Brazilians Abroad - Auckland
Full Transcript - Episode 17
A pricey pigeon, a praised physician, a perplexed pontiff and visa renewal problems.
PLUS - Leonardo Magri talks about the importance of minding your Ps and Qs in New Zealand.
J: 5-4-3-2-1 lift-off! Welcome to another edition of The Samba Buzz, São Paulo!
G: Welcome to The Samba Buzz!
J: So, welcome Gee. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. How are you doing?
G: I am doing very well, actually. I...erm...all...I’m all the better to see Donald Trump lose the presidential election. Did you...did you vote in the election?
J: Yes, I did. I voted for Biden, and so I’m...I’m very happy. But...
J: Donald Trump is still technically in office and he’s going through all his legal gyrations...er...to delay the process and it’s not really a good scene for American democracy, right now.
G: It would have been quite interesting to be one of the lawyers for Donald Trump, actually, because...um... how do you defend something where you got no evidence, you know?
J: Well, I think some of their lawyers have started thinking about themselves and the...several of the big firms have dropped...dropped out of the cases, because they saw no possible...er...end to this.
G: Exactly. They didn’t want to be a part of the embarrassment, did they, really?
J: And that’s when, er, Rudy Super-Giuliani stepped in – the star of Borat number 2.
G: I want to see Borat number 2. Borat number 1 was fantastic. So, what have we got in today’s episode?
J: We have several stories in the What Caught My Eye. Wh...where we talk about... The What Caught My Eye.
G: I thought you were Irish for a moment there. ‘What Caught My Eye?’
J: And, we also have Guru.
G: We have Guru. Good.
J: We have the guru, and then we also have some mystery guests. So, tell us a little bit more about these mystery guests.
G: Well, our mystery guest, I’m prepared to bet won’t be coming to the studio because he’s quite far away.
J: Well, how...how far is quite far?
G: Well, 15 hours away, actually, as the...
J: 15 hours. So he’s in Goiania?
G: He’s in, well 15 hours in time zones. So, he’s actually in New Zealand!
J: Now, that is far away.
G: So...um...yes, it’s going to be part of our ‘Brazilians Abroad’ series, and he’s going to be talking to us from New Zealand.
J: Um...yeah, I am very curious. I don’t know much about New Zealand other than...than they have more sheep than humans but let’s hear!
G: Yes. Go New Zealand!
G: Well, I am going to start with a story that takes us back to Belgium.
G: Following on from the success of our...
J: Ooh, that...that was where we had the French fries story, wasn’t it?
G: The French fries, yes. The Belgians are a...a rich source of material, actually. Did you know that Belgium is the heartland of pigeon racing?
J: No, that’s...no. You got me on that one. I didn’t know that.
G: In fact, um, mainland Europe in general...er...pigeon racing is quite a big thing, actually.
J: Well, how do they do it with the pigeons? Do they set up, like, a track in the sky where they just fly round and round? Or how does that work?
G: Er, I really have no idea of how they program the pigeons as to where to fly, but...um...they have got this thing that they kind of say is the equivalent to the Tour De France.
G: But...but for the pigeon races.
J: Oh, my goodness. So how far do these pigeons actually fly in a day?
G: Well, the...um... One of the races...um...that was recently run flies 1000km, and it goes around the Pyrenees. It started in France and then they go around the Pyrenees and they fly back again.
J: Well, how do they know that the pigeons actually go around the Pyrenees?
G: Well, I guess that they must each have a tag and they probably track them by satellite, or something like that.
J: Ok. So, if...if one of the pigeons decides to take a short-cut, and just kind of...er...dive bomb over to the other side...
G: Er...yeah. It’s...it’s a very curious. I...I don’t know all the details, I have to confess, but...um... Do you know how many...how many...um...pigeons compete in a race?
J: No. That’s a good question. I have no idea. Two hundred?
G: Um...fifteen thousand.
J: And how many....how many of them die on the way?
G: Well, it depends whether they’re poisoned before the race or not, actually, because there was...there was...um... There was a scandal, actually, in France, earlier this year where eleven birds were found dead.
J: My goodness.
G: Eleven French birds were found dead the night before the race.
G: And another seven were described as unwell. So...um...there was a lot of suspicion of poisoning. Anyhow, what...what caught my eye this week was there was an auction, and there was a record amount bid for a pigeon.
J: A racing...a racing pigeon?
G: A racing pigeon.
J: A rare racing pigeon.
G: Yes, it broke the record in auction, so...
J: Ok, so...
G: The name of...the name of the pigeon, just to help you, is...er...New Kim. It’s a female, which is unusual, because normally they...um...they bid on the males because with the males, they have more offspring, generally, and therefore they are more productive and you get more...
G: ...like...a bit like horse-racing.
J: She must be really fast, for her to break the...the bid?
G: Yes. So how much do you think the...er...the successful bidder paid for this racing pigeon, New Kim?
J: I’m gonna say €2000.
G: Er...you’re a little bit low on that, actually. Try again.
G: One more go.
G: Er...try €1.6 million.
J: For a f...pigeon!
G: For a pigeon. The previous record was from March 2019, was €1.25 million. On this occasion there was two Chinese bidders who both decided they wanted the pigeon and they got into a bidding war and they forced it all the way up to €1.6 million, which is $1.9 million.
J: €1.6 million for a bird.
G: For a bird – something you’d normally eat in a pie, no?
J: Yes, my goodness.
G: So, never...never eat pigeon pie again. You should breeding those and selling them off.
J: Wow. That’s...
G: She’s...she’s a two-year-old. So, they say that pigeons normally live to be ten. So, they reckon they got eight good years of breeding out of her.
J: So, that’s what? 200,000 a year, more or less you’re paying for?
G: Yeah. Depending on how many birds she produces, she could possibly get...make them money in the long run...
J: Ok. Sure. Sure.
G: ...if some of the others go for something similar.
J: Well, maybe she’ll produce more male offspring, which will give her more...more return? I don’t know.
G: Yes. So...um...
J: My goodness.
G: ...hot news from the pigeon-racing world!
J: Wow, the...the...the things we just don’t know!
G: And you, Jay? What have you got for us this week?
J: Who is Luciana Borio?
G: Luciana Borio? I have never heard of her, I don’t think. And she’s a Brazilian?
J: A Brazilian. Luciana Borio. She comes from Rio de Janeiro. Ok, she’s a doctor and Joe Biden has selected her to be part of his Covid-19 task force in the United States.
J: She has, so...she is...er... She has spent her career, dedicated her...her career to learning about infectious diseases, and she got a lot of publicity when she was working for – I think it’s either the Obama or the Bush administrations and they were fighting Ebola. If you remember – Ebola went to the United States and...
G: They had Ebola in the United States?
J: Yeah, they did. The...there...a couple of doctors died, but they...they...
G: Wow. I didn’t know that.
J: ...they...they nipped it in the bud rather quickly and they say that she was quite helpful in that. So she has...currently she has worked for three United States’ presidents.
J: She’s worked...she’s worked for Bush, Obama and, most recently, Trump. And now she’s going to be transferred...or she’s going to be...er...working with Biden, now also.
G: And she’s a Brazilian. Fantastic.
J: Yeah, anyway, and so her specialty is...she’s setting up the protocols to test the medicines for the Covid-19 and, let’s say, if you look at it from a...a...from, let’s say, a mortality perspective, her Ebola job was much more difficult, because the mortality rate in that was about 50%. The mortality rate with Covid is about 2.5%.
J: Except in the United States, where it is a little bit higher than global.
G: Well, that’s because of the obesity rate, isn’t it?
J: Well, yes. So, she’s got her job cut out for her. So, they...they...they talk about... You’ve heard about super-bugs or super-flu vaccines...
G: Right. Right. Right.
J: ...and things like that. So, she does her work related to that. So, she’s the one... The way I understand it is that you have the head and he’s the one that does, let’s say, the political...with talking to the Press, coordinating with governments, and she’s the specialist going out there, establishing what kind of protocols to do...t...working with drug companies... She’s the one actually doing the work in this case.
G: So, now we have a vaccine, then what will her role be, do you think?
J: I...I...I don’t know. I...I don’t know about that...er...just now but we will try to do a follow up a little bit later and to see how she’s doing. So...
J: ...go Brazil! And you’re fighting...er...Covid in the United States.
G: Exactly. Meanwhile, we have the...the Butantã people, working on the Chinese vaccine, and apparently nobody wants to take that. Nobody trusts this vaccine. Have you heard about this?
J: Yeah, I don’t really trust the Chinese, either.
G: Well, why...why is that? Why do you think people are so suspicious of a vaccine that’s got associations with China, even when it’s been developed with people here in Butantã, the snake people, who are...who are fantastic.
J: Yeah, I...I think there, first of all, there’s a lot of prejudice that...that you talk about. It’s not racial prejudice, you’re talking about national prejudice, in this case.
G: What’s the difference?
J: Well, you’re talking against the Chinese!
G: It’s that national Chinese opera singer, isn’t it?
G: Yes, that’s the one. Yes, that guy. That’s why they don’t like them.
G: Ok. I was...I was just kind of surprised, really cos if it’s gonna save your life, you’d take it, wouldn’t you?
J: Yeah. Except if it...Russia, I definitely wouldn’t trust!
G: Let’s not....let’s not even go there with Russia, no.
J: No, no. An...and imagine if North Korea developed their own vaccine? Come on, seriously! Is anybody going to take a North Korean vaccine for anything?
G: Well, it’s interest...interesting to see where the perception of China is in the world, in terms of, you know...how people perceive...
G: ...the country. They are quite happy to accept the money for infrastructure but they don’t trust them enough to accept their vaccine. So...
J: So, my next story, it is also in the United States but has a Brazilian flavor. It’s related to some of the problems that people have had traveling to the United States. Now, this is a specific case, because for any Brazilian that wants to study in the United States, they need a special visa, like a student visa to go to the United States. And with the Covid crisis, a lot of people are affected because of this – because they have to get the student...er...visa, and, you know, that only has a validity for, typically, one year. Then, you can get it extended for up to 4, I think...I think even 6 years you can extend the student visa.
J: As long as you show that you...you’re, let’s say, studying...er...for important issues in the United States.
J: And, what we have here, are...are a situation with some volleyball players that were asked to come to the United States to receive the...a volleyball scholarship.
J: And they needed to renew their...their, let’s say, their visa. One girl was smart enough to do it in the United States before she came back to Brazil, with the crisis.
J: And the other girl did it here. But the U...US embassy shut down. Basically, anybody that’s studying in the United States and currently in Brazil – they’re having difficulties because the United States...er... embassy...or consulate is not...they’re not processing, basically anything.
J: The US consulate has said that they recognize the severity of the issue, and they will work to correct...to correct any problems that arise because of that.
G: Ok. That’s all well and good then. And the volleyball players may get to the US eventually.
J: Well, yes and that’s in the school’s interest as well, because the school’s in the United States...er...wanted these people to come help with their volleyball teams. Cos that’s...er...the volleyball in the United States – it does generate money for the university – not as much money as college, let’s say, American football...
J: ...but it still does generate some revenue. So, of course, they want to get those people there as soon as possible. And, it’s in...it’s in the university’s own interest. So, Gee, what else do you have for us? I’m curious after that.
G: Um, I have another lady for you, actually. Have you ever heard of...
J: You have a lady for me?
G: Well, a lady to identify.
G: Have you ever heard of Natalia Garibotto?
J: No. I guess she’s a Brazilian but I...I...?
G: She is Brazilian and...
G: Maybe you know her better by her nickname, which is Nata Gata.
J: Nata Gata?
J: This...this sounds like some kind of m...
G: Nata the Hot One. Yes. Um...she’s a model, you might be surprised to hear.
J: A lingerie model?
G: Well, kind of looks like a lingerie model, yes. And she...
J: Kind of looks like a lingerie model? So, I...ok.
G: Anyhow, she obviously did a photoshoot at some point and...um...it must have got posted on her Twitter account...
J: Nata Gata, ok.
G: ...and meanwhile in the Vatican, the Holy See also has a Twitter account.
J: It’s called Nata Gata, also?
G: And no, he...him...he obviously liked what he saw, the Holy See because next to her photo is a like by the Vatican with the Pope! And, of course, this has caused a bit of controversy because there she is – she’s wearing...well, she’s kind of leaning forward against these lock...this locker – an open locker – and she’s wearing basically a skirt that covers merely her waist and white stockings and suspenders. And next to this photo, you’ve got the Pope’s comment, which is...um... “I want to walk with you along the way of God’s mercy and tenderness,” and then the official account, copyright Vatican Media. Anyhow, there’s a lot of embarrassment and they are trying to investigate exactly how this has happened – that he would have liked such a picture on his official site. And, of course, they’re saying, “Well...er...his...his Holiness doesn’t actually manage the site himself. He’s got people who post things for him, and obviously it wasn’t the Pope who actually liked the photo but...”
J: So, it was somebody else who was actually doing that for the Pope? My goodness.
G: So, I...I think this must have done wonders for Natalia’s career. And I’m sure it has propelled her into the spotlight, and she will prosper from now on...on.
J: Hashtag Nata Gata. Liked by the Pope. My goodness.
G: Liked by the pope.
J: My goodness. That’s...that’s a fantastic story. Really made me laugh, that one.
End of Part 1