Brazil With Michael Palin (2012) s01e01 Episode Script

Out of Africa

1 I've been travelling the world for the past 25 years.
I've met so many people in so many countries that everyone thinks of me as the man who's been everywhere.
But in all these years, there's been one big gap in my passport.
Nothing less than the fifth largest country on Earth.
A country blessed with a melting pot of peoples and an abundance of resources.
A country that's risen almost out of nowhere to become a 21st century superpower.
It's the host of the next World Cup and the next Olympic Games.
It's a country whose time has come.
How can I say I've seen the world when I haven't seen Brazil? OK, waterfall, we defy you! We defy you! Pedro Alvares Cabral, the Portuguese sea captain, reputed to be the first European ever to set foot in Brazil did so completely by accident, when he was blown off course in April 1500 while trying to round Africa.
The Portuguese who followed him found indigenous people here, some of them cannibals, but not enough of them to work the vast plantations of sugar, cotton and tobacco that they set up, so they imported slaves, by the million, from Africa.
It is this improbable mix of African slaves, indigenous people and relatively few Europeans that created some of the essential characteristics of Brazilian life.
Food, dance, music, a multiplicity of religions, and I will be sampling all of them as I travel through the north-east, where Brazil was born.
Where Brazil juts out towards Africa lie the cities that grew rich on slave labour.
I'm starting in Sao Luis, capital of Maranhao State.
It's the time of Festas Juninas, when the religious rituals of Europe and Africa come together in a typically Brazilian celebration.
In Sao Luis, there is a particular festival that takes its name from a slave-inspired celebration called Bumba-Meu-Boi, Jump My Bull.
It's in the back-streets of this once-rich city that I find out more.
Bumba-Meu-Boi is part-Pantomime, part-pageant, and here in Floresta, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Sao Luis, they take it very seriously.
Augusto Mendes, an English teacher in the city, thinks the people here are closest of all to the real spirit of Bumba-Meu-Boi.
How long would they prepare, Augusto, the dance, the music and all that? How long would they spend preparing? Some groups, in particular the Floresta Group, began in April or May.
So that's about two months, nearly.
This house in Tome de Souza street is the home of the two people whose drive and energy keeps everyone going.
'A 92-year-old called, rather wonderfully, Apolonio Melonio, 'and his wife, Nadir, who's somewhat younger.
' Tell me about this ceremony tonight.
Tonight is the Bumba-Meu-Boi baptism.
We'll baptise the bull you see here.
The baptism is part of our Bumba-Meu-Boi ritual.
It's part of the devotion we have for our saints, particularly St John.
According to tradition, the bull can only leave here for the main show after being baptised.
This is Mestre Apolonio who got this whole thing together here in Floresta.
How old were you when you saw your first Bumba-Meu-Boi? The first time I took part in a Bumba-Meu-Boi group I was only eight years old and that was way back in 1926.
I knew then and there it was going to be my mission in life.
It has been an honour to meet you.
I look forward to seeing your footwork on the dance floor later.
Ah, I can't dance like this any more.
I don't have the stamina.
Starting already! My legs aren't up to it.
If they were, I'd be out there dancing with the rest.
The ceremony, in which some play animals, some play humans, is based on a 200 year old tale.
It involves a slave stealing and killing a cow, to remove the tongue, for which his pregnant wife is desperate.
The slave is threatened with death, but at the last minute, the bull is miraculously resurrected and everyone is happy.
As St John's Day draws closer, more and more people crowd round the altar to witness the baptism of the bull.
And firecrackers announce it's midnight.
And this is just the beginning of the celebration.
We will be back here.
When slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, the cotton and sugar-based economy of Sao Luis, deprived of cheap labour, nose-dived.
Now, thanks to nearby mineral resources, confidence is growing again.
But just across the bay is Alcantara, a once fabulously rich town which never recovered.
I'm taking this rather long trip across the sands to get the ferry boat to take me to Alcantara.
Normally, it would leave from Sao Luis itself, which is over there, but it's low tide, so they have to leave from right out here on the sand banks.
More charming, I think.
Alcantara has the lazy, laid-back appeal of somewhere whose best days are over.
But what days they must have been.
It was once the state capital and the ghostly remains of its great mansions give some impression of the riches accumulated by the plantation owners over nearly 300 years.
This is the "Pelourinho" or pillory - whipping post, as it was called, where slaves were punished, and they were also bought and sold here.
It has recently been estimated that of the 11 million slaves brought from Africa to the Americas, over 40% came to Brazil, six times as many as went to the United States.
They worked here in tobacco and sugar plantations and created the wealth that enabled their masters to build this, a little bit of Europe on the other side of the Atlantic.
Alcantara must once have been a fine place to live, a ruler's town.
Now the best they can do is to gather the old stones and leave them for the tourists to wonder at what went right, and what went wrong.
The beaches of Brazil are the country's great public playgrounds and the north-east has some of the biggest of them all.
Big enough for people to drive up and down them, which is what myself and my friend Augusto, and hundreds of other locals, like to do on a weekend.
By mid-morning, the cars are parked up, the chairs and tables set out, and the beach soon resembles a sort of semi-naked suburbia, a family backyard that's open to everybody.
Today is a Sunday.
but religion and pleasure seem to mix quite comfortably.
Do people go to the church first and then go to the beach? They go to the church, pray, and come here, and forget their problems, and forget their job.
Yeah, yeah.
Girl-watching, I learn from Augusto, is, rather like train-spotting, largely practiced by adolescent boys.
I'd seen some of them at a cafe by the roadside, passing round a pair of binoculars, scanning the beach like naval officers looking for U-boats.
And, he tells me bashfully, there's a glossary of girl-watching, full of fruity metaphors.
If the girl has a big bum, we call her Melon Woman.
big bum, Melon Woman.
And watermelon, if she has big, big Big, big, big hips, or Yes.
OK, yeah, hips.
Watermelon, big hips.
And pear woman, because of the shape, like a guitar.
Oh, right.
It's the same shape.
Wow! This noise is everywhere.
Yes, everywhere.
People come to dance and eat something, have fun together with family or friends.
In Brazil, it doesn't matter if you make a lot of noise from your sound system, nobody worries.
In England, people would say "Sssh, quieten down.
" Oh, yes? In Brazil, you are tolerant.
Everybody can do noise everywhere.
Do people from all different backgrounds, rich and poor, come to the beach? Does everybody, even though they might have a big house, come to the beach with the poorer people? Yes, poor people come by bus and rich people come by car, and invite many friends, so they come together.
Very big social thing for people in the city.
'A couple of days later, 'Augusto and I are back in Floresta for the climax of Bumba-Meu-Boi.
' So this is the time when all the various groups come together and they show the rest of the city what they have been preparing? Today is a big night for the many groups here because we celebrate St Peter's Day.
It's the most important day here for the Maranhao people, yeah.
'Clutching their emu feathers and their costumes, 'the people of Floresta take the bus to the city.
' 'There's an air of nervousness as the time approaches 'for their moment in the public spotlight.
' 'They needn't have worried.
Their performance is fantastic.
'As I watch Nadir and the troupe take the stage, 'I'm really moved by the spirit and the quality of their performance.
'They tell the story as it should be told.
'With their richly-embroidered costumes, 'and original and inventive masks, there's a real feeling 'of a community creating something out of nothing.
' 'The Florestans may come from one of the poorest parts of the city, 'but tonight, as they take over the old streets of Sao Luis, 'they shine the brightest.
' There's one thing Augusto will not let me leave this part of the north-east without seeing, and that's the extraordinary landscape of the Lencois Maranhenses National Park, 200 miles south of Sao Luis.
A rare combination of strong winds, shifting sands, and heavy rainfall has created a unique landscape.
Monster sand-dunes, blown 50 kilometres inland from the sea, are advancing over the surrounding countryside at the rate of 200 metres a year.
But what makes the National Park so special are not just the shifting, whispering sands, but the water that falls on them.
Augusto, if this was the Sahara all this would be a mirage, but the water is real.
So it rains a lot here, does it? A lot here, yes.
In March, April and May, and in August until December is our dry season.
So these sand dunes, are they sort of moving all the time, moving inland, I suppose, as well? Yes, every day the landscapes change because of the wind that comes from the ocean, and the dunes form many shapes.
So it's never, from one day to the next, it's never quite the same.
That must be a big selling point.
The only National Park in the world where whenever you go, whichever day you go, it will be different.
'Mind you, on a day like today, 'you rather wish it would stay like this for ever.
' My next destination takes me down the coast to Recife, capital of the resource-rich state Pernambuco.
It was originally Dutch, whose particular brand of hard-line Calvinism didn't go down well, and it passed to the Portuguese, who made much money from its location as Brazil's nearest point to Europe and Africa.
Much of its trade has passed to a super-port down the coast, but Recife remains Brazil's fourth biggest city, with an increasingly lively cultural scene.
I'm with Paulo Andre, a music promoter who is dedicated to selling Recife to the world.
You know, we are culturally and musically very strong and I believe one day it's going to be like, let's say, tango to Buenos Aires or fado to Portugal or jazz to New Orleans.
Statues celebrate music and musicians like the country singer, Luiz Gonzaga.
The walls and streets of the city are covered with striking images, unselfconscious, expressive and seemingly tolerated, however obscure they may be.
'Paulo takes me to see a wall that's become the private sketchbook 'of 24-year-old artist Derlon Almeida.
' So is this official art or is this graffiti, under the wire? It's bit of both, it all depends on the wall and the space.
If they're unused or derelict, we don't bother to ask for permission, but if the wall has an owner then we'll ask for permission.
And where do the ideas come from, like this one, for instance? It's everything going on around me in Brazil that I see in my day to day routine that influences my art.
Pitu is a popular local brand of cachaca, and the fish symbolises Recife because we're on the coast - fish are very common here.
So I've played around with these two elements and brought them together to create a new creature and hopefully put in a bit of humour as well.
I haven't seen so far a fish drinking Pitu, but this case This case it is the first time, very good, surreal image.
I would like him to come to London and do something in my street, I know just the wall 'The anarchic, surrealist spirit is not confined to street art.
' 'This sculpture park by the sea wall was officially opened 'in the year 2000 to mark a great national celebration.
' Whose work is this? This is the work of one of the most important visual artists of Pernambuco.
His name is Francisco Brenan.
And this was done in 2000, because of the 500 years of Brazil.
And at the time there was a note in the newspapers saying that the wife of the mayor didn't like so much this big sculpture because it looked like a male genital organ, and it was Except that's a bit bigger! Yes, you know, maybe the biggest one, but the mayor went in the newspaper office with a gun and threatened the journalist, so in the end, the sculpture is here, but he lost the next election.
Great story of penis envy.
But Recife also has sculptures that show the darker side of Brazil's history.
Just like many countries in South and Central America, Brazil was under a dictatorship, and this is a monument in honour of the people who were arrested, tortured, sometimes exiled and even killed.
It's very powerful.
It was almost 20 years of dictatorship, and this is the position that they used to torture people.
What kind of people did the dictators torture? People related to the Communist Party.
And also artists used to get arrested, you know, because of the message.
Critical of the government, yeah.
Like, I have an uncle.
He was a medical student, and he was arrested.
He stayed in a penitentiary, so it's part of the story of my family, too.
That's a very sad part of Brazil's history.
'In the heart of Recife is a fine, old railway station.
'It was built 150 years ago for the EFCP, 'Estrada de Ferro Central Pernambuco, 'with British steel and French style.
'It's long been closed, but inside, under the original Victorian canopy, 'I get the chance to indulge in a touch of nostalgia.
' It's a little bit of Great Britain left in Pernambuco.
This is it.
Great Western .
Brazilian Railway.
It's the kind of thing that you find all over the world, that the British have left behind, is railways.
I mean, are there any other legacies of the British in Brazil that still exist that you can think of? Yes.
Here in Recife, we still have the British Country Club, which is a social club.
Oh, right.
Still called British? Still called British Country Club.
We also have the British cemetery, but I think the British are responsible for the biggest Brazilian passion of all time, which is soccer.
It was started in Brazil by a British guy who showed the Brazilians, and that became our biggest passion.
That's quite something, isn't it? That's something worth remembering.
I mean, railways don't seem to have left much of a mark, but soccer, yeah, that's pretty impressive.
Across the bay is Olinda, founded in 1535, and one of the oldest cities in Brazil.
The streets have an intimate, old colonial feel.
Nice way to end the day Paulo, thank you! Yeah, Michael, it was a great day! A place like this, a grocery shop where you can buy nappies, cheese and get a drink, is this sort of familiar kind of place in Brazil? Yes, this a typical Bodega where you can shop during the day, you know, for stuff for the house, food, but also, of course, Brazilians are heavy drinkers and they like beer, so at the end of the day you come for a cachaca or a beer, just like in England people go to a pub, the Brazilians go to a Bodega and then you can eat a sandwich with cheese or salami.
They also sell CDs of the local bands and paintings.
Great picture.
As you can see, the bottle in Brazil is big, so it has to carry lots of beer.
Yes, well, cheers! Should we tell the camera to switch off? Yes.
Probably! Good night! 'But Paulo has one more surprise for me.
' Another typical night on the streets of Brazil, music everywhere.
But what's the music we're going to hear tonight? Is this a particularly local thing? It is, Michael.
It's a forro night with the, played with the rabeca, which is a kind of fiddle, and, of course, we are in the end of our Sao Joao, St John season where forro is the sound track.
Forro, yeah.
I read somewhere that it was a mishearing of the English word "For All" which the English railway people and the employers provided music for everyone to dance to, and it was called "For All".
Is that true or is it a myth? I think it's a myth.
It comes from "Forrobodo" which is a word that means "party".
You know, "Let's go to a forrobodo" means "Let's go party" - let's go dance, hear music, have drinks, so it's a short word for forrobodo.
'The forro they dance here requires a loose, sinuous, 'gyration of the hips, which I can only stand and admire.
' 'But, as Paulo warned me earlier - in Brazil, everybody dances.
' I'm leaving the high life of the cities behind for a while, for a glimpse of life in the interior.
Well, I'm 500 miles inland from the coast now in the hot, dry, hard outback of north-east Brazil.
They call this the Sertao.
It's cowboy country, land of the vaqueiros, and I'm here for an event called Pega de Boi, Catch The Bull.
Says it all, really.
In a world of cars and pick-up trucks, the old-style cowboy is becoming a threatened species, but these vaqueiros are staunchly proud of their traditions.
Pega de Boi is a chance to show their skills, win some money, and for a while at least, relieve the loneliness of life in the bush.
Families and friends do their best to create a party atmosphere.
But some of the cowboys are much older than I'd expected.
Men with tired eyes and deeply lined faces.
When the time comes to chase the bull, they protect themselves from the viciously spiky scrub, with the leather equivalent of a suit of armour.
I'm told that, despite this comprehensive protection, some of the cowboys will deliberately leave a strap untied or a hand revealed, as drops of blood are seen as a badge of courage.
The man behind Pega de Boi is a whippet-thin 70-year-old called Julio.
Of shrewd eye, and seemingly insatiable energy, he's totally committed to the old way of life.
Julio, were you born into a family of cowboys? I was born into a cowboy family, grew up a cowboy, and still am one.
I'm proud to call myself a cowboy, it's a good profession.
How dangerous is it? You seem to have got a on your head, here.
What happened there? Yes, it's dangerous.
I got kicked in the head by a cow! I was nursing a wound she had, and forgot to tie her legs up and she kicked me.
But I don't blame the cow! 'The vaqueiros do have a political and social ally 'in the shape of Tiago Cancio, a local politician 'whose father gave up the life of a priest to become a cowboy.
' Tiago, what makes the vaqueiros of the Sertao here special? Are they different from the rest of the cowboys in Brazil? The vaqueiro is unique to the Sertao.
They risk their lives to earn a crust.
They ride headlong into the jungle to chase wild bulls and round up cattle, they're very courageous and fearless.
'Everyone's ready now for the climax of the day.
' 'With shouts of celebration, 'the five young bulls are released from their makeshift paddock.
' 'They're given 15 minutes to get away before, at last, 'the cowboys are allowed to chase them.
' The lucky ones who catch the bulls can claim cash prizes.
Hey! Good, it's started.
They're off! Almost 45 minutes pass before a bull is spotted, captured and led out of the scrub and down the hill.
The prize is claimed by two of youngest riders in the pack, which must be a good sign for the profession.
Despite some outward appearances, perhaps there is a new generation of cowboys waiting in the wings.
From the hot, dry heartland, it's time to retrace my steps to the coast, and the city that is the undisputed jewel of the north-east, and one of the most exciting in all Brazil.
It lies on the Baia de Todos os Santos - All Saints Bay - which gives its name to the state of Bahia.
For over 200 years, Salvador was the capital of Brazil, as sugar and cotton production made Bahia fabulously rich.
Salvador may have ceded its capital status first to Rio, the third largest city in Brazil.
Of its population of nearly 3,500,000, 82% are of black descent, making Salvador the biggest African city outside Africa.
'My guide is Sofia, daughter of Irish-Brazilian parents, 'and currently studying architecture and city planning.
'The most eye-catching architecture in Salvador is religious, 'reflecting the enormous wealth of the Catholic church.
' So it is about the beginning of the 18th century all this was done? All this was done, yeah.
So then, was a lot of money coming into Brazil from sugar? Sugar, tobacco, coffee and gold.
'Gold, for which this church of St Francis 'is an extraordinary gesture of thanks.
' Wow! The effect is incredible.
I haven't seen anything really quite like that.
It's just the sheer, the sort of scale, isn't it? There's not a bit of wall that's not been covered.
A lot of gold, there.
A lot of gold.
But it's to show the world that Brazil was one of the main producers of gold.
Sort of showing, "This is what we've got, plenty of this.
" More where that came from, sort of thing, yeah.
'It's a powerful display of self-confidence.
' 'Religion in Salvador expresses itself in many different ways, 'as I learn when Sofia takes me 'to another grand 18th century church.
'The church of Our Lord of Bonfim.
' People in Bahia are very superstitious, especially in Salvador, so people will come here every first Friday of the month to make their wishes, people even bring their cars here to be blessed, you know.
So basically anything can be blessed? Anything can be blessed.
Your TV? Maybe.
Your mobile? 'The blessing is embodied in these strips of ribbon, 'called fitas do Bonfim.
' 'You wear one round your wrist and make a wish, 'which will only be granted when the ribbon falls apart.
'In some cases, this can take months.
'Inside the church, faith and superstition 'make more bizarre bedfellows.
' Oh, good heavens.
This is very, very strange.
What are all these? Wax, are they? This is basically people who got ill, they bring the part of the body which was ill and it got cured, so they have all these wax pieces.
All the different parts of the body that were cured.
A little cluster of hearts up there.
That's very strange.
Really is.
It's like a kind of gruesome shop, but again, this is very powerful, these photos around here.
The photos are of people who either made promises to get cured or to get into universities or achieved what they want.
They come here with the photographs.
So they believe that the devotion, by coming here to this church has changed their lives, basically.
Has cured them, has enabled them to become successful in exams and business and all that.
Everywhere in Salvador I'm reminded of the city's African roots.
These figures in a lake in the centre of town are Orishas, the gods of Candomble.
Candomble is a religion that fuses the African spirit world with Catholicism.
Officially banned until the 1960s, its popularity is now countrywide.
Well, I'm all dressed in white, because I'm going to something, I've never done before, which is to witness a Candomble ceremony, this African animist ceremony.
It's going to take place in here and the Pai-de-santo is, first of all, I think he's going to read my fortune, or the buzios, they call them, the cowry shells.
So I might find out something very unpleasant, or pleasant, who knows? 'The Pai-de-santo, Father of the Saints, is called John.
'He's the local Candomble priest and this is his house.
'And in case you wonder, we've never met before.
' Orishas open the table with good faith.
Oxossi opens your table and talks about the struggles in your life.
You are an intelligent man, a man that fought hard to accomplish your goals and today you have the opportunity to show to the world much information and all your knowledge.
Casado? Married? Yeah.
Bambino? Tres, quatro? Three or four children? Three.
Tres? Tres.
I hope you don't think this is disrespectful, Pai-de-santo, but I have to ask for my countrymen.
Will England ever win the World Cup again? Exu diz no jogo que nao.
Thank you! There we are, we can save ourselves the trouble! 'The Candomble ceremony takes place in Pao Joao's front room.
' 'It's confusing, and at times mystifying, 'but that seems to be the point.
' 'The participants, representing the various orishas, 'dance themselves into a trance-like state, 'until they feel their bodies are inhabited 'by the spirit of the gods.
'Unlike our western rituals, 'their performance is never the same twice.
'No-one knows exactly what will happen when the drums begin.
' 'The people of north-east Brazil love noise and colour.
'The two come together in Salvador's Pelourinho area 'under the name of Olodum.
'It's short for Olodumare, 'the god of gods of the Yoruba people of Nigeria.
' 'Olodum is the name of a social initiative to bring 'a sense of achievement to the street children of Salvador.
' 'It teaches them the art of African drumming and through that, 'respect for the land of their ancestors.
'They've taken over the streets of Old Salvador this morning 'without telling anybody, but that's Brazil for you.
'And they have recruited some rather old children.
' This is Pacote.
He's going to initiate me on the ways of Olodum.
OK, Pacote, take it away! Vou ensinar voce Life goes on, this is the middle of the street.
A batida do coracao.
Oh, the beat of the heart.
My heart's going boom-boom-boom-boom! Isso.
'I'm getting the hang of this.
'Time for a touch of the Keith Moons.
' 'Having rather disgraced myself on the drums, 'I look for some solace in the pleasures of Bahian cuisine.
' Like religion, the food is a fusion of cultures, combining African, Portuguese and indigenous influences.
Given the abundance of seafood, it's a welcome change from the meaty fare that most Brazilians seem to prefer.
The personification of Bahian cooking is Aldaci dos Santos, known to all as "Dada".
From selling snacks on the beach, she has risen to become an inspirational restaurateur and chef to the famous.
Who better to turn to for consolation? This is Dada, who is a superb one of the great cooks of Salvador and Bahian cuisine.
And I am a great eater of all food, and Dada's going to show me round, buy some food at the market and then we are going to cook and then eat.
Vamos agora conhecer o mercado do peixe.
OK? Mercado do peixe.
Do peixe.
OK, so we are at the fish market, let's go! Mercado do peixe.
He's had too much fish! Delicia! Think she's going to make a moqueca, which is a classic fish stew.
Octopus, yeah.
Gosh, fresh mud crabs.
They're alive, they look as though they're about a thousand years old! Ah, that's better, yeah.
So these, you cook with them, you bathe in them and you make tea with them.
I feel better already! OK! Fantastic, yeah.
Made a pig's ear of that one Do you want a hand? This is an Olympic sport! Oh, Michael! Oh-oh-oh! I can't believe I'm going to eat a meal after this, as well.
I've eaten a meal just going around the market.
Can I ask you, Dada, how did you first learn to cook? I started cooking when I was five.
I was working with my mother as a housekeeper in a large family house, getting paid by the day in order to earn a living.
My mother and I would find work on these large farms in the country because we didn't have our own place to live so we had to earn our keep.
When I cooked, it felt like I was whole.
I was a child, but I didn't have a proper childhood because I had to work from an early age, and when I cooked, mixing all the spices and the food in my kitchen, it was like heaven to me, it was my fantasy world.
Now you are a successful business woman, Dada, do you still enjoy cooking as much as you did? Mais.
More? Muito mais.
Each day that goes by, I like it more and more.
The kitchen and cooking for me is like having sex.
When cooking, I feel fulfilled as if I was having a great orgasm.
It must be exhausting every time you make a meal.
No, not really, I get more tired making love.
What is it about your food that makes it very special? All the ingredients are fresh and bought with a lot of care, but I think the main thing for me is the transformation that love brings about.
When I cook, I cook for real, it comes from inside Dada, from inside my heart, so it's love that transforms the flavours.
Oh, fantastic! Fantastic, yes.
Beautiful! Look, I cut that! A calombreta? I cut that bit.
It's not cut very well.
OK, Michael! Wow! Oh! Ha-ha-ha! Mmm.
Comer um peixe? Oh, wow! 'Some guide books I'd read were a bit sniffy about Dada's restaurant, 'suggesting success had spoiled her.
'But for me, Dada has been responsible for the best meal 'I've yet had in the north-east.
'She's a remarkable women, who you feel can do anything 'she sets herself to.
' You're a very good advert for your own cooking.
'Except perhaps for one thing she really needs to be able to do - 'clone herself.
' Comida deliciosa.
Muito obrigada.
Meus comprimentos ao chefe! Muito obrigada.
'One of the poorest areas of Salvador is called Liberdade.
'It's where the freed slaves came to live 'after the abolition of slavery.
'It's still an area of shanty towns, or favelas, 'like this one called Vale das Pedrinhas.
'The Valley of Stones.
'I've come here to see something that Salvador has introduced 'to the rest of Brazil and the world.
' 'On the roof of one of the grander houses in the favela, 'they're practising a dance 'that grew from a self-defensive fighting style.
'It's now the second biggest participation sport in Salvador.
'It's fast and fluent and it's called capoeira.
' 'If you're really good at capoeira you can become a master or Mestre, 'and the trim, 66-year-old who's playing this one-stringed berimbau 'is very good at it.
' 'He's called Mestre Boa Gente.
'Though he's lived in the Valley of Stones all his life, 'he's travelled the world as a spokesman for his sport.
' The movements that you do in capoeira, where do the movements come from, where did they originate? The capoeira movements all come from Africa, from African culture.
The moves are called jingas and were brought by African slaves to Brazil.
They also come from Candomble, which is the first Brazilian religion.
When people take on the spirit of their gods, their orishas, they use their bodies to express their orishas, so out of that are born the moves you see in capoeira.
Xango, ela faz isso.
Entao, olha, quando voce vem pra capoeira, voce ja ta bem flexivel.
Entende, como voce.
Voce ja ta Eu to conversando e voce ja ta ai Isso ai, isso! E Do you like dance? Dance? Yeah.
Samba? I do my own version.
That's the Scottish bit! Muito legal.
Cade a palma, galera? 'That was the easy bit.
'The Mestre now takes me across the road to the radio station 'he runs for a live, on-air grilling on Valley of Stones Radio.
' Esperanca e fe Mais o mundo nao e Michael, you're a very famous man, not only in England but all over the world.
You're an actor, a presenter.
Have you ever thought of going into politics as a councillor, Member of Parliament or maybe even President? We don't have a President! But Suas fas votando em voce, voce ta eleito.
Maybe I could be Queen, but that's taken already! What do you think of gay marriage? It's a big topic here in Brazil.
I am up for gay marriage.
If people love each other, look after each other, as long as they support each other it doesn't matter what they do in bed.
Olha ai, Elvis Presley, o.
It's now or never I hate this one.
Come hold me tight This is my least favourite Elvis ever.
Kiss me, my darling 'This definitely has to be one of my more surreal radio moments.
' Tomorrow will be too late It's now or never My love can't wait.
'The Mestre has an endless, irrepressible energy.
'Fresh from his afternoon show, he's out on the streets, 'mobilising participants for the evening's capoeira fest.
' 'The shanty buildings around, the roar of a nearby highway, 'and the smell of a stagnant stream are all forgotten, 'as the shining, sweating, white-toothed smiling Mestre 'infects everyone with his enthusiasm.
'His work is known across Brazil, 'yet he still stays true to the favela in which he grew up.
' 'Home for the remarkable Mestre Boa Gente remains the Valley of Stones.
' North and west of Salvador is the Reconcavo, an area which borders All Saints Bay.
The towns I'm going to visit there, Cachoeira and St Felix, grew rich from the produce of fertile soils, watered by the many rivers that drain into the bay.
This is some of the most productive land in the country.
I pass sugar-cane plantations, smaller than they once were, but still contributing to a buoyant local economy.
Where the river Paraguacu divides Cachoeira from St Felix, I cross the bridge to find evidence of another one-time source of wealth at the Danneman Cigar Factory.
'Danneman's survived the decline in the tobacco industry 'by concentrating on a high-end product.
'It's currently run by Dutchman Hans Leusen.
' Is the old legend that it's rolled on the thigh of the ladies who make the cigar, has that any credibility? Credibility is always there, but in the past, the girls were making the wrap on leaves on the legs, but the cigars have never been made on the legs.
So it is not a question you can say "There is Maria or there is Matilda".
That's not true.
Yes? Like you can feel.
No, no.
There's a story.
Can you tell me a little bit about how Bahia and the north-east is seen by the rest of Brazil? They always say bad things about the north, especially the north-east.
But it is not true, the people work hard, but they have a way of life based on this tropical sun, yes? So if you can't do it today, you do it tomorrow.
In Sao Paulo, you have to run, you have to do it today, so there is a big difference between the south and the north, but I prefer the north, where people still understand how is life, because here on Wednesday you start to talk about how you are going to spend your weekend, yes? There was a time when the wealth of Salvador depended on the sailing ships that carried the goods down from its rich hinterland.
The boats were called Saveiros.
In the 1950s, there were thousands of them working the bay.
Now there's only a precious handful left, and I'm on one of them.
The two men who are my fellow crew members today are, in their own way, passionate about preserving the last of the Saveiros.
One is a trim, dapper and successful local artist called Bel Borba.
His larger-than-life companion is Malaca, an engineer by trade.
If the Brazilians have a word for extrovert, Malaca would be its embodiment.
'But I'm sure they don't.
Brazilian means extrovert.
' How important do you think it is to save these boats and why is it important? Because it's 400 years of history.
Bahia is summed up in these boats.
The Saveiro was crucial, not just the boat but the way of life it represented.
The handcrafts, the carpenters, there's a whole working history around the Saveiro.
It's pure culture, 400 years of history and beauty.
'They seem to have their priorities right, these two.
'Is this a Bahian thing?' People from Rio and all that, I've heard them say Bahians are lazy.
What do you think about that? No, we're not, we just work in our own way.
Bahians are very caring - we're just not stressed out.
How can you be stressed out with all this natural beauty around you? We don't know the meaning of the word stress.
'Are they jealous of people from Rio?' This is an old joke.
The carioca invites you to have lunch at his house, but don't give you the address.
Oh, right! Next time, I'll be heading inland, to a very different world.
A world before booming Brazil.
Indeed, a world before there was a Brazil at all.
I'll be exploring the wonders of Amazonia.
It's a region which is still home to remote tribes, as well as sophisticated city dwellers.
And I'll be finding out how the demands of modern Brazil are affecting the lives of those living in the largest rainforest in the world.