a holiday marking the end of the rainy season, and today marks the beginning of three days of break out the crazy... Cotton candy, trinkets, tube socks, just like a New York street fair, but with infinitely better food.
6) On Bourdain's bird preferences: "Any time you come with a crispy little bird, I'm all over it."
7) On that crazy human-powered Ferris wheel: Good luck, may you return home safely, with all your limbs intact.
8) On the dangers of Myanmar : "Everyone I've met in this country so far has been to prison."
9) With the Burmese punk rock band, Side Effect:
Bourdain: What American bands do you hate?
Darko C. of Side Effect: Personally, Creed.
Bourdain: Yes, they are like the worst band in the history, of like, the world.
10) On the train Night Express to Bagan, Myanmar's ancient capital: "600 km of what will turn out to be kidney-softening travel by rail... So really the question on this end of the journey is: come back on the train, or fly back in a coffin? Mishaps on both Burmese planes and trains are not, shall we say, unheard of. The widow express."
11) On going 50 mph in a terrifying train: "Derailments, or rail slips as they are referred to here, a somewhat more benign sounding occurrence than say, rolling off into a rice patty, are not uncommon. And one can't help wondering what the engineer and conductor are thinking, as the train speeds heedlessly on, faster and faster."
12) On using the train's bathroom: "Try pissing in the bathroom and find yourself launched straight up into the ceiling. Bringing to a rude conclusion what was already an omnidirectional experience."
13) On Myanmar: "It should be pointed out that we are still within the confines of the tourist triangle. Areas permissible for travel. Whole sectors of this country, much of it in fact, are off limits. Simply put, there is shit going on they do not want you to see."
14) On Bagan: "You'd expect this, an ancient city of nearly unparalleled size and beauty to be overrun with tourists, souvenir shops, snack bars, tours on tape. But no... You'll encounter some Western travelers at Bagan's temple sites for sure... But for the most part you're far more likely to bump into a goat than a foreigner."
15) On the country still being under military control: "What I'm amazed with is how friendly and open people are with us. It's very easy for me to say whatever I want about the government, right? We can go home. Our lives will go on. We don't pay the price. Everybody who helped us could very well pay that price. It should be pointed out that a lot of people did not, a lot of people were very nice to us, but said, 'Look, I've already been in jail. I really don't want to go back.'"
· Full Episode 1: Bourdain in Myanmar [CNN]
· All Anthony Bourdain Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Parts Unknown Coverage on Eater [-E-]