This episode was part sociological, part geographical.
First the sociology, should indigenous people be left to their devices protected from the encroachment of what is an increasingly a monoculture? That is the challenge that faces the myriad of indigenous people in Brazil’s Amazonian regions. There is need for modern medicines and they can see the benefits of some technology, but how easy is it to pick and choose what you want from advancing universal culture?
This was one of the topics Michael Palin touched on in the second of his series on Brazil. There seems to be no easy answer. Like King Canute, the waves of global culture are almost unstoppable and already the trappings of modern life are slowly but surely seeping into the villages. I spotted motor cycles, TVs and DVD players as well as the ubiquitous football shirts in the villages Michael Palin visited. I fear the price for the things you want, are all the other things you don’t want.
Yesterday also included a visit to ‘Fordlandia’, a long abandoned attempt to create an Eldorado in the middle of the Amazon by Ford Motor Company in the 1930’s.
It was pretty much preserved in the state that it was abandoned all those years ago. A remarkable memorial to what the founders hoped would be a little piece of American suburbia slap bang in the middle of the dense Brazilian rain forest. It was eerie.
I also loved the scenes with the boat trips along the Brazil’s mighty rivers. Relaxing in a hammock in the bright sunshine on a gently lilting boat is my idea of a good time and Michael Palin seems to share my view. The trip went up to where the Amazon and the Rio Negro meet creating an incredible two-tone river.
A great travelogue for Brazil.