Tag Archives: Travel

Brazil with Michael Palin…Into the Amazon.

1 Nov

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.

Brazil with Michael Palin

25 Oct

He has dusted off his trusted linen trousers and cotton shirt,  picked up his well-thumbed passport, kissed the wife good-bye and is heading off again to bring sights and sounds from the distant world into our homes.

Michael Palin  is off to Brazil.!

It is a timely programme. With Brazil over the next four years hosting both  the World Cup and the Olympics , the country is  going to be more prominent in our view of the world than it probably has ever been and BBC gets this rolling with Palin’s latest travelogue.

I am not sure what the remit  is, but at the very least I expect it to be a reminder that there is more to Brazil than football, the Rio carnival and the Copacabana beach. The first episode, centered around the north-east of  Brazil,  lived up to that expectation  featuring  cigar chomping grandmas,  weather-beaten cowboys,  an incredibly cheerful celebrity chef, dancing martial art fighters and much more.

It was slow-paced and genteel, like an Englishman on an idyllic saunter across the world’s fifth largest country, but’ that is Palin’s style. If you missed it is worth a look on IPlayer.

Meanwhile here is one of my favourite ever scenes from Palin’s travels – “Bottom’s Up with Toureg’s in the Sahara”.