Brazil With Michael Palin (2012) s01e04 Episode Script

The Deep South

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! In this episode, I'll be meeting a lot of people I feel I've met before, in an epic landscape, both natural and man-made.
For this is southern Brazil, where European and Asian immigrants have created a very different culture from the rest of the country.
And it can still spring plenty of surprises.
I don't know what I'm doing to the ecological balance here, but there you go! Well, I'm on the last leg of my Brazilian journey.
We're sailing down the coast from Rio.
Behind me is Brazil's other rainforest, the Mata Atlantica, the Atlantic rainforest.
We're approaching a town which was once one of the most prosperous in the whole of Brazil.
It's called Parati, where the gold came out and slaves went in.
300 years ago, Parati lay at the end of the Camino d'Oro, the Gold Trail, which led through the mountains to the goldmines of the interior.
It was a road built by slaves for other slaves to carry the gold, which, for 100 years made this little town fabulously wealthy.
But pirates made a habit of robbing the galleons that set sail from Parati.
The gold trade moved north, and the town fell into a steady decline which left it largely untouched by the modern world.
A living embodiment of the colonial period can be found here in the shape of Prince John De Orleans e Briganza, a staunch republican who's heir to the Brazilian throne.
I think people would be quite interested to know that there was, there is still a royal line in Brazil, which you represent.
It's a very interesting story, yes.
Peter the First, my great-great grandfather, he was married to Leopoldina Habsburg from Austria.
Napoleon was married with her sister, Marie-Louise.
Napoleon was the brother-in-law.
'Brother-in-law or not, the Portuguese court fled Napoleon's invading troops 'for the safety of Brazil.
'Their arrival, in Don John's opinion, 'laid the foundations of today's nation state.
' A very interesting thing.
Brazil, before their arrival, was a colony.
After their arrival in 1808, Brazil turned into a nation.
From one moment to the other, the founding of many institutions, cultural, scientific, and political institutions.
Is she one of the princesses? Yes.
Princess Isabel.
She signed the law giving total freedom to slaves in 1888.
She's your great Great-grandmother.
Grandmother of my father.
The gold that lay on the other side of the mountains may have run out, but it's been replaced by something else the rest of the world buys from Brazil.
A half-hour flight from Parati, brings me to one of Brazil's great success stories.
Well, it was until I took the controls! I'm in the simulator at Embraer, a Brazilian aircraft builder which turns out 200 planes a year.
From being almost bankrupt 15 years ago, it's now the third largest manufacturer of commercial planes in the world.
Some people still think of Brazil as being too laid-back and relaxed for the competitive world of modern industry.
Embraer, with its smart management, technical expertise and skilled 17,000-strong workforce is the perfect riposte.
This is a company snapping at the heels of Boeing and Airbus.
And they've found a job for me in the paint shop with Felipe Galvan.
For me, this colour blue is difficult to paint.
Is it? Why? Because the blue is very dark.
Like a mirror.
When I paint it's difficult to pass, the speed.
I need to very, very specifically You have to be very careful otherwise, yeah.
It's enough? These are my fashionable shoes! These are Paul Smith of London.
Paul, if you're watching, look what they're doing! Redesigning your shoes! The shoes Nike.
Nike?! Made in Brazil! Made in Brazil! No, no, no.
Now we're ready to paint.
What colour? The colour is dark blue.
Oh, no.
It's a difficult one.
You told me.
That's a lovely colour.
It's sort of azure blue.
Very, very blue.
OK? Wow.
Ready to paint.
Paint your shoes, no? Yeah, good.
Get off! Right, so this goes on.
Put your mask.
Wow! Space man time! Your hair, it's blue! 'Felipe, having finally got over his obsession with my shoes, 'turns his attentions to a bigger game.
'The tail fin of a Kazakhstan airliner.
' Two fingers here? All right.
Press! Press! Press! Yes? Let's go again.
That's it.
Now we need to wait ten minutes until the surface has got cold.
You must be hungry.
What time did you have breakfast? 4.
00am? 4.
And lunch now.
And another breakfast 2.
So you have three meals a day by 2.
00pm? What food do you like? What's your favourite? Meat.
"Barbecure"? Barbecue! Oh, yeah.
Brazilians love barbecue.
Now pasta! Always pasta.
Do you have a surprise? Surprise pea.
What? Surprise pea.
Surprise pea? There.
It's good.
'Felipe was so keen to get a job at Embraer 'that he left his own engagement party to make the interview.
'He's never looked back.
' The first time I entered the building, the paint shop, I saw many guys painter there.
And I stood just looking.
It was amazing painting.
"Whoosh!" Yeah.
And I told myself, "I want to be one of them.
" And I have friends, other friends there, and they helped me to get the job here.
Does it pay well? Yeah.
Pays very well.
What sort of Today, I earn more or less 3,500 reals a month.
3,500 reals a month.
That's about ã1,500.
I'm just trying to think, a month.
Not bad.
Not bad.
So how did it change your life? Everything.
Like what? Because this job I bought my apartment, my house.
Everything that I have today.
And I have a good car, a good life.
I have a good life.
I buy everything.
I have Xbox.
I buy my Xbox.
What would you like to do? Would you like to go up from painting to some other thing? To administration? No, I don't think about this.
I like to be a painter.
That's enough for me.
You're happy doing what you're doing.
I stop with what I have now.
'He's an enviable combination of hard work and happiness.
'Embraer's speciality is short-haul commercial jets.
'One of their regular customers is Dutch carrier KLM.
They've taken 21 Cityhoppers and are today taking delivery of their 22nd.
It's an important moment marked by a very silly ceremony .
involving the Brazilian seller, the Dutch buyer and me! You wear the clogs? OK, yes.
Good for flying! OK.
There we go.
I hope they fit.
They look a little big for me.
Oh, they're very snug! Is it just one? There we go.
Thank you very much.
That's very kind of you.
What is next is we have Dutch fish.
What you call eels.
It's smoked eel.
When it's smoked, we call it "paling".
Oh, I never knew that.
Very similar to your name.
People ask where my name comes from.
I've never heard it coming from smoked eel! So that's something useful.
I like eel.
You should try it.
Just try it.
Thank you very much.
I'll be the first to try it.
A bit of "paling".
It's really good.
It might seem a bit whacky, but this is a very important part of the whole delivery process.
Because they're here, the KLM people, to do final checks and then in a week's time, they'll have to write the big cheque to pay for the plane.
So that's why everyone's very happy and jolly, but underneath it all, there's a lot of money hanging on this cloggy, palingy moment! Can I have one more? Of course! I like this paling.
For some reason.
I don't like all paling.
'Taisse is the woman from Embraer who's been cashing in those big KLM cheques 'for the past few years.
' You've obviously got a good relationship with KLM.
Does anybody else provide smoked eels and No, no.
Not really.
But I must confess, in the beginning, we were expecting something more serious, more cool.
Then, when they come, they come with smiling faces and very open-minded talking to us, doing this kind of exchange culture thing.
So it surprised us a lot.
How do you feel when it all goes through? Do you feel proud of what's being done here? Totally, yes.
To see the airplane going back home with the customer very satisfied, it's part of us.
We are proud of it, we are proud of our product and we represent Brazil.
This is for us.
It's crazy.
Crazy it may be, but as another 40-million-worth of airliner takes to the sky, one Brazilian company is getting it exactly right.
A few minutes' flying time from Embraer, the vast megalopolis of Sao Paulo, largest city in the southern hemisphere, rises like a man-made forest.
40 million people, one in five Brazilians, live in Sao Paulo and its surrounding state.
This is the economic and financial heart of Brazil, and it's already full to overflowing.
The very rich Paulistas have grown so impatient with the crush and the congestion that they no longer live on the ground but in the skies above.
Sao Paulo is the helicopter capital of the world.
It's not surprising that it's also the traffic jam capital of the world.
One of them recently reckoned to be nearly 200 miles long! So here in the city, there are 400 helicopters making 300 journeys a day.
The rich and successful go from building to building to make meetings without ever having to touch the ground.
I'm going with one of those people today.
In the helicopter with Wilson Quintella, king of Brazilian garbage! Wilson Quintella can look down on Sao Paulo with some satisfaction.
Last year, his waste management company, Estre Ambiantal, made a ã400 million turnover from everything that Sao Paulo throws away.
Wilson, like many multi-millionaires, travels his empire by air.
Today, he's flying me to one of his biggest landfill sites, just outside Sao Paulo.
"Waste is just the beginning" is the company slogan.
As far as Wilson's concerned, every rubbish tip has a silver lining.
So you're in the right business.
Garbage is big business.
It's growing a lot.
We Brazil brought about 40 million people who was in poverty.
40 million people who were poor are now consumers? It's making 40,000 tonnes per day.
That's the waste of a city like Sao Paolo.
Wilson, this is not just about collecting people's garbage.
This is business, isn't it? Oh, yeah.
It's big money.
Well, big money, I don't mean I don't know.
Not big money.
Your profits last year were good.
It is good, yeah.
And it's growing all over the world.
But I believe the most interesting thing is that we can do an environment business joined with an economical business.
We can get money from the recycle.
I believe that is what will change completely this market for now on work.
Maybe one day we are going to pay to the garbage.
For instance, like cans, like paper, all these have a market.
Nowadays, China imports more plastic coming from the recycling business than the total consumption of Brazil, in terms of plastic.
Recycling used to be confined to poor people scavenging rubbish tips.
Wilson acknowledges their contribution by offering them a safe and secure role in his business.
In Brazil, this market is booming because we are having economic growth and besides that we have a new law that obliges to finish with dumping and obliges at least to recycle 20% of the total waste.
It's going to be a revolution in Brazil, as we have a huge opportunity for companies like ours.
Not to make money, but to do something good for society.
And make a profit.
And make some money.
Come on.
The scavengers who eke a living from rubbish dumps have recently received the ultimate accolade.
To become characters in one of Brazil's hugely popular soap operas.
One of the stars of Avenida Brazil is Carolina Ferraz, a much-admired actress with over 20 soaps under her belt.
She's the perfect person to show me round the make-believe world where the stories are filmed and to explain just how they do it.
And here, if you look, you have all the outside cities.
They built the scenario outside.
Each soap opera has its own.
So we go there and shoot.
Shall we get out and have a look? So what's actually happening now in this part of the story? They are shooting the soap opera, Which is the one I'm shooting now as well.
And this is the neighbourhood, the outside set.
We have the poor neighbourhood.
Everything that happens, happens here.
This is the poor neighbourhood? They don't know we're shooting.
Everything is happening.
Everyone's acting.
We're acting, they're acting.
It's very realistic, actually.
A lot of extras, a lot of camera shooting at different angles.
If you think about it, we shoot something like 30 scenes per day.
30 scenes a day.
So it's like shooting a whole movie a week.
What sort of character do you play? I play part of the comic part of the soap opera.
I play a very rich woman who is going to lose everything.
I'm going to become poor and I'm going to come and live here.
Doesn't sound very comic! It's in the comic way.
It's not tragic.
I'm going to come here and I'm going to make lots of confusion with all the characters.
It's going to be fun! There's something about soap operas.
I see them on television sets all over Brazil.
Tell me how popular they are.
It's like our Hollywood.
People love it.
People truly don't go out of their houses because they want to stay and watch the soap operas.
And because we don't have a soap opera that goes on for ten years, our soap operas they go on for something like six to eight months, maximum eight months.
So everybody knows that it's going to end.
So everybody wants to follow it to know what is going to happen and how it's going to finish.
Who is going to marry who in the end.
This is You say everybody.
What size of audience does that mean? It's huge.
It's something like 72 million people watching you every night.
It's amazing.
It's crazy, isn't it? Is it like people working out their own dreams through you? Or is it more real life? They sort of have a social obligation.
They always bring different issues, topic issues, that people as a society should discuss.
Because it's so popular.
And we are in such a poor country.
So we use this, because it's very popular, to debate different issues.
in the rubbish dump has given a voice to a previously marginalised under-class.
This is what is new in Brazil.
They're starting to have these kind of characters coming out and they're speaking to society.
This is what is fresh now.
It's so Previously, no-one would have bothered about them or listened.
They wouldn't have space to come out.
That's not about people paying attention to them, they didn't just have the chance to come out.
And you think this is because Brazil itself is more confident and prosperous so they don't feel threatened by people at the bottom of the pile? Now people have more real chances.
Increasingly, the voices that are being heard in Brazil are the voices from the shanty town, none louder than that of Criolo.
Criolo is a rapper, poet and composer.
His poems are eloquent but enigmatic, delivering a message that has struck a chord with a generation who have grown up at the bottom of the pile.
Carolina is an admirer, and has taken me to meet him.
When you were growing up and what you saw around, did it make you angry in any way, the way people were treated? The way people lived? Did it make you angry with the system? 'We can't feel how hot the pot of soup is 'if we are the vegetables inside the soup.
'Our system here has been broken for 80 years 'and we are the ones paying for the super-glue to keep the thing together.
' The economy is going well at the moment.
It seems to be going well for Brazil.
Do they notice any change as a result of that? 'The detail seems to be in the word he used before - "seems" to be going well.
' Yeah.
'Anyway, we have to think that this situation 'has to last for at least 50 years, 'otherwise I don't know.
'To think that five or ten years would change a single leaf under this tree.
' His bleak views might be uncomfortable for many Brazilians.
But the man himself doesn't behave like a prophet of doom.
Criolo remains engagingly loyal to the streets where he grew up.
Streets where poverty is endemic, but where the compensations, like the music that nurtured him, still raise the spirits.
On the other side of Sao Paulo are the affluent streets which cater for the burgeoning new middle class.
Someone who did more than most to set this tide in motion is the man credited with turning the Brazilian economy round in the 1990s.
He's former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, known to all as FHC.
I talked to him about his home city.
Being in Sao Paulo, I'm aware of the importance of immigration to this city.
I suppose people saw Brazil then as like America? It was a dream for them.
This is a kind of America.
In our minds, we are European.
We consider ourselves as kind of a part of Europe.
This is senseless, because we are not! But then the feeling was much more European.
And I used to say in our culture, we are much more Americans than Europeans.
This is a new nation.
Blacks in Brazil like in America.
The true melting pot is not US, it's Brazil.
Because in the US, they live together.
But they don't integrate each other.
In Brazil, it's much easier to be part of the similar confusion of things.
It's how you live with the other is more relaxing here.
No doubts.
What FHC calls "living with the other" is something that characterises the cosmopolitan streets of Sao Paulo.
One of the largest of the many groups of immigrants to have found their fortune here are the Japanese.
Here we are, the Sao Paulo Shimbun.
Something for every community.
Sao Paulo is a city of immigrants.
It's the sixth biggest city in the world, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and it's made up of people from all other parts of the world.
In the country alone, there's 1.
5 million Japanese in Brazil.
And see, they have their own papers, for which I must now pay.
Hola! In the Liberdade district, which is the heart of the Japanese Brazilian community, they're celebrating the start of Hanamatsuri, the traditional Japanese Flower Festival.
The priest is blessing one of the tiniest Buddhas I've ever seen! The participants are mainly businessmen of a certain age.
But one of the younger onlookers is Jun Takake.
Why did they come to Brazil, your grandparents? Because they were fortunate to work with agriculture here.
Oh, in agriculture.
They started to work in the farms to make money to come back to Japan and to buy a farm and start to But most of them, they keep here.
And they're still now here, and that's why I'm here! Yeah.
My grandparents, they said, "No, Brazil is good.
"I want to keep stay here, not go back to Japan.
" Is there any problem with Japanese inter-marrying with other immigrant groups or other races? No, not now.
In the beginning, yes.
But now we have a lot of these mixtures and cultures.
A lot of Brazilian Japanese marry with Brazilian girls.
And Italians or Russians or Germans.
No, it's not a problem.
Because we are in Brazil.
I'm born in Brazil.
So I'm Brazilian Japanese.
Jun, like millions of other immigrants, has been willingly sucked in to the collective identity of the country he now calls home.
In some areas of life, non-Brazilian stereotypes are very much alive and well.
Supermodels, for instance, like Gisele Bundchen, tend to the Teutonic.
Bundchen has made a fortune from not looking particularly Brazilian.
And, unsurprisingly, she's become a model for all potential models.
Her brand of tall, long-legged elegance is drawn largely from an area some way from Sao Paulo.
500 miles south, in the city of Blumenau, white European immigrants predominate.
Here, where the buildings are half-timbered and the beer drunk in steins, is a fertile recruiting ground for some of the most sought-after models in the world.
One of them, a second-generation German, local girl Priscila Falaster, is already well-established on the fashion runways of the world.
Is it a big ambition of girls in Brazil to be a model? Like Gisele Bundchen, or someone like that? Is it something that girls want to be? Yes.
Everybody wants so much to be a model here.
Maybe because we have Gisele Bundchen and the girls say, "Oh, my God, I want this life.
" Do you feel quite proud of what you've done, you know, for you're here in Blumenau? Yes.
Do you feel quite good? You've done I am so proud.
I am so proud because I love here.
When I have been German, I'm so happy because my grandfather is from there.
And here I am so proud because it's one beautiful city.
And they have culture, do you understand? And they have German's buildings.
I love.
I love here.
I think I know what she means as I see everywhere around me a world I'd never expected to find in the land of sun, sea and samba.
I've now reached the deep south of Brazil, over 3,000 miles from where I started just up by the Venezuelan border.
And the immigrants who've settled this part of Brazil are very different.
My preconceptions of Brazil need some readjusting as I find myself drawn ever more deeply into a different place and a different time.
In the small town of Pomoroj, 90% of the inhabitants not only speak German, but speak it with a 19th-century Pomeranian dialect.
And funny hats are obligatory.
Like so many immigrants, the Germans of Pomeroj stick to their old ways with a fervour that the homeland rarely equals.
Complete with whoops, yells, accordions, and dances that Health and Safety would have banned years ago! Drinking a lot of beer helps if you're wielding an axe right next to your foot! I've been enlisted to help Ingo Pens, who sells ice-cold Pilsner from a motorcycle side-car.
Ingo sees my potential as a travelling barman.
Ooh, what a creamy top that is.
OK? Tip it up a little, dear.
That's it.
There we go.
Hi, yes, now you'll want a lot.
You're hot.
You're hot.
Strong beer.
Very good.
To the team.
To the team! Then, just when I thought I could get quietly pissed Oh! Thank you! Ah, well, here we go.
All right, I've got that bit.
After some initial embarrassment, I get into the swing of it and soon we're a fully-fledged dancing unit.
Thank you! But you can only have so much fun.
And now it's time to get back on the road with Ingo.
At a leisurely pace, he takes me on his beer bike to visit one of the oldest immigrant families in the area.
Hannah Laura has invited me to join her and some of her 14 brothers and sisters and their children for a traditional Pomeranian Sunday lunch.
Stir well.
What she's making now is a traditional Pomeranian stuffing which was brought over from Germany .
to have with the duck.
You've got to have a strong arm to do that.
In it goes.
So how do you feel, Hannah Laura? Do you feel German first and Brazilian second or do you feel Brazilian but German as well? I feel German first.
In most of Brazil, the immigrant people, whether they've come from Italy or Spain or Portugal, they all become Brazilian.
But here, you remain very German.
You're very strongly attached to your German identity.
Why is that different from all the other immigrants in Brazil? 'I think it's maybe because our forefathers left us the culture 'and the customs.
'And every family from Germany 'wants to make sure it continues, 'wants to make sure we pass it on to our children and grandchildren 'so it doesn't die out.
' They call this the European Valley, largely settled by Germans like Hannah Laura who don't seem in any hurry to assimilate.
My evening with Ingo is hardly going to break the mould.
He's taking me to a bierkeller! The band is led by a man called Michael Lochner, who, for once, is not Brazilian German.
He's actually German German! He came here for a beer festival, met a local girl and stayed.
His band is quintessentially Brazilian, and they don't take it all too seriously.
One of their biggest hits is called White Sausage Samba.
So you're really dealing with a quite difficult fusion of Brazilian and German and Portuguese and German.
It's quite challenging.
It's very complicated.
And with the music as well.
You've got brass band and you've got guitar.
You're playing samba and you're playing oom-pah-pah! We recorded about 15 CDs.
Up until today, our record company don't know where to put them - German, Brazilian, rocking.
What place in the record store will we put this record? It's complicated.
Folk? I don't know! 'He's not the only one who's confused.
'After a few beers, Michael looks distinctly like a woman!' So the German and Brazilian senses of humour can appreciate the same thing? Or not? I think it's different! What's the German All right, we know the German sense of humour.
It's nice and good.
They love Monty Python so it must be great.
But Brazilian sense of humour? How different is that? What do they laugh at? It's It's For me, it's a little bit superficial.
Is it? Yes? I think Brazil, it's a country for many immigrating countries - Italians, Germans, Portuguese, Spanish, all.
This is It's complicated.
To mix this mixture, to understand the same kind of humour.
The surprises of southern Brazil keep on coming.
Like this wonderful railway train.
Brazil's railway heyday was 100 years ago and it's rare to find a train that still carries passengers.
We're running on a freight line cut through the Mata Atlantica.
The scenery is spectacular and we few lucky passengers are thoroughly spoiled.
I'm sharing my champagne with a serious young Brazilian called Marcelo.
It's a good way to see the forest, isn't it? Yes.
Because there are no roads here, only the railway.
It gives us this chance to see it.
It's beautiful.
Yes, it's so beautiful.
And it's amazing because 12% of the bio-diversity of the world is right here.
12% of the bio-diversity of the world.
You see all this, the forest, and it makes you feel quite spiritual, in a way.
You know, about how this came to be.
Why is it so beautiful, all that.
Do you have a religious belief? Are you a Catholic? No, I'm a spiritualist.
I believe in spiritualism.
I believe in that.
And I believe too, that the forest is a big soul.
It provide us our energy, our light.
Everything that we need comes from the forests.
Do many people, young Brazilians like you, feel the same thing? Yes, it's amazing because many people feel like me.
Many people now is feeling this important thing.
The nature, human people, the animals, everything is connected.
We can change, we need to change this world.
We are part of everything.
What is your This is from Maori culture.
Maori? Maori culture.
I pass one week Dreaming with the Maori people.
Dreaming? Dreaming.
Oh, yes, doing the Dream culture.
And the Maori people, one man, with tattoo, is teaching me to carve.
Oh, right.
I never did that before.
Of course, I've seen that in This is the first job that I made.
And when I give for the person, like this, and have a pray.
I have a pray and desire everything.
This is for you, Michael.
This is for you.
You're gonna use this to protect.
To protect your family, to protect your body, your mind, your spirits.
This is a gift for you right now.
Receive my love, the universe love.
OK? Do you know you can feel? This is for you.
Thank you.
This is yours.
This is mine? This is for you.
This is for you.
That's I'm very touched.
Very touched.
Thank you.
This is a gift for you, my friend.
My old new friend.
Thank you.
You are welcome.
My encounter with Marcelo is typical of many I've had on my way through Brazil.
There's a sense of openness and un-self-consciousness about people here.
If they like you, they'll tell you.
There's nothing better than a breath of Brazilian fresh air to blow the dust off British reserve.
I can't leave Brazil without reminding myself once again of the size, scale and beauty of its rarely visited interior.
I'm flying 500 miles to the west where the central plateau drops away.
Below lies a very different vista of lagoon and forest.
It's the largest wetland in the world.
They call it the Pantanal and the transport is traditional.
Take the camera off for the undignified bit! So, in like that.
Hold it there.
Very good.
OK? Good.
This is about the speed I like! Thank you, Alex.
'Alex and my fellow horsemen are the Brazilian counterpart 'of the Gauchos in Argentina, 'and here, as there, their life is inextricably linked to the movement of cattle.
'The young cattle are particularly vulnerable to predators, 'as I'm to find out.
' You're going to be looked at.
'This calf has been attacked and needs to be treated.
'One of the team keeps the mother at bay 'whilst Alex supplies some modern medicine.
' He has been attacked by a jaguar.
Oh, really? What damage has been done? Been attacked.
Yes, attacked.
You see it has bitten his neck.
He's lucky because the mom is really courage.
The mother would have attacked the jaguar? Yes.
Defending him.
I'm going to leave him.
So you were just able to put some antiseptic on? Yeah.
If it's too big, we get some dry shit.
Dry shit? And put it in.
Really? Yeah.
And that helps heal the wound? Yeah.
You don't often see that.
Calf attacked by jaguar.
Anyway, better go.
Calves to save, work to be done.
Come on, camera.
They respect the old ways here.
Even down to the mighty curved horn that's carried to summon the cattle.
There's a peace and serenity here in the Pantanal that's like nectar after the crowded cities of the coast.
The cattle ranch, or fazenda, where I'm staying, has been run by the Rondon family for nearly 100 years.
Pollyanna Rondon, the naturalist among the family, tells me about the reality of living in a wetland.
The water will reach about 1.
5 metres high.
Really? So where we are here, it would be up to about there.
In the wet season.
We would never do walking here! Just the top of my hat would be sticking out! They are ducks.
Over there, those big Are they the jab Jabiru.
Jabiru stork.
They're the big There's a couple of Jabiru stork.
They are dating already.
Are they? They are.
They are normally in couples.
They live together.
And over there we also have some aigrettes.
And we also have some ibis, over there.
We call quiticaca in Portuguese.
The names in Portuguese are related to the sound they produce.
This bird makes something like, "Quiticaca! Quiticaca!" Right.
I know the pentivi? That's a bird, isn't it? Yes.
How does it go? Pentivi! Pentivi! Pentivi! Yeah.
'Lunch with Pollyanna and her father-in-law 'is a simple affair of two pigs and a half a calf.
' Just to get an idea of the scale, the Pantanal is big, isn't it? It's an enormous area.
They say we are the size of Holland and Belgium together.
Holland and Belgium? Belgium's always dragged in as a country to measure size by! Holland AND Belgium! That's a tricky one! 'Guillerme Rondon is a descendant of the great Brazilian explorer, 'Colonel Candido Rondon, 'the first man to map and settle the Pantanal.
' This idea of Brazilian - what is Brazilian and all that.
Being a Pantanero, is something which is more important than being a Brazilian? Or is it You answer this! Yes.
Yes, because it's It comes from the soul.
Comes from the soul.
Yes, something you feel.
I see this.
Like Espacion who was serving the meat for us.
He's proud of being a Pantanal man.
Much more he would say that than a Brazilian.
Of course he's happy to be a Brazilian, but he would say, "I am a Pantanal man.
" And be proud of it.
'To see more of this unique wetland, 'I take to the river in the company of another proud Pantanal man, 'my guide, John.
'Pollyanna joked that they don't have big game here, 'only small game.
'But there's some impressively ferocious life on the riverbank.
' So tell me, John, it's a The spectacled or Paraguayan caiman.
It reaches a maximum of three metres.
They rest in the day and hunt at night.
What does it hunt? It hunts mainly fish.
Up to frogs and baby capybara it can swallow whole.
They rest there with their mouth open, do they? Ah, he's moved now.
Opening the mouth is for innards and metabolism.
Regulating the function of the ambience.
Sorry! Now here's something else I've never seen on safari before.
A capybara.
It's the largest rodent in the world.
Seems oddly embarrassed about the fact! Tell me about the capybara.
The capybara is the biggest rodent of the world.
That is the male which reaches about 65 to 70 kilograms.
Do they live on land or in the water? They spend some time on the land and in the water.
They're easy prey for puma and jaguar.
And jaguar, right.
And you said caiman can also eat them.
The caimans eat the baby ones.
Eat the babies, yes.
It can swallow whole.
Their self-defence is to jump in the water if it's scared of something.
As the day wears on, John finds a spot for some quiet fishing.
It's what he's trying to catch that worries me slightly.
You're catching piranha? Catching piranha, yes.
Let it go down.
Like this.
Short and fast.
OK? Yep.
'I'm not a natural fisherman.
'But the thought that I might bring to the surface 'something that could strip the flesh from my bones in seconds 'makes me more than usually nervous.
' Yes, that's good.
Work the fish.
Work the fish as well, please.
Escaped it.
John's refusal to let me give up strengthens my determination.
This is my Moby Dick moment.
It's him or me! Ahh! Almost.
Almost! I can feel it eating.
I can feel it nibbling.
If you have a long bite, just pull it up strong.
Pull up, not Wait, wait! Ooh! Wa-hey! This has become dangerous! Well, we got one! 'OK, I nearly took John's eye out, 'but at least I've seen a piranha.
'And where there's one, there must be others.
' OK.
Then, quite suddenly, the struggle is over.
May I help you? Yep.
So hold like this.
You can take it off.
Take it off and hold like this.
Yes, John.
Sorry, old mate.
Nothing against you personally.
This kind is a Is this a Yellow piranha.
This kind is a cannibal.
This kind is a cannibal piranha? Hmm.
So it obviously thought this was another piranha.
Ooh, very sharp teeth.
Very sharp.
Don't want to get near those.
Let's have a look at it.
His teeth are worth a look.
Just introduce him to the viewers.
So he's a cannibal piranha and that's the old teeth, yes.
That's pretty nasty.
There are some accidents here because this fish is very slippery.
It could suddenly People do not hold and escape the hand and bite.
I'm not going to hold it.
No, absolutely not.
Are you going to make some sashimi with it? Here now? Now? It would be nice now.
Lovely here.
Freshest sashimi you'll ever get! This is John's party-piece.
Five minutes ago, it was swimming around, merrily looking for another Another piranha to eat.
Then disaster struck.
Palin, after 12 false attempts, snatched the little beast from the water and now it's sashimi time.
Just throw that to the caiman.
Caiman! Here you are, caiman.
I don't know what I'm doing to the ecological balance, but there you go.
A beautiful sky, isn't it? Fantastic clouds.
This place is so quiet.
It is, isn't it? After you've spent a few days in Sao Paulo anywhere is quiet! Here we go.
Here we go, a bit of piranha sashimi.
Mmm! It's good.
Very good.
Piranha sashimi at sunset.
Thank you, Brazil.
It's our last day here, and as dusk turns to night, Guillerme serenades us with his own songs of the Pantanal.
I'll be sad to leave the good company and immense restfulness of this place.
But another more epic wetland beckons.
The Iguazu Falls is the biggest waterfall system in the world and perhaps the most sublime of Brazil's natural wonders.
There couldn't be a more memorable place for me to end my journey.
This is where the borders of Brazil touch the borders of Argentina and Paraguay.
All three countries share responsibility for protecting the National Park that surrounds the falls.
Biologist Marina Da Silva came here from Sao Paulo to work on the Brazilian side.
She has to keep close contact with her neighbours.
Over there, that's Argentine, is it? Yes.
That's the Argentine side.
Brazil over there.
How do they all get on, Argentine, Paraguay and Brazil? Is it OK? Quite interesting, you know? We have a very good relationship among these three countries.
Anything you shouldn't talk about to them? About soccer! We are completely Oh, dear.
Deadly rivals! Yeah.
Don't talk about the World Cup! No.
It's impossible.
Are you optimistic for the future of the protection of the environment? Do you think things are going to be different in the next 10 to 15 years? I think so.
I prefer to believe.
Because things are better than seven years when I arrived here.
So I have good reasons to believe.
People, the children, are different.
They think different about them.
The young people are more interested in the environment.
They don't like the behaviour of the parents, for example.
The wrong behaviour about poaching, for example.
So I really believe that things here will be better.
'Marina's view of what lies ahead is encouraging.
'She sees her country not just as a superpower, 'but a superpower with a social and environmental conscience.
'They'll face challenges, but with a new set of priorities.
' OK, waterfall, we defy you! We defy you! The Iguazu Falls seem to symbolise just how much Brazil has of everything.
How this bounty will be used by the next generation will have repercussions far beyond its borders.
Well, I've come to the end of my Brazilian journey, from the border with Venezuela in the north, to the border with Argentina here in the south.
And from what I've seen and heard, it only confirms my initial impressions that Brazil is going to be a very powerful force for the future.
And I think they know it, too.
There's a sense of optimism, a feeling that it's a good time to be Brazilian.
There are many problems here, but there's also a remarkable sense of tolerance and harmony and simple enjoyment of life.
Not bad qualities for a potential super-power!