tv The Travel Show BBC News August 27, 2021 1:30am-1:57am BST
instrument of the zydeco sound is the one that evolved from his grandmother's washboard. music continues. this was my grandmother's washing machine. this was her washing machine back in the day. and you hear that rhythm? the buttons on your shirt were making the little sound, and the grandmother was washing clothes at the time, and of course the daddy who was playing says "hey, that thing sounds good, it might fit with the accordion. bring it over here!" she said "you must be out of your mind, this is how i do my laundry". canl? you should try it, man, yes, yes, yes. it is all percussion in zydeco. plays washboard. you have the rhythm going like
this and everything, that's it! that's it. but when you hit the board you lose it. why? i don't know. music continues. the streets are packed, and there's a jubilant atmosphere here. but it has been hard—won. it has taken more than a decade for tourist numbers to recover from the devastation of hurricane katrina in 2005. music has helped the city get its mojo back, and festivals like this are busier than ever. i feel lucky to have a ringside view. when he point that camera to you, i want you to shake your booty like your mama gave it to you. crowd cheers. we are going to send this back
to london and let them know how we do it in new orleans, all right? zydeco music plays. and then after my frankly disastrous ten minute lesson, this happens. slower zydeco music plays. bbc travel here, london, england, y'all. crowd cheers. and the party goes on long into the night, but i have got an early start, and a very long trip ahead of me. music continues. so that was new orleans, in all its flamboyant glory. it is eight in the morning,
and today i'm heading west. thank you so much. and the service i am taking is the sunset limited train line. the route dates back to 1894, and stretches some 2000 miles coast to coast from new 0rlea ns to los angeles, passing through five different us states. an odyssey, really. so this is a route steeped in history, but i am hoping it's also going to tell me something about contemporary america, too. right up the stairs. thank you. back in the day, several railroad franchises joined up to create this pan—american rail network.
and along the route, significant landmarks, historical and natural, reveal themselves to passengers. this is a view of the mississippi river on huey p long bridge. we are right in the middle of two lanes of traffic, which is a weird feeling. it gets rocky, doesn't it sometimes? one of the tricks with moving down the train is to keep your feet about shoulder width apart, and keep one hand free so you can touch things as you are going through, whether it is the back of the seats, or we have the grab irons which you can use. have you ever fallen on a customer? yes. laughs. good morning ladies and gentlemen, our next station stop will be new iberia approxiately 30 minutes. train supervisor bruce is a veteran of the sunset
limited line. the railroad was what granted the united states. it opened up transportation from east to west and that was the big thing, was transportation of both goods and people. the train might have been instrumental in the creation of modern—day america, but today rail use is way below that of air and road travel, which are often cheaper and quicker. so why would anyone take the train? you have areas that you basically don't have planes flying into it, you don't have greyhound buses going to — so these isolated places in texas especially and new mexico, this is the lifeblood to get transportation through. every trip is unique. it's a moving city. you have people giving birth, you have people... that's happened ? oh yeah. 0n the train.
sometimes we are an hour away from civilisation and babies don't wait. laughs. they cheer. 0n we roll as we cross into texas and are joined by a group of train buffs on a day trip. so you are mostly here because of these two? yes, he saw thomas the train one time when he was about two years old, and since then he has been all about trains. join the club! laughs. i actually have a couple of 1/8 scale amtrak cars, and since i got them i thought they looked so good, that i was waiting for a long time to ride on amtrak, and i was thinking it was like, time to hit the tracks. some people don't get into the smaller areas, the smaller towns, so by going
through the back areas, you have an opportunity to expand the mind, because once the mind expands it can never return to its original dimension. my next stop is the city of san antonio. but not before the sunset limited lives up to its name. san antonio is a modern, prosperous city. in fact now it is america's seventh largest. it is very cosmopolitan, and in many ways not stereotypically texa n. but it has one historical attraction which gets to the very heart of what it
means to be american, and more especially, texan. this is the alamo, a legendary site in us history, where in 1836 a small group of troops fighting for texan independence were laid siege by a much larger mexican army. the texan forces held out for 13 days before they were overwhelmed and killed. dr winders, bruce, how are you? but historian bruce says it would be simplistic to see it as baddie mexicans versus goodie americans. this is a story about people. this is a story about two nations, this is a story about the idea of — what should government be like? it's really the convergence of mexican history and us history.
the battle became a symbol of historic resistance, and the struggle for independence, which the texans won later that year. company, prepare to load �*em 12 times. ready? load! today, the alamo is one of the state's top tourist attractions, and re—enactors help visitors make sense of its complex past. fire! rifle fire. applause. so, i've been talked into having the full alamo experience, here. but, ryan, tell me... yep. ..there is a point of this, isn't there? right. this living history. absolutely.
so as people come in here, and they can see how we would have cooked coffee, how we would cook meat over the fire, the kind of foods that we would have had here. parched corn and beef was the food they had to eat during the battle. and so what we try to do is just let people in on that side of history, give them — kind of a taste, the same emotional experience. what do you think was the mood of the people who were in this situation, waiting, in a sense, for the mexicans to come? this was home for them. this was the chance for a new life. and so in that, they were willing to fight for something greater than themselves — which is kind of that, in — in my view, that's kind of the amazing feeling you get any battlefield site. this epic fight for freedom from mexico might be part of the folklore of san antonio, but hispanic influence is also a huge part of the city's current identity.
we're only two and a half hours' drive from the border, and contemporary mexicana is celebrated here, like loteria. when you win, what do we say? loteria! what don't we say? bingo! alright. bingo. so, if you say bingo, i — i won't hear it. we don't use that b word. you say loteria. alright? does anybody else have any questions? you join a team, put the t—shirt on, and realise this is about family, community — and winning. el diablo. el diablo — the devil. you've got the devil. the devil. next card, el venado — the deer. el venado. i think you had it. there it is. did i? oh yeah, el venado — the deer! excellent. el melon. el melon! the cantaloupe. you — you —
you've got the melon. i haven't got the melon. 0h, we got loteria over here! let's check it. 0h, someone�*s won already! yes, you got a winner. congratulations. applause. alright, now. new game. we all know loteria. it's important to us because my grandmother didn't know english. i didn't know spanish growing up. i wasn't taught spanish all that much. i was taught tex—mex. so playing with my grandma, it gave us quality time together, because we were both learning. she didn't know english, i didn't know spanish. so right there we had a connection during the game. hola, hello everyone. i'm from london. i'm going to bring you luck. ok? you ready for this? i'm going to bring you all luck. how's my team doing? very good! el barril — the barrel! how we doing out there? anyone close? anyone close to winning? loteria! we have loteria! are you sure? seguro? ok. applause. let him know he did good, this is his first time playing! right? yourfirst time?
yeah, yeah, first time. his very first time playing. so let's — maybe let's let him win. what's it like being mexican—american? what's that like? i wouldn't change it. i love being tex—mex. i love being from texas. i'm all about texas. i have a shirt that says "i just lucky legal". which is true, a lot of people are just lucky legal. we're not illegals. you know, our — just because we're darker — it's hot out — it's hot in texas. our ancestors are from there, but we were born here, in the united states — so don't try to send us back somewhere we're not even from. train horn blares. the next day, and a few more stops down the train line, deep into southern texas, and you find yourself even closer to the mexican border — the last frontier, some call it. alpine station is the jumping—off point to one of america's most remote national parks. we drive through a vista
that feels straight out of a western. they call it big bend after a twist in the legendary river here that today separates the usa from mexico — the rio grande. this is the rio grande! welcome to the border! yeah. this year marks the centenary of the foundation of the national park service in the usa. and what a spectacular asset they are. so just to get our geography sorted, erin, where is mexico, where is the usa? so we have mexico over here. there. yeah? texas over here.
yeah? the actual border is the deepest current in the river. this would be the spot where some politicians in the us want to build a border wall. not sure how they'd manage that here. and it's notjust this spectacular border with mexico that makes the park unique. so the chihuahuan desert — the chihuahuan desert extends north into new mexico, but this park definitely contains the biggest chunk of the chihuahuan desert. and then there's the chisos mountains, and you get up in the high mountains and you get different species of animals like black bears, and mountain lions, and trees. so you've got a big diversity in the flora and fauna. seven—one—zero. ranger doing foot patrol in the pantherjunction area.
and there's more to this wild corner of the earth than its incredible diversity of living species. big bend has more dinosaur fossils than any other national park — over 90 different species have been discovered here, dating back 80 million years. this is called a coprolite, which is fossilised dinosaur faecal material. dinosaur poo is what you mean. this is dinosaur poo, that would be correct. wow. and that is fossilised — that stays like that... hard as a rock. ..for millions of — millions of years. wow. that's the first time i've held dinosaur poo. a new exhibit dedicated to the dinosaurs is opening at the park in september. it will include these giant bronze casts of fossils.
this one is a crocodilian. this is deinosuchus riograndensis — we call it the big bendd supercroc. you can see from its size it's a well—named species. i've seen crocodiles today, and they're pretty scary. but this is massive — this is huge. right? with about a six foot long skull, it would have had somewhere around a a0 foot long length for the entire animal. sometimes we find scarring in other fossil bones from deinosuchus teeth. so he literally ate dinosaurs. he ate dinosaurs! incredible, isn't it? the landscape here may have remained unchanged for millennia, but the fact it contains 118 miles of border zone is more relevant today than ever. a hundred years ago, the people in this region — the border wasn't a significant part of daily life, the river was.
so we had families that would live on the united states side with cousins in mexico. there would be crossing, there would be floodplain farming. there would be a multinational community here. because the boundry was not considered to be a significant part of daily life. now we've made it a significant part of our politics. jeanette and i head off to get a high vantage point of the rio grande river and a mexican town across the border. we have a community of boquillas, mexico, over here, which hasjust a couple of hundred people. but beyond that, if we get into the hills over there, that's protected land in mexico. people can legally move between the two countries at an official crossing point in the river. there are also schemes where both sides work together to protect the environment. sometimes they help us out with protecting our resources from wildfire, and sometimes we partner together to remove evasive species, to help make
the entire rio grande a better place. so the first half of my trek across the southern stretch of the usa ends, literally, a stone's throw from mexico. it's wonderfully tranquil here, so it seems kind of odd that this place has found itself at the front line of politics. i'm going to relish my last moments of serenity, because next week i'll be continuing myjourney west, where things start getting strange. you and i have just started something that we can't stop. there is no big "oops" button down here. there's only one problem, right? what was that? we are on this thing, and there's no—one to turn it off. does that mean we are on here, like, forever? well, in theory,
that could happen. hello. it's a mark of how strange a summer it's been when i can tell the truth and say it's been warmer than average for the uk. some of you will look at me like i've gone crazy. the met office say that it's been about a degree warmer than average this summer so far, warmest compared with average in scotland and northern ireland. you know in london and southeast england, even though it has been a little warmer than average, it's been really quite wet and dull this summer. it is at least now dry, but it is still quite dull with all the cloud we've had.
high pressure is close to the uk, keeping things settled friday, the weekend and throughout much of next week. doesn't mean sunny, though, and overnight and into the morning, a lot of cloud will have pushed in from the east. and temperatures will be a little lower than this in the countryside. across scotland, a lot of the cloud will clear during friday, but still keeping some towards the east coast. northern ireland, once any fog patches clear, some sunny spells here. for wales, especially in the west, far southwest of england, for cumbria, some occasional sunshine, perhaps developing more widely through some eastern parts of england on through the afternoon. this wind direction, though, will continue a feed of cloud and breeze into the coast of eastern scotland and northeast england, keeping temperatures down here at around 15, 16 degrees, whereas elsewhere, mainly 17 to 20. a little higher, though, with prolonged sunny spells across western parts. 0vernight and into saturday, areas of cloud, clear spells, down into single figures where you're clear. and by the end of the night
and first thing on saturday, the chance of a few showers running in across southeast england, more especially into kent. so this is how the weekend is shaping up. it is looking, for the most part, dry, barthe chance of that shower towards the far southeast on saturday for a time, variable cloud and some sunny spells around. probably faring quite well for sunny spells during saturday. temperatures, high teens, just a few creeping into the low 20s. a bit of a change for part two of the weekend on sunday. the high pressurejust drifting more towards the northwest, allowing a flow of a little more moist air to run down into scotland, with more widely cloudier skies on sunday, perhaps northern ireland, too, and running in across the eastern side of england, where, still, along that north sea coast, it'll be rather cool in the cloud. but really quite pleasant where you're still getting to see a bit of sunshine.
you are watching bbc news. our top stories this hour: the united states insists the kabul airlift will continue despite two attacks killing 60 people near the airport. an eyewitness described carnage at the scene. the explosion was really powerful. powerful hold on to the water and others on the ground outside. we carry the wounded here and my clothes are completely bloodied.— completely bloodied. president biden praises _ completely bloodied. president biden praises the _ completely bloodied. president biden praises the serviceman l completely bloodied. president| biden praises the serviceman as heroes and vows to track down the perpetrators. we heroes and vows to track down the perpetrators.— the perpetrators. we will not for: ive. the perpetrators. we will not forgive- we _ the perpetrators. we will not forgive. we will _ the perpetrators. we will not forgive. we will not - the perpetrators. we will not forgive. we will not forget. l the perpetrators. we will not l forgive. we will not forget. we will hunt you down and make you pgy- will hunt you down and make you pay. pm will hunt you down and make you pay. an affiliate of the islamic _