Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tim Vickery in South America

Before Ian Fleming made his name writing the James Bond books, he was eclipsed by older brother Peter, a derring-do adventurer of the type Michael Palin might have been born to satirise. Peter Fleming was part of an eccentric expedition into the Brazilian jungle in the early 1930s, which he wrote about in a book best remembered for its stand out line. "Sao Paulo," he mused, "is like Reading, only much further away" - an observation which does, of course, depend on one's starting point, but which contains an excellent piece of insight. Fleming was kicking against the perception some had in England at the time of Sao Paulo being some Wild West outpost, "the sort of town where tanned and wary men, riding in from great distances, scatter the poultry in the rutted streets and leave their ponies outside the saloon".

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