Madventures

Thursday 2 September, 11:30pm on Fiver

Fearless Finns Riku Rantala and Tunna Milonoff continue their globetrotting adventures. This week, the intrepid Finns are on a quest to discover the true nature of Chinese Kung Fu. Along the way, they train an insect for combat, eat dog meat and meet a Kung Fu master. The boys’ first stop is the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province – an important centre for both Buddhism and Kung Fu. However, Riku is unimpressed by the commercialisation of the once-sacred practice of martial arts. “It feels like we’re in one big Kung Fu theme park – something is definitely missing,” he says. They decide to visit the Shaolin Epo Wushu College in Dengfeng to learn some moves from a young student. Although Riku is clearly out of shape, he insists on fighting after some basic training. “Training is for the untalented – I want to fight!” he says enthusiastically. Will his large frame be any match against a trained martial artist? Riku and Tunna travel to Beijing by train, briefly stopping at the town of Wu Qiao in Hebei Province. Many of its citizens are circus performers or acrobats, and so skilful street displays are an everyday occurrence. Upon arriving in Beijing, the Finns go out for a meal with a difference – all the foodstuffs were once reproductive organs. Riku tucks into a ‘penis platter’, but has difficulty swallowing the large horse genitalia. The next morning the pair go to Beijing’s Tianjao Market, which specialises in the trade of crickets. The boys learn that specially trained and bred crickets are pitted against each other in combat. “Even the insects do Kung Fu in China,” Riku says. As gambling is common at such fights, certain crickets are in very high demand and can cost up to $1,000. Sometimes the competitors are also given steroids to improve their chances. Riku and Tunna decide to buy and train an insect for combat, naming it Jiminy. After purchasing some specialist miniature training equipment, the Finns take the insect to a match. The crickets are aggravated with straws in order to provoke them into fighting. However, it eventually becomes clear that Jiminy is non-violent. “Jiminy’s a sissy – he didn’t fight!” a disappointed Riku says.

Thursday 26 August, 11:30pm on Fiver

Fearless Finns Riku Rantala and Tunna Milonoff continue their globetrotting adventures. This week, the intrepid duo travel to the heart of Papua New Guinea to find the Kukukuku tribe, an infamous people known for their bloodthirsty ways and cannibalistic acts. The two fearless Finns are in Papua New Guinea, one of the least explored countries in the world and home to over 800 small tribes – some of whom were completely unknown to the outside world until a few decades ago. Now, lucrative logging businesses regularly clash with the indigenous people in Papua’s vast jungles. Riku and Tunna meet up with their local guide Sam, a retired army officer. Their plan is to fly with Sam to Menyamya, then hike into the heart of the Kukukuku tribal territory. “Expect the unexpected,” Sam warns. The pair take a plane to the Menyamya jungle airstrip, then take a two-day expedition into the forest with Sam and several porters. “There’s rocky terrain, cold rivers and impenetrable vegetation as well,” Riku says. The group have to sleep in a mosquito-ridden part of the jungle on their first night out, but have an invigorating wash in a waterfall the next morning. On the second day of their trek, the team makes a grim and shocking discovery. Located on a rocky outcrop is a row of decomposing bodies, propped up in a sitting position. Sam explains that these are ceremonially mummified Kukukuku warriors. Soon after, they spot a woman on a mountain path who beats a hasty retreat back to her village. Sam is uneasy, and warns the duo of impending danger. “It is most likely we will be attacked, please take extra precautions,” he tells them. He then goes on to tell the panicked pair what to do in the event of an arrow attack. As they reach a clearing there is a horrific screaming sound, followed by several dozen warriors rushing over in an attack formation, all shouting and brandishing weapons. The journalists are soon surrounded, but it becomes apparent that the display of force is a way to express dominance, and is not motivated by aggression. However, Riku is still not entirely at ease. “There’s skulls everywhere,” he whispers to Tunna.

Thursday 19 August, 11:30pm on Fiver

Fearless Finns Riku Rantala and Tunna Milonoff continue their globetrotting adventures. This week, the dynamic duo explore a dangerously radioactive ghost city, eat leeches in St Petersburg, jump off a high-rise building, seek out the secret of eternal life in a Buddhist temple, and play an ancient sport involving a headless sheep carcass. Riku and Tunna are in the ex-Soviet Union, formerly the largest country in the world and a land of many unusual and colourful customs. Their first stop is Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Before entering the colourfully titled ‘death zone’, the two playfully tick off some necessary items. “Geiger Counter, iodine pills, your balls wrapped in foil…” Riku quips. They are given a rare opportunity to get inside the plant itself by the ex-sheriff of Chernobyl, Alexander Naumov. After the accident in 1986, severe radiation poisoning left him incapacitated in hospital for nine months. After gaining access to the site and donning radiation suits, the pair are advised to not put anything on the floor as it still contains a layer of radioactive dust. As the disaster is nearing its 25th anniversary, there is now some concern that the crumbling concrete containment shell is weakening and another disaster is imminent. “A lethal atomic heart still beats, waiting to be released,” Riku ominously intones. As 200,000 people were driven from their homes after the disaster, the Chernobyl containment site is littered with ghost towns. One of the largest is Pripyat, which previously had a population of 50,000. As Riku and Tunna walk around the decaying city, the size and scale of the ruined development is shocking. “The silence is eerie,” Riku notes. To lighten the mood, Riku gets some leech therapy in St Petersburg. The procedure is gaining popularity again in Russia, and is touted as a cure for a wide array of ailments. The lads decide to take the process one step further, and cook up the leeches that have become engorged with Riku’s blood. A quick game of rock, paper, scissors concludes with Tunna being selected to eat the morsels. “I’m not going to eat your blood!” Tunna tells Riku. However, he is soon persuaded – but will the leeches stay down for long?

Thursday 12 August, 11:30pm on Fiver

Fearless Finns Riku Rantala and Tunna Milonoff continue their globetrotting adventures. This week, the intrepid duo embark on a pilgrimage across northern India. Along the way, they sample special milkshakes made from the cannabis plant, experience an extreme religious ritual involving animal sacrifice and bathe in the purifying waters of the Ganges river. The latest leg of Riku and Tunna’s worldwide voyage of discovery begins in the holy city of Varanasi in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. One of the oldest continually inhabited metropolises in the world, Varanasi is situated on the banks of the Ganges, and is known as a city of temples – and of death. Every day, funeral pyres burn up and down the river bank, as locals cremate their dead to purify them of their sins. The presence of corpses and human waste in the water makes the Ganges incredibly dirty, with E coli levels estimated to be around 340,000 times the safe limit. “But to the Hindus, the river is a mother – and how could a mother be filthy?” asks Riku. To prepare themselves for the journey ahead, the Finns enjoy a glass of bhang ki thandai – a special milkshake made from the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant. “Ah, I love India!” says Tunna as he knocks back the concoction. A few hours later, the bhang has taken effect and Riku and Tunna join the locals for a street festival in honour of Lord Shiva, involving a good deal of dancing and music. Further down the river, the pair explore another side of the Hindu religion as they meet some Aghori devotees. Feared and respected by other Hindus, these holy men live on the edge of society, devoting their lives to worship at the expense of possessions. Along with such practices as meditation, it is said that some of the more extreme Aghori take part in religious rituals involving human sacrifice and cannibalism. Holy man Lalibaba claims to be entirely vegetarian, though confirms that cannibalism is still practised by some. “Human flesh has a good taste,” he says.

Thursday 5 August, 11:30pm on Fiver

This offbeat travel series follows the globetrotting exploits of fearless Finns Riku Rantala and Tunna Milonoff. Carrying all their own equipment, Riku and Tunna venture into the unknown to explore some of the world’s strangest corners. This week, the pair embark on a journey of discovery in south-east Asia, where they eat a still-beating snake’s heart, fire machine guns and bazookas and search for an indigenous headhunting tribe. In preparation for the various trials that await them on their travels in south-east Asia, Riku and Tunna head to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam for a special pick-me-up. “What I’m really in the mood for on a night like this is cobra blood – straight from the severed neck of a slaughtered snake,” announces Riku. Happy to oblige, a local market trader snips off the head of a snake, drains its blood and then places its still-beating heart into a glass of water. Riku and Tunna both knock back the bizarre cocktail. Half an hour later, the headless body of the snake is still twitching. “That’s one vigorous piece of fauna,” observes Riku. From Vietnam, the Finns head to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. After years of oppression, cruelty and genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot, Cambodia has a largely young population that lives in poverty. One of the few things in which the country appears to be rich is guns, and there are many people willing to sell all kinds of military hardware to any foreigner who flashes the cash. In order to see just how easy it is to purchase a weapon, Riku goes undercover at an army base, where it is reported that guns can be bought. He comes out with a machine gun and a bazooka. The pair’s guide takes them to an area of undergrowth where they can fire their newly acquired weapons. The guide even offers Riku the chance to blow up a live cow for an additional $300. “Real men don’t shoot cows with bazookas,” says Riku. “That’s overkill.” Having played with guns for a while, Tunna and Riku visit the notorious Tuol Sleng prison, where some 17,000 people were tortured before being sent to the killing fields under the Khmer Rouge. Of all the people who passed through the walls of the prison, often known as S-21, only 12 survived.

Thursday 29 July, 11:30pm on Fiver

This offbeat travel series follows the globetrotting exploits of fearless Finns Riku Rantala and Tunna Milonoff. Carrying all their own equipment, Riku and Tunna venture into the unknown to explore some of the world’s strangest corners. This week, the boys head to Togo in West Africa to learn about voodoo customs. After visiting a market full of mummified animals, the pair witness a powerful voodoo ceremony. Across the border in Benin, they learn about an ancient scarification ritual practised on young children. Riku and Tunna are in Lom�, capital of the West African country of Togo. “Our plan is to spend a week or two exploring the blood-curdling rituals of Togo, then cross the border to Benin, which they call the birthplace of voodoo,” Riku says. Their first stop is the famous Fetish Market, which sells a vast array of mummified animals, snakes, monkey heads and elephant ears – all of which are used in voodoo healing ceremonies. “So if they can’t cure you in hospital, then you come to a voodoo market,” Tunna says. Riku witnesses his first voodoo ceremony and explains how the rituals are designed to communicate with the spirit world. “The highly mischievous spirits must be handled with care,” he says. Riku undergoes a consultation with a medicine man. “At least he should find obesity and alcoholism,” he quips. The shaman determines that a procedure Riku underwent in Brazil must be completed in Togo. Riku is promptly stripped naked and bathed, before his side is slit and a powder is rubbed into the cut. He must then drink a noxious potion. “It’s a secret recipe… might be some animal bones ground together with herbs, mixed with the local moonshine,” he says.

Thursday 22 July, 11:30pm on Fiver

This riotous, irreverent travel series follows the globetrotting exploits of fearless Finns Riku and Tunna. Carrying all their own equipment, Riku and Tunna go off the beaten track to explore some of the world’s strangest corners. ‘Madventures’ is dedicated to uncovering odd destinations and improbable customs all over the globe. Presenter Riku Rantala and cameraman Tunna Milonoff are on a mission to expose the secrets of some of the world’s most far-flung places, from the deserts of the Middle East to the cities of Japan and the villages of the Amazon basin. Carrying little more than their backpacks and cameras, Riku and Tunna are able to get under the skin of the people and places they encounter. The Finns capitalise on the fact they travel without the support of a film crew to place themselves in testing and improbable situations. In the true spirit of enquiry, Riku and Tunna delight in throwing themselves from the frying pan into the fire. Whether it be learning the old Burmese custom of implanting a diamond inside one’s skin, or jumping from the rooftop of a high-rise building in Russia, these Finnish explorers shed fascinating light on obscure parts of the map – challenging assumptions and preconceptions along the way. Voted Finland’s Top Male TV personality in 2010, Riku Rantala brings his experience as an investigative crime reporter to his love of travel. Director Tunna Milonoff has won two Finnish Emmy Awards for his work on ‘Madventures’. His offbeat imagination provides the starting point for many of the boys’ on-screen adventures. Across the series, Riku and Tunna engage in all manner of escapades, from self-flagellation in the Philippines to hunting for cannibals in Papua New Guinea. They explore the world of hi-tech robots in Japan, travel behind the old iron curtain on a mythical railway, drink cobra blood and shoot bazookas on the road to Burma, and trek across the Empty Quarter of Yemen – one of the world’s harshest deserts.

Thursday 15 July, 11:30pm on Fiver

This riotous, irreverent travel series follows the globetrotting exploits of fearless Finns Riku and Tunna. Carrying all their own equipment, Riku and Tunna go off the beaten track to explore some of the world’s strangest corners. ‘Madventures’ is dedicated to uncovering odd destinations and improbable customs all over the globe. Presenter Riku Rantala and cameraman Tunna Milonoff are on a mission to expose the secrets of some of the world’s most far-flung places, from the deserts of the Middle East to the cities of Japan and the villages of the Amazon basin. Carrying little more than their backpacks and cameras, Riku and Tunna are able to get under the skin of the people and places they encounter. The Finns capitalise on the fact they travel without the support of a film crew to place themselves in testing and improbable situations. In the true spirit of enquiry, Riku and Tunna delight in throwing themselves from the frying pan into the fire. Whether it be learning the old Burmese custom of implanting a diamond inside one’s skin, or jumping from the rooftop of a high-rise building in Russia, these Finnish explorers shed fascinating light on obscure parts of the map – challenging assumptions and preconceptions along the way. Voted Finland’s Top Male TV personality in 2010, Riku Rantala brings his experience as an investigative crime reporter to his love of travel. Director Tunna Milonoff has won two Finnish Emmy Awards for his work on ‘Madventures’. His off-beat imagination provides the starting point for many of the boys’ on-screen adventures. Across the series, Riku and Tunna engage in all manner of escapades, from self-flagellation in the Philippines to hunting for cannibals in Papua New Guinea. They explore the world of hi-tech robots in Japan, travel behind the old iron curtain on a mythical railway, drink cobra blood and shoot bazookas on the road to Burma, and trek across the Empty Quarter of Yemen – one of the world’s harshest deserts.

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