An educative advantage of writing regular columns for publications in distant countries (an educative advantage for me, that is, not necessarily for the distant countries) is that it encourages me to learn at least a little about them, which I might otherwise not do. I try to make some slight or passing local reference in what I write for them, bearing in mind how easy it is in journalism to appear to know much more than one does.

The latest national beneficiary, or victim, of my technique is Brazil. Recently I retrieved from the recycling bin of my memory the fact that, as a child, I read a book titled Billy Bunter in Brazil, by Frank Richards. It was published in the year of my birth, 1949, and I read it when I was ten. Until I came across Exploration Fawcett a couple of years later, it was my only source of knowledge of Brazil, and...


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