Englishman in New York

In mid-January, survival expert Bear Grylls began the third season of the Discovery Channel's Man Vs. Wild. The series, which has Grylls parachuting into remote wilderness with limited gear, is best known for scenes in which the guy with the accent eats disgusting things—decaying carcasses, grubs, elephant dung. The special on this season's menu: bear droppings. MICHAEL ROBERTS met Grylls for tea in Manhattan, where the Brit ordered a soy latte. ("This is delicious!")

Do you ever get sick of your job?
There are a lot of times when I think, flipping Nora, what have I got myself into? I was in the jungle three weeks ago, in the crook of a tree. There was torrential rain for 48 hours. I had grass stuffed up my shirt and pants to keep warm. But the more that goes wrong, the better the show.

What scares Bear Grylls?
I get very, very scared of heights. I hate bats. I'm quite claustrophobic. I wrestled a ten-foot boa a couple weeks ago. You're inhuman if you're not crapping your pants when you're doing that.

So you're afraid all the time.
Fear is there to sharpen us. What freaks me out most is learning the show is reaching over a billion people. Suddenly you think, God, I've got to concentrate more.

You took heat last year for not revealing that you sometimes get assistance from your crew.
What all that hoo-ha did was force us to show more. Now, whenever I get any help, I acknowledge it.

Do you feel pressure to eat nastier things?
In America, all you want to do is talk about what bear shit tastes like. In South America and the UK, they're not really interested in that.

Why is that?
I don't know—you tell me. I think you're all mad.

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