Don’t Merely View TV, Watch TV

A segment of the Travel Channel’s popular “No Reservations” show, with Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain clearly has one of the best jobs ever. Travel. Meet. Eat. Drink. Swear. Sleep off the gluttony-induced euphoria and repeat. Bourdain’ shows are brilliant in both content and message: learn about people by talking to them, share their lives through their food. No more intimate way to understand people than to get elbow-to-elbow with friendly folks over fried sardines.

“No Reservations” is also a brilliant geography lesson for adults and children alike. Yes, Anthony swears, and he talks about testicles, rectums, boiled pork anus, drinking blood, and how hungover he felt the following morning. But, outside of all of that, his shows are extremely educational.

Watch the clip above, then answer the following questions. Go ahead; I’ll wait.

  1. Where is Kerala?
  2. What level of education can a visitor expect of residents of Kerala?
  3. Hindus are vegetarians; how can they serve beef?
  4. Besides Hinduism, what other religions can be found in Kerala?
  5. Who eats at the street food vendors?
  6. What European country left a cultural imprint on Kerala?
  7. Are tomatoes native to Kerala?
  8. Is curry native to Kerala?
  9. What hand was used for eating?
  10. How many movies per year are shot in Kerala?
  11. How many languages are spoken in India?
  12. Where is Bollywood?

In teaching World Geography, I try to find examples around us to help coach people see the geography around them. I try to coach people to find the geography in what they do, what they buy, or what they watch. You don’t have to buy educational DVDs to supplement a course. Merely watching TV can provide great educational fodder, if you know what to look for.

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