Walking The Amazon Review: Dodging Death (& False Penises)

WALKING THE AMAZON: Wednesday 2nd February, Discovery Channel, 10pm ALERT ME

I’m just going to come out and say it: Ed Stafford, ex-army captain and explorer is absolutely mental. Completely and utterly off his rocker. Left by his friend and guide part way through their quest to become the first people to walk the entire length of the Amazon river (some 7,000 kilometres), he decides to carry on regardless by himself.

Picking up local guides along the way, Ed resorts to hiring armed guards while walking through a notoriously violent drug smuggling area named the Red Zone. Now I don’t know about you, but if I were to have buckets full of cement-filled water thrown at me while being threatened with my life, I’d probably call it quits. You know; “it’s been a hoot and all, but I think I’m just gonna go home and watch someone do this on telly.”

But not so Ed; this real life action hero described by his trek friend as “the biggest cock in the world and just self-obsessed, narcissistic, selfish [and] non-thinkingâ€? (a possible reason for why he left the expedition then…), is determined to make it through and prove all of his doubters (many whom pass him and shout optimistic messages such as “you’re going to dieâ€?) wrong.

Along the way, he eats spider monkey (which is chargrilled before cooking, by literally being plonked onto a fire) and tortoise, dodges electric eels in a flooded forest and is invited to the ‘coming of age’ party of a 15 year old tribe girl. As per tradition, she has been living inside a makeshift enclosure for the two years since she started menstruation. “There’s no windows,” explains Ed. “She gets her food pushed through the door, and she urinates into a bucket. This is the first time she’s been out and seen anybody apart from her immediate family for two yearsâ€?.

The finale involves the men of the village running around wearing huge false penises spouting fake blood, just to “freak her outâ€?. You just couldn’t make this stuff up. But as Ed profoundly sums up: “She’s absolutely trollied. It’s essentially ‘get her completely drunk out of her mind so she won’t be able to remember anything’… So our cultures aren’t really that dissimilar after all.â€?