Finding Wisdom from an Idiot Abroad



We see a red bucket on the sand.



The side of the road leading to the Pyramids of Giza. We see tourist buses parked next to the structure. Another bus passing by distracts our view. Then we suddenly see pieces of paper, plastic and other scraps swirling around in what looks like a tiny rotating column of air.



The shiny head of a man in his late thirties. Mouth agape and eyes squinting trying to figure out why there suddenly was so much debris up in the air. We see his gaze follow the movement of the wind. A piece of plastic hits him on the left side of his shoulder.


MAN (with an irritated English accent)

It’s like a little tornado, isn’t it?

And you don’t see that on the brochure do you?

Shitty nappy whizzing in the air.

They tend to leave it out.


The man continues to follow the movement around him.



You see, I’ve always wanted to see a tornado before I die.

It’s on my wish list before I die.

It’s a natural, natural thing that I don’t under stand.


Soft guitar music starts playing. The man goes back to looking around with awe on his face. He then seems to be deep in thought as he realizes that he has fulfilled one of his life’s wishes. He is oblivious to the Pyramids behind his back.


Welcome to a scene from an Idiot Abroad where you get the most unexpected snippets of wisdom from Karl Pilkington. He says the things we think about but never dare speak out loud. I mean haven’t you ever been in a situation where you get to a place and decided that what you heard about it was all just hype? Or what about arriving at observations on cultural differences that are a little more “unconventional”?



For the uninitiated, An Idiot Abroad is a travel show/social experiment produced by Ricky Gervais (who happens to be his close friend). It premiered on Sky1 in Europe last year and is now shown in the US on the Science Channel. The show charts Pilkington’s reaction when visiting the New Seven Wonders of the World as well as to the situations he’s placed in, the country’s cultural habits and idiosyncrasies.


Here’s a sample clip of Karl busting the myth of the Mexican Jumping Beans.

I remember watching the same Sesame Street episode when I was a kid in the Philippines. I really thought they existed and were from Mexico!


Needless to say, I find the show amusing and entertaining. I like it so much that I have compiled my top 10 favorite quotes in no particular order:



1. Karl upon viewing a radio with an attached lamp in China: “The whole beauty of radio is that you can listen to it in the dark.


2. On the Pyramids of Giza: “It’s like a massive game of jenga, that’s got out of hand.”


3. More on Egypt which had me laughing out loud….Karl rounds a street corner and sees a wooden cage on the side full of rabbits. He turns to his guide and says:

Karl: Is that a pet shop?

Guide: What?

Karl: Where you buy animals…

Guide: Ahhh…no. That’s food.

Karl: So when you look at them, do you go “mmm…” rather than “aaaw…”?

Guide: Well, yeah. We eat them…


4. “Jellyfish are 97% water or something, so how much are they doing? Just give them another 3% and make them water. It’s more useful.


5. After Ricky Gervais declares how he would love to have lived in The Treasury at Petra: “What I say about things like this is, you’re better to be in a cave across from it where you are lookin’ at that, you’re gettin’ a nice view. The people livin’ in this are looking at my hole (cave).”


6. While sleeping inside the mentioned cave above in Petra, Jordan. (There really was one after all): “The only thing that would get on my nerves if I lived here (in a cave) is this sort of ‘open door policy’. Not having a door doesn’t help. Anyone you know could walk past and see that you’re in and keep nipping in”.


7.  On top of Machu Picchu: “No wonder there is 30 per cent less oxygen here. I think it’s due to all the tourists climbing this hill.” (so true!)


8.  In Mexico by the side of the Chichen Iza pyramid “I was looking into it when I noticed I was surrounded by lizards. Big ones. I gave one of them a bit of a HobNob. It seemed to love it. It ended up eating two to itself. It’s odd to think the Mayans have probably never tried a Hobnob, yet this lizard had”.


9. After Karl’s camel had a meltdown along the Jordan desert: “Camels have been around for years. The ships of the deserts, that’s what they’re known as. We ended up with the Titanic.”


10. On Christ the Redeemer in Brazil: “I sorta think from a distance…Jesus, top of a hill, lookin’ like he’s about to bungee jump.”


So what’s your favorite Karl Pilkington quote(s)?

19 Comments Finding Wisdom from an Idiot Abroad

  1. Grace

    Rease, he can be very painful to watch and sometimes I wonder if it is an act!

    Jillian, sky1 has a youtube channel. Or you can go to the science channel website.


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