Brazil With Michael Palin (2012) s01e02 Episode Script

Into Amazonia

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 haven't seen Brazil? OK, waterfall.
We defy you.
We defy you.
Brazil is now the sixth largest economy in the world, with 80% of the population living in megacities where industry and technology flourish.
But alongside this 21st-century dynamism, there are people in Brazil whose way of life has remained unchanged for thousands of years.
It's in their land that I start this leg of my journey.
Amazonia is a region which has enticed explorers and adventurers for centuries.
In this episode I shall be travelling its vast distances, from the border with Venezuela to I'm excited, and a little apprehensive.
Below me thick rainforest cloaks an area as remote and inaccessible as anywhere on the planet.
When people from the west landed in Brazil, just over 500 years ago, there were some five million indigenous people living here.
A fraction is now left.
One of the largest and least contacted of these are the Yanomami.
I land at the recently built government outpost, three kilometres away from their village.
The sound of the plane has drawn an inquisitive crowd.
The Yanomami have a reputation for being warriors and hunters and I'm barely off the plane, before I'm into archery practice.
That rock there.
Wow, pretty good! What do you mean, go and get it? All right.
It's a bit of bamboo, very sharp and fine point of Looks like bone or something, maybe it is just wood.
Beautiful, very nice, very nice.
Now you That bird there.
Oh, wow.
Very good.
No, I am not going to do it, you go and get it.
They're much less fierce than I expected and seem to regard me, and my accessories, as a considerable source of entertainment.
It is good to be here.
I have never been in this part of the world.
Oh yeah, it is my own hair.
I didn't expect to be doing comedy on my first day in the Amazon.
It's an hour's walk through the forest to where they live.
And as we finally approach the thatched walls of their village, or maloca, I realise I'm entering deeply unfamiliar territory.
Unlike us, the Yanomami live communally in a huge, round, thatched house.
It must be at least 400 metres in circumference.
There appears to be no privacy whatsoever.
I've no idea where you're supposed to wash or do all those other private things.
They don't seem to do toilets, but perhaps they don't need them with a million square miles of virgin forest outside.
At last, I'm shown to my room, sorry, bed, sorry, hammock.
Now here, this is my hammock.
This is where I'm sleeping, I think, thank you.
Oh dear, I have been in hammocks before.
I don't think I've ever spent an entire night in one.
So, this will be a bit of a first.
Everyone here, of course, in the maloca, they all sleep in hammocks so I think the thing to do is, you have to get, that's right, in the middle there.
Oh, that's rather nice.
Then you got to swing the legs up Wow, ah.
Then stay here for about another 12 hours.
That's lovely.
The maloca seems to consist entirely of women, children and one very old man.
But then, just as I'm settling in to some quality hammock time, I get the word that the rest of the villagers are in the forest preparing the traditional welcome for outsiders.
The welcome is both an opportunity to dress up, in this case with red urucu dye and white feathers from the harpy eagle, and a way to intimidate anyone who might cross their path.
Dressed to kill, they head back to the maloca, but there's still one important ingredient for any Yanomami ritual.
The Yanomami are famed takers of a powerful psychotropic snuff made from the bark of forest trees.
Apparently, it puts them into a trance-like state so they can communicate with the spirit world.
Suitably prepared, the welcoming party enter the maloca and the ritual celebrations begin.
I can understand why the Yanomami were nicknamed the "fierce people.
" The women don't take the snuff and are less intimidating with their version of the hokey cokey.
After circling the maloca repeatedly, the men and boys go out into the blazing heat of the day and work themselves into a state of stomping, rhythmic agitation.
I'm just exhausted watching.
After that, they need a break, I am worried about them.
Feathers are blowing away, ah.
O-o-o-h! After the climax of the welcoming ceremony, participants are rewarded for their exertions with almost unlimited amounts of a rainforest cocktail made from fermented peach palm.
I'd quite like to try some.
Maybe I'll start with a child's portion.
Look at that.
As the day draws to a close, the effects of the snuff and the cocktail create a soporific air as the maloca quietens down.
It's time for me to get ready for bed and my first night in a hammock.
Malarial mosquitoes are a constant threat here and the Yanomami are as anxious as I am to protect me.
I have a very bad record with mosquito nets, they always collapse.
Ah, yeah.
That's it, yes.
I just need someone who knows how to do it, that's the thing.
I don't know either.
Sydney Harbour Bridge, this one.
Don't try this at home.
Four days later.
Is it good? The slow pace of life is wonderfully infectious, but as dusk draws in I finally find a way to make myself useful.
There you are, see, great explorers of Roraima.
Telling bedtime stories to people who don't understand a word.
That's Teddy Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt.
He was the President of America and he came to this part of the world when it was very difficult to get through the forest.
He came on a trip with his son that was called Kermit.
Yeah, honestly, and a man called Rondon.
Mr Rondon was a Brazilian and, er, they came here and they got completely stuck and they found a river to take them away, and, er, they didn't, they called it the River of Doubt.
They didn't know where it began, didn't know where it ended.
But eventually, after many days, they pushed their way down this river, against a very hostile environment and they came out of the other end.
And Rondon, the Brazilian, was so thankful to his mates, the Roosevelts, that he called one of the rivers the Rio Roosevelt, Rio Roosevelt.
Yeah, no, you laugh.
And he also called one of the rivers Rio Kermit, after his son.
End of story.
Bed time, off you go.
Night-time in the molaca is only slightly less rushed than daytime.
The pet sloth they keep in the rafters seems perfectly adapted to the pace of life here.
Ah! "There's the sleepless Englishman, always wanting to improve his mind.
"What is the point?" Things weren't always as secure for the Yanomami.
For a long time their remoteness had protected them from the trauma of contact, but the discovery of gold in the late 1980s changed all that.
Their land was invaded by thousands of illegal miners, garimperios, who not only poisoned the river with the mercury they needed to flush out the gold, but brought with them diseases, like measles and tuberculosis, which swept through the tribe, killing hundreds and changing for ever the way they perceived the outside world.
Only when the Brazilian government, under intense international pressure, took measures to get rid of the miners, did the Yanomami begin to recover.
But the lure of gold will always be a threat and no one knows this better than the shaman of this village, Davi Kopenawa.
He's travelled in Brazil and overseas to plead their cause, to impress on the outside world the need for continued protection.
As I watch him in action today, I see no remote tribesman, but a consummate politician working on behalf of his people.
The Yanomami have lived in the forest for thousands of years.
Are you consulted by the Government about how best to use the forest? They don't call us so we can hear what the government is planning to do with our land.
They don't ask us, the indigenous people, they just tell us.
"We are going to build the Belo Monte Dam.
"We are going to build the Northern Ring Road.
"We are going to build the army headquarters.
"We are going to open mines in the indigenous territory.
" They don't consult us.
The fact that they have cut and cleared a football pitch in the middle of the forest, shows the Yanomami are not resistant to all outside influence.
As soccer-mad as the rest of Brazil, they save on kit by painting their team colours straight onto their bodies.
And the Kop's filling up nicely.
But this outside influence, like football, has a purpose.
Many Brazilians feel indigenous peoples don't need such vast tracts of land, which could be better exploited for logging or cattle, and of course mining.
So by hook or by crook, the government wants to bring the Yanomami into this debate.
One hook is the provision of health care.
Health workers come to the maloca to treat injuries, dispense drugs and inoculate the children.
Today, a group of government workers has flown in to tell the Yanomami of a new initiative in the way health care is delivered.
Despite all these undoubtedly benevolent actions, Davi, the shaman, remains wary.
You have a, um, a clinic near here, you play football.
Do you see engagement with the outside world as the way forward for the Yanomami? Our priority is healthcare.
This is what we need.
And other things like playing football, this is really not a priority.
Because this is the white man's custom.
Our priorities are healthcare, our own culture, language and customs.
This is what is important.
Alongside the health programme is a school to teach them Portuguese, a pre-requisite for closer engagement with the rest of Brazil.
What I've sensed from my brief stay here is the Yanomami have no strong desire to change.
Like so many of the indigenous peoples of Brazil, it will be forced upon them.
But who am I to judge whether a life of hunting with arrows and snorting snuff is preferable to a life of iPads and TV soap operas.
But surely, the choice should be theirs.
In many of these really remote northern areas of Brazil, like where the Yanomami live, there's no road access at all.
Everything goes in and out by plane, including me.
So, I'm heading south now, towards the Amazon.
The mighty Amazon is at the heart of a network of over a thousand rivers.
Together, they contain up to 20% of the world's fresh water.
I leave the headwaters of the Rio Branco and head south towards Manaus where all the great rivers gather.
I'm on my way to find out more about the people who live from these rivers, from the growing business of eco-tourism, to the declining fortunes of a people almost as endangered as the Yanomami - the seringueiros.
150 years ago wild rubber, harvested by thousands of Indians and caboclos, those mixed-race Indians and Portuguese, created a boom which made fortunes for the rubber barons, but a harsh, and pretty miserable life for those who collected it.
In 1876, an Englishman called Henry Wickham stole some rubber seeds and sent them back to England.
By 1900 they had been transplanted to the Far East, and by 1920, the Brazilian rubber industry had all but collapsed.
Michael.
Gabriel Welcome to the St Thomas villageyeah, thank you, thank you, thank you.
In the village of Sao Tomas, I'm met by local guide, Gabriel.
He takes me to meet Elias, one of the old seringueiros.
He still taps the few remaining rubber trees which leak their now not-so-precious fluid.
Rubber man, he know about rubber, where rubber tree is, he knows to cut the rubber tree.
Hello.
Hello, mister, this is Michael.
And he's Elias, yes.
So here's the rubber, rubber tree.
Here they are wild trees.
They grow here and there and everywhere.
Yeah, yeah.
So here's the sap, coming out, yeah.
And this Thank you.
Ah, the seed.
Yes, rubber.
This is, these are the, the, seeds of the rubber tree.
So this is what the seeds look like that Henry Wickham? Exactly.
Took from the Amazon, went back to Kew.
Back to, erm They then took them out to Malaysia.
Malaysia.
And end of the Brazilian rubber industry.
I might take one myself and start the rubber industry in Sheffield.
Yeah.
They need some more investment.
"It's dry," he said.
It's dry, I know, I know.
We're pretending.
The key to turning the white sap into big business was a process invented in 1839 by Thomas Goodyear.
Vulcanisation, he called it.
By heating latex with sulphur, he found that the brittle rubber became elastic and malleable.
And so the floodgates to 100 uses, from tyres to waterproofs, were opened.
So the idea is to get it in a nice sort of flexible piece of malleable material.
OK.
Look here.
Yeah.
Here we are, yeah, yeah.
That's it, yeah, here we are.
Stick, yeah.
That's rubber indeed, yes.
It reminds me of the handlebars I have on my old bicycle at home, well, you wouldn't know, but I did.
To collect latex, then to make this process here.
So this is just a larger version of that? Oh! Yeah, like a ball.
Yeah, that works.
To you! And so did, did people like him get rich? The foreigners got rich.
So he said, er, he said only the, rubber barons.
Caboclos? Caboclos, no.
Yes.
Hard life.
Elias carries with him an air of sadness and regret, as do many caboclos of his generation.
Life goes on.
But there will be no more good times.
If there ever were.
Even a younger man like Gabriel believes the river has magical properties, like the legendary pink dolphin.
Some caboclos they believe that the animal has the capacity to become a man at midnight and sometimes it's possible to find some girls here pregnant.
They said that the dolphin did this.
All the guys who are to blame, blame the dolphin, that's great.
It's a big dolphin.
A dolphina dolphin's responsible.
There's something about the pink river dolphin that intrigues me.
Thanks to a local dolphin wrangler, there is a way I can find out more.
Well, the first time I've actually doneswum with the dolphins They are here, which is rather good, but I have to wear this, this is regulations for the Brazilian authorities, even though I'm only going to be standing on the board.
It's not some strange incontinence garment, in case you think so.
So, here we go.
The water's very black, so I can't actually see anything at all.
OK, on the platform now, and where is the dolphin? Then, quite suddenly, there they are.
She's quite alarming with the teeth.
Unable to resist the lure of the sardine.
Terrific jaws, in fact, rows of about 25 teeth on either side.
At first it's slightly Ooh, I can feel his body rubbing against the bottom of my leg.
Once they've got the fish they just sort of rub against you and almost use you to bounce off back into the water.
They're big, sort of sturdy, quite heavy creatures.
I'm now actually off the platform, free in the water and a bit apprehensive of the beak.
Whoa.
Oh yes, very good.
I wish I could do that.
Fantastic.
I so easily could have been that sardine.
OK, guys, well, you can all go home now leave me floating in the Rio Negro with my, my new friends, my new chums.
Oh! We are the sardine generation.
There are many spectacular sights in the Amazon, but few can rival the confluence of the region's two mightiest rivers - the muddy Amazon itself, rich with acidic sludge from the Andes, and the tannin-black waters of the Rio Negro.
It is an absolutely extraordinary sight, because it is so clear and sharp that it really is like a battle between the black tea and the milky coffee coming in.
The coffee colour wins over the black tea in the end.
Leaving the new double-strength Amazon to flow another thousand miles to the sea, we descend to the city which is synonymous with this great river.
Manaus, once a jungle outpost, is now home to two million people.
Rubber put Manaus on the map.
At the heyday of the boom, it was the richest city in the southern hemisphere.
The first in Brazil to have trams, the second to have electricity.
At the turn of the 20th century, fortunes were made and spent here.
The rubber barons spared nothing in creating a mini Paris in the rainforest.
But when the British stole the rubber trade away from Brazil, the glories of Manaus quickly faded.
Except that is for one magnificent survivor.
The Teatro Amazonas, the Manaus Opera House, has been sumptuously restored.
Designed by Italians, built with Scottish ironwork and French marble, it was intended to show that, jungle or no jungle, anything Europe could do, Brazil could do better.
A hundred years on, the Amazon Philharmonic Orchestra are rehearsing the overture to a Brazilian opera called II Guarany, about a doomed love affair between a Portuguese noblewoman and a native Indian.
The musicians come from all over the world, many from the former East European countries.
The latest of a long line of immigrants who've come to the Amazon to find a better life.
Manaus might have had its day as the centre of the great rubber boom, but there was still one more act in the great Brazilian rubber drama.
It was here, at the ferry port of Santarem on the Amazon, in the mid-1920s, that a group of Americans from the Ford Motor Company set off to find a site in the jungle where they could build their very own rubber plantation.
I'm going to take a ferry myself, to see how their dream turned out.
The ferry's in there somewhere I've just got to find it.
These tightly packed boats are the life-blood of the river system.
Not just for people, but for goods, too.
No trucks are allowed at the jetty, so all cargo, which seems to consist largely of beer, has to be man-handled on to the boats.
But amazingly, my 4:30 ferry out of Santarem leaves dead on 4:30.
I am now on my way to one of the strangest locations of modern Brazilian history, a place called Fordlandia, which Henry Ford created in the 1920s as an experiment in rubber production.
There isn't a lot of room on board, but not to worry, the journey only takes 14 hours.
We shall navigate rivers the size of lakes, turning south off the Amazon and up its tributary, the Tapajos.
I must say, when I got on, there was a bit of chaos.
I thought "Can I survive this?" but it kind of There is an order here and you settle down and get your hammock, and I just can't believe I've discovered the joys of hammock travelling so late in my travelling life.
They're justthey arethey are wonderful.
Here in Brazil, of course, you don't have the sort of government hammock or the shipping line hammock, you have your own colour, look at these lovely colours.
You take up a minimum amount of space, pretty simple.
If you want to have a look around you can do that, if you want to be a bit private, you just You know.
I think I was just born to swing from hooks.
It's a grey old morning on the Tapajos, and I've transferred to a smaller ferry which will drop me off where the men from Dearborn, Michigan first arrived some 80 years ago.
And what looks like a mirage at first, is indeed my destination.
Fordlandia.
There it is.
To turn Ford's dream into a reality, factories were built and Midwestern houses and streets sprang up as fast as the jungle could be stripped and cleared.
Under the guidance of the top men in the American motor industry, schools were built and a transport system created to carry the workforce.
It was an epic adventure.
And in the end, an epic failure.
Ford's plan for his company to produce all its own rubber collapsed as disease destroyed the trees, and ill health sapped the workforce.
In 1945, the Americans finally packed up and went home.
Leaving behind the ghosts of a great enterprise.
This is all that remains of what was once Fordlandia's state of the art hospital.
Now, the only signs of life are colonies of bats occupying the rooms and the operating theatres.
This is it.
This is all that's left of Henry Ford's great dream of creating the perfect America, in Brazil.
Belem, one of the oldest cities of the Amazon, is the perfect place to lift the spirits.
Located close to where the river meets the sea, it bounces and bustles with life, as the fishermen bring in the produce of the fertile waters of the delta.
Watched all the way by the resident rubbish collectors, an enthusiastic flock of turkey vultures.
This gothic extravaganza, made from Glaswegian ironwork, is the market they called Ver-o-peso.
See the weight.
A reference to the days when the Portuguese extracted taxes on the local produce.
Ver-o-peso is one of the great fish markets in Brazil.
And I'm guided around it by Priscilla, a young music manager, and someone for whom quality is vital.
Belem's top rated young chef, Thiago Castanho.
Tucunare.
Oh, yeahtucunare.
They are cheap.
Eye on the back, yeah.
This is beautiful.
Very.
What a beautiful-looking fish.
Part of the thing about food here seems there's so much of everything.
Not just fish, but fruit and Belem has a lot of different food.
Every fish, every fruit has its season.
Oh, right.
OK.
So, you're always changing your menu to reflect what is seasonal.
Yes.
Thiago has had to go back to his kitchen, but Priscilla is keen to show another aspect of Amazonian produce, dear to her body and soul.
So, what's all these? Er, these are our traditional medicines for almost everything.
Yeah.
From the Amazon, from the rainforest? Yes, all from the rainforest.
Hi, Leila.
Hello! Ola! Do you have Andiroba? This is Andiroba, this is an oil.
Yeah.
We use it for almost everything, we use it for the hair, beautiful hair and you can use it for your head.
And we use for pain if you have arthritis.
Arthritis.
Yes.
Yes, on joints and all that.
Yeah.
Do big companies come round and look at these and say "Hey, we can "make money out of this," arthritis and shampoo in the same bottle? Yes.
There are now shampoos in Brazil with this.
Really? Really because companies are coming for this.
It's very traditional.
Everyone uses it.
What other things do they have here? We've been travelling for a long time.
I'm quite tired.
A few aches, you know you feel just a little bit travel-worn.
Does she have something that would liven me up? We have the natural Viagra, which is an energising concoction.
It stimulates you sexually and mentally.
Not quite what I meant, but, yeah.
Yeah, OK.
What, what is the most popular seller here, the most popular one you get asked for? She sells a lot of baths for love - that's the top seller.
Oh yeah, baths for love, I love it.
Baths for love is like, yeah, right on.
So, sex is quite important problem with people, I suppose.
Yeah, in the world.
Yeah, in Brazil as well? You always imagine the Brazilians being sexually very happy and harmonious and fulfilled.
Probably because of this one.
Probably because of this, yeah, that kind of bottled that! Yeah, well, I don't think I will take that because, you know, I'm past that now, but maybe You should have the spiritual one.
Something, yes, something to help me learn Portuguese at night.
The reward for a hard morning shopping in this palace of delights is lunch with Priscilla, at Thiago's newly opened, decidedly upmarket restaurant.
Thiago may be the star of his all-male kitchen, but Priscilla makes it clear the fairer sex is the stronger one around here.
The strong people, they are women.
Women are strong in the Amazon.
Really? Really.
A lot of the shopkeepers are women, yeah.
Yeah.
You see, the men they don't talk that much, they stay out, they keep their place.
That's interesting cos the original word, the Spanish word Amazon was the woman, the warriors.
You know, the Yes.
Entirely female warriors.
That's how, that's how I see.
Do you see yourself in that, er, tradition? Yes, I think so.
You've going to meet Gaby.
Yeah.
Yeah, the singer.
Gaby is who you manage, yeah? You're going to understand the power of Amazon women when you meet her.
Gaby Amarantos is quite something.
She's created a fusion of old-style local music with a modern beat that she's christened tecnobrega.
Gaby's been trying to make it in the business since she was a teenager.
What keeps her going, even in a modest local bar like this, is a strength and self-belief which she attributes to her mixed-race Amazonian roots.
I think women from the Amazon feel free and natural because we are a product of our indigenous roots and I am very proud of my origins.
I feel free to say how I feel through my music, and I think this is very particular, special characteristic of the women from the Amazon.
They are more relaxed.
Gaby's been called the Beyonce of the Amazon, but to me there's something else going on here.
Something more Boadicea than Beyonce.
I feel a force and the people that watch the show, they have never seen me, that are not from here they see a force of nature, bringing them the power of Amazonia.
So, I feel something that I can't explain, that gives me goose bumps, that makes people fall in love with this type of music and they know that there is something behind it With the sounds of Gaby's tecnobrega still ringing in my ears, I head south from Belem up one of the major tributaries of the Amazon, the Xingu river.
It runs through one of the most protected areas in Brazil.
60 years ago, a reservation for the ten tribes of the Upper Xingu was created.
In contrast to the Yanomami, their land is more accessible, so it's been a constant fight against incursions.
Today, only those invited by the tribes themselves are allowed to enter.
I've no idea what I shall find, or how I'll be received.
My legs are wobbly.
Hello! Hi.
We've been invited here by the Wauja people, of whom there are fewer than 500 left in the world.
The Wauja are feared warriors, renowned for their wrestling skills.
But they're equally well known for their elaborate rituals.
I'm not absolutely sure if this is a war dance or a welcome.
Happily, it turns out to be both.
Brilliant.
That was brilliant.
Woo! Woo! Fantastic, thank you.
Thank you.
Their elaborate body decorations and the feathers they use on their arms and ears are beautiful, but to a newcomer, quite mystifying.
As is the purpose of the elaborate dances they've laid on.
Fortunately, I'm in good hands.
Our intermediary with the Wauja is Emi Ireland, an American anthropologist who on several visits here has learnt the language and developed a deep affinity with the people.
What's the dance about? OK, this is the kagapa dance, the kagapa ceremony.
Kagapa.
Kagapa.
Yep.
And it's a small fish, it's a bait fish and, er, it's er, you find it in the shallows.
Yes.
Er, next to, under the leaves.
And that's why the young men are wearing leaves, cos they are the spirit of the kagapa fish.
Oh, I see.
And so they appear just as they do in the stream.
And the kagapa fish is a, a superb bait fish.
So, people are very happy to find kagapa because It leads them to another.
A big one, yeah.
I see, yeah.
So, everybody's in a good mood when there's lots of kagapa around.
Yeah.
What do they? Do they catch a lot of fish, is that their main source of food? Of protein.
Ah, yeah, but along with, er, they eat a lot of manioc bread, you'll have some of that.
Yeah.
And they also eat pequi fruit, it is an oily fruit, very nutritious.
How long does this dance go on for? Ah, it usually goes on for a couple of hours.
And they have other ceremonies that go on for days, but not this particular one.
Yeah.
What's nice is that they have this big village with a big population so it gives them more, more options for everything.
More options for ceremonies, more options for marriage partners.
For a long time, people grew up with only one or two people who they could marry.
Wow, that takes a lot of complication out of it.
Yes, it certainly does.
You know what you've gotta do and who you've gotta do it with.
Yeah.
Though it's not easy to get to the Upper Xingu, we're certainly not the first film crew they've ever seen.
Indeed, they now have film equipment themselves, which they are using to make a photographic record of their tribe, their way of life, what being a Wauja means.
But are they are in danger of losing something because of all this outside influence? The notion of purity, whether it's racial purity or cultural purity, is dangerous.
Yeah.
But what they have to maintain is vigour and self-respect, self-determination, empowerment.
And frankly, the forest, it's very important for all of us.
And they know that.
Yeah.
Part of what this team is doing is bringing film equipment so the community can record historical information from their elders.
Yeah.
They have been very excited about this.
Well, er, first morning with the Waura on the Xingu, tributaries of the Xingu.
Coming to life quite slowly.
Poured with rain in the middle of the night, it's the rainy season, belted down with rain.
I think they may be just sort of, um, plugging a few leaks back there.
These, these houses and I must, must not call them huts, I know that, they're houses, are really fantastic, beautifully built.
Spent quite a comfortable night there, quite a buggy atmosphere, but then it is the wet season.
My first impression is, it's almost more exotic than right up in the north of the Yanomami and yet I think there's more influence from outside here.
Um, see T-shirts, a pick-up truck, there's a satellite dish and things like that so, something is happening here which is slightly different, well, very different actually to the Yanomami.
These people are seeing more of the world outside.
Anyway, breakfast.
Thank you.
You have real potential, Michael.
At last, something I can do in life.
The preparation of food is, quite literally, hands on.
And the Wauja women have work for me.
That's tricky there.
Manioc is a nutritious root that grows all year round.
It certainly isn't a fast food.
They're saying you're very good at it.
Don't let my wife see this, she will never peel a potato again.
After the peeling, the grating.
Now, my technique here is not taken altogether seriously.
What's so funny? Don't go, don't go, you should stay here and we'll take you to the manioc garden.
They want you to take me, yeah.
You are the ideal husband.
Oh, well.
This way, this way.
Oh yeah, course, of course That's it, yes, yes.
This is the best cookery course I've been on really, you'll never do this for Jamie Oliver.
How long does it take them to, to prepare this? Just, I've just done five minutes I'm exhausted.
About three hours a day.
Three hours a day, gosh.
They work hard.
They work very hard.
No slackers? No slackers.
But a lazy person, are they stigmatised by the rest of the group? Oh, yes very much, very much so.
In what way? Called rude names? Well, yes, sometimes the women won't want to marry them.
Is it very important for them to marry, I mean, could they just have the nice life as a bachelor? Well, imagine how could you live well if you had no manioc? You need to have a female relative to make it for you.
Now I know what the men's role is.
My final test, could I turn the grated manioc into beiju - traditional Wauja bread.
This is getting fire in my eyes.
Harder, OK.
Ah.
I just can't see anything cos I'm just getting smoke, smoke in my eyes.
You are probably jealous that your wife is entertaining affection for someone else and that's why smoke is blowing in your eyes.
Oh, is it? Oh.
That's the reason.
OK, so where are we? Over again? Yeah.
Like that? Well, I think I'm better on the grating.
Music and dance are an intrinsic part of Wauja life.
These sacred flutes can only be played, or indeed touched, by the men-folk.
During sacred rituals, the women are not even allowed to see them but today's more of a social occasion, as young girls who have been in puberty isolation are welcomed back to the community.
Later, Emi takes me to the house of her oldest and closest confidant, the shaman Itsutaku.
I ask him if he feels confident about the future.
The new danger is that, um, there are a lot of very powerful interests that want to dam the rivers.
Damming the rivers destroys the ecology and slowly strangles the whole community.
For instance, now they're planning to build a hydroelectric dam, Belo Monte, which will be the third-largest dam ever built and scientists who have studied it say it doesn't make any sense unless there's a whole complex of dams planned.
So, it's an ecological catastrophe and I said to him "How would you "deal with that problem?" and he said, "We don't have a solution for that.
" I hope Itsutaku's anxieties will prove unfounded.
The Wauja may be few, but that's no reason to allow a culture, a language, and a way of life to simply disappear.
Bye-bye.
Thank you.
Tchau.
Muito obrigato.
In the debate about the future of the rainforest, the voice of the people who've lived here for thousands of years is not only valuable, it's indispensible.
It's reassuring that someone else who also has the future of the rainforest at heart is my pilot, Gerard Moss.
I spend hundreds of hours per year flying this plane at low level, in the Amazon, and every single flight that I take I discover new openings, new clearings, recent deforestation.
So, is it ever going to stop? What do you think is the worst case scenario? We have, in Brazil, lost approximately 20% of the cover of the forest.
There's a general consensus among scientists that once we lose close to 40% of the total area, we could go into self destructive mode, and the forest becoming a savannah, which has already started in certain areas.
Savannah meaning it's drying out, it's becoming more vulnerable to fire, for instance.
So, fire, in a forested area of this size, could be kind of devastating? Absolutely disastrous, because you have no access to combat the fire, so these fires would go on for years, frankly.
And that is a real concern to us.
Do you think that the politicians have the will to change things? One needs to look a bit further ahead there's no doubt that Brazil, frankly, is the, in my opinion, is the only country in the world, on this planet, that is capable of feeding huge, vast amounts of people, we're going to be nine billion, in some years' time.
There's no country that has all the resources, the space, the land, and especially the water.
The decisions on how this abundance is to be managed and administered will be taken at the next stop on my journey.
As I fly 300 miles south from the natural wonders of the rainforest, to the manmade wonders of one of the most modern capital Finding the difficult balance between wealth creation and conservation is being argued out here in the country's parliament.
Designed in the 1950s by a communist, Oscar Niemeyer, and laid out by another communist, and dazzling achievement.
From barren countryside to national capital in only five years.
The flags of the 26 Brazilian states fly outside the ministries from which the country's future will be decided.
One man who grew up in tandem with the city is Dinho Ouro Preto, lead singer of Brazil's premier rock group, Capital Inicial.
Dinho's coming of age coincided with a long period of military dictatorship.
He tells me his music was punk inspired, and consciously political.
How, how do you see the country now, how do you see what you're saying? Well, I'm not as revolutionary as I used to be.
That's age.
I suppose, in political terms, I moved more to the centre.
But I still vote for Labour.
So, you've achieved things? No, I think we're a very long way away from social justice in Brazil, we still, although Brazil is among the leading economies in the world and is an emerging market.
Still we're very, very far away from being in a fair country.
So, there is still a very long way to go.
Brazil's prosperity is growing fast, enabling it to embark on ambitious projects like this brand new stadium for the 2014 World Cup.
As the money pours in, I asked Dinho if he thinks that's changing not just the infrastructure, but the people themselves.
For the first time, what we're seeing, the most important change in Brazil in the recent years, is distribution of wealth.
We're seeing a huge emerging middle class.
And that is what is making Brazilians so enthusiastic about this moment.
It's not only because of the Olympics, not only because of the World Cup, but it is because of this sense of accomplishment.
This sense that Brazil is fulfilling its potential and what is generally perceived as its destiny.
The economic rise of Brazil, is in part due to the combination of its rich, natural resources, with an abundant and cheap workforce.
And at the very heart of the Brazilian capital there's a statue that honours the working man.
This is a monument to the candangos, the people who built this city over 50 years ago.
Next time, I'll be exploring where many of those candangos went, when the building Their destination, along with many others from the north, were the rich gold and iron mines of Minas Gerais and the city that is synonymous with Brazil, Rio de Janeiro.