Technological Paradise - Crossing the Andes 3/6 - True Story Documentary Channel
(soft music) (birds screeching) - [Stef] Recently, I was on a boat near Tierra del Fuego with an Argentinian fisherman and his silent son-in-law. The three of us ate king crab and drank a beer, even if it was only 10 o'clock in the morning. The fishermen said that was quite normal for Argentinian fishermen.
(speaking Spanish) - [Stef] He told me how happy he was with his life. (speaking Spanish) (soft music) - [Stef] I also got happy and thought how special it was to be sailing here. (peaceful music) Traveling these mountains, I realized that South America is full of contradictions, which makes it hard to get to know this continent.
Everywhere I went, I wondered how South Americans were doing. Here, I wanted to find out how they make a living and what they dream of in this sparsely populated area. (men whistling) (speaking Spanish) (men laughing) (speaking Spanish) (soft music) - [Stef] The fishermen set sail for Ushuaia, the capital of the end of the world. To populate the region Argentina declared it a tax haven to lure big electronics companies. This decision radically changed Ushuaia. I wondered what the economic growth had brought to the town and what the consequences were for the mountains.
Smile, end of the world! - Okay! - [Stef] The taxi dropped me off next to a wooden sign. Are you happy? - One more! - [Stef] Yeah, one more. It's a Ushuaia's main tourist attraction.
Smile, you're at the end of the world. Here you are. - Thank you so much. - Thank you. - [Stef] You came a long way on your bike. You came a long way on your bicycle.
- Bicycle? - You came a long way. (man speaking in Spanish) - [Stef] It was unfair of me to shatter the illusion of a tourist who had taken two months to get here. Before I arrived here, I also had a pretty standard image of this region.
I thought of penguins, vast plains with the odd inhabit. I had also dreamed of that so called end of the world. To shatter my illusions completely, I asked the driver to take me to the southern most factory in the world. (speaking Spanish) (machines whirring) - [Stef] I wanted to know more about the factory workers.
What made them come here, it's far away, cold, the factories are a bit depressing. I was getting increasingly curious about the dreams of these migrants. (upbeat music) (speaking Spanish) - [Stef] I saw this family build a new future and I kind of liked it.
The idea of building your own home. During the week you're working in the factory, weekends are for home improvement. The children either pitch in or watch TV you also assembled yourself, chipboard and corrugated iron with plastic in between, good insulation for snow.
(dog barking) I always thought all Latinos went north in search of the American dream, but the news that Tierra del Fuego was the new land of opportunities has made people move south. Ushuaia's population has doubled over the past five years. Cars were lining up at the only petrol station. You know why, asked the attendant, because the economy is doing so well. Everybody wanted a car. What I thought was an ability to improvise, looks like a destruction of the environment from up high.
The migrant quarter is literally eating away the woods. (speaking Spanish) - [Stef] In the woods nearby, I met a man nicknamed Bata. (speaking Spanish) - [Stef] He told me the local ecosystem was in trouble. The woods he lives in are disappearing rapidly, partly because of the houses of the newcomers, but also because of another feverishly building migrant, the beaver.
(speaking Spanish) (somber piano music) - [Stef] Bata is a real hermit who doesn't say much, if he does, he's hard to understand. He had had enough of the busy town and built a house in the woods. He hunts beavers and sometimes catches 30 a month.
I told him it was noble of him to combat the beaver plague, but that's not why he does it, he told me, it's mostly to satisfy his own belly. (speaking Spanish) - [Stef] When I asked Bata if he had a girlfriend, he talked about natural urges. He didn't have a steady partner, but if you live in the woods by yourself, those natural urges only increase.
For that, he goes to town. (speaking Spanish) (upbeat music) - [Stef] Next to the old harbor where they used to sell crab, a supermarket was built for all newcomers. It nicely illustrates this continent's dilemma, holding onto days gone by versus the progress of the market economy. Here, you can buy yourself a plasma screen that was assembled in Tierra del Fuego. (cheerful music) (speaking Spanish) - [Stef] I thought it was a cliche for an Argentinian to dream about a barbecue, but here that cliche is a tradition that you treated with respect. People were already barbecuing when Charles Darwin arrived here, he was so impressed by the local meat that he wrote the following in his diary, I have turned into a Gaucho, I eat meat, drink Mate and fall asleep in the grass.
(speaking Spanish) - [Stef] Argentina has the biggest migrant community of South America. Does having an association for the preservation of traditions mean that there's no room for other cultures? The chairman of the association told me that was nonsense. He said, come see for yourself what we're about. He added he was the best meat griller of Tierra del Fuego to assure me I wouldn't regret my visit. (speaking Spanish) - [Stef] He said, don't ask why traditions need preserving, ask why not? He said that economic growth and urbanization were crowding out rural traditions. (speaking Spanish) - [Stef] In the past the Gaucho's fought hard for Argentina's future.
He explained that by respecting the past, you're also building a new future. An article in a financial magazine described Latin America as an investor's paradise, the new China. On Tierra Del Fuego all this recent economic growth is still very visible, but I also felt that I had gone 30 years back in time when profit wasn't the be all and end all. It's this nostalgia that politicians keep pandering to during campaigns, the more distant the past, the more beautiful it seems.
No wonder then, that people like to hold onto it. (speaking Spanish) (playful music) - [Stef] Time stood still at the foot of the Andes, maybe that was just as well. (playful music)