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Rob Sullivan

To Bruce and the Amazon

Posted from: Belem

We've done it. We've reached the port of Belem, the gateway of the Amazon, where the mighty river finally meets the Atlantic Ocean. There was a great atmosphere on the boat as we pulled into port at sunrise. Everyone's thoughts are naturally turning towards home, and despite the weeks of exhaustion there's a lovely light feeling in the air.

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Rob Sullivan

Sailing the Home Straight

Posted from: The Castelo Guedes, sailing east from Santerem

We're back on the Amazon on the final leg of the journey. Yesterday we left the Kayapo village of Krinu where we've been staying for the last week and it was an amazing feeling to know that from here on in we're all on the way was quite emotional bumping along the dusty airstrip waving to the Kayapo who came out en masse to say goodbye.

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Rob Sullivan

Kayapo Cures

Posted from: Krinu

We're on the final main shoot of the series, staying with the Kayapo Indigenous People on their reserve in the south of Para state. They are proud warriors yet at the same time very gentle hosts, and have given us a very warm and traditional welcome.

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Rob Sullivan

A Cry for War

Posted from: Altamira

There's a real buzz around town at the moment. One thousand indigenous Indians have just arrived on a fleet of beaten-up buses for a massive protest against a proposed dam on the Xingu River. It's amazing to see all the warriors in full tribal costume hanging around town. Both men and women carry machetes or clubs, and as we discovered on the first day of the protest they are not afraid to use them.

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Rob Sullivan

Rodeo Retail

Posted from: Altamira

We've just spent two weeks filming in Altamira, a cattle and logging town on the Xingu river. The day before leaving we had the afternoon off and we set out on a group shopping trip, making an instant beeline for the best cowboy shop in town. The shop had a full size plastic horse on the pavement outside and inside was packed from floor to ceiling with everything you need for life out on the range. The shelves were brimming with stirrups, spurs, lassos, saddlebags, chaps, boots, hats and buckles and the whole place had a comforting smell of dust, leather and polish.

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Rob Sullivan

Gunpoint Land Grab

Posted from: Altamira

We are filming in an area called The Middle Land in the Brazilian state of Para, a lawless frontier zone where the battle for the Amazon is at its most intense. Land-grabbing is rife here: false documents, intimidation and violence are the methods used by the land-grabbers, who force communities off their land at gunpoint and lay claim to their territory. The winners in this conflict are some of the wealthiest landowners in the world, pulling shadowy strings behind the gangs of 'pistolieros'. The losers are the forgotten poor, thrown off their land, ending up in slums on the outskirts of towns and cities.

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Rob Sullivan

Fear, Crime and Ginger Tea

Posted from: 2 hours drive from Altamira

We had an amazing day's filming yesterday. We flew by helicopter over the forest with IBAMA, the Brazilian environment police, looking for evidence of illegal logging activity from the air. Forty minutes after take-off we were staring down at a beautiful tract of pristine rainforest, chequered with large rectangular clearings where illegal loggers had plundered mahogany and other protected hardwoods. Dirt tracks cut gashes through the landscape, leading down to the Xingu River where the logs were shipped out to be milled and planked for export.

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Rob Sullivan

Bucking Bronco

Posted from: Altamira

We are in cattle country. In this part of Brazil, vast areas of rainforest are being cleared to make way for cattle pasture, as thousands of entrepreneurs flood into the area taking advantage of cheap land and good rainfall to make very healthy profits. The cattle industry is booming here, making Brazil the biggest exporter of beef in the world.

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Matt Norman

The Marubo Shaman Ceremony

Posted from: Parana
An amazing sunset disappeared behind the longhouse while inside a night of Marubo line dancing was just kicking off. Philippe informed Rob that Robson the shaman was to later use his shaman powers to treat a young boy who was very ill, so we made ready our equipment for what could be an interesting evening.

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Rob Sullivan

The Sting of the Tucandeira Ant

Posted from: Parana
The tucandeira ant ceremony is an ancient ritual designed to test the strength of the young warriors of the tribe. The Marubo believe that enduring the searing pain of the ant sting makes you a stronger person and a better warrior.

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Rob Sullivan

A Historical Moment from Mid-air...

Posted from: Tabatinga*

Today has been one of the most extraordinary days of my whole life. We took a flight over Vale do Javari, a vast reserve set up to protect the territory of the indigenous tribes of this area. It's one of the world's last remaining true tracts of wilderness, and conjures up everything you imagine when you think of the Amazon: a vast sea of green stretched out beneath us, with occasional tiny settlements dotted throughout the landscape. It's home to the highest concentration of uncontacted groups in the world - with a known population of just under 4,000 people occupying an area the size of Portugal.

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Rob Sullivan

Cross-dressing for beginners

Posted from: Benjamin Constant
All the crew are feeling very hungover again today after a fourth night of heavy drinking and dancing at carnival. The Brazilians certainly know how to party, and I'm proud to say we’ve been holding our own and keeping up rather well. We’re in a small logging town called Benjamin Constant, on the border of Brazil, Peru and Columbia where they have a long-standing tradition of cross-dressing for carnival.

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