Judy Bailey on Intrepid Journeys

7:30pm Friday, September 11 on TV One

Judy Bailey was a polished professional in her 30-year career in front of the cameras, but when signing on for an Intrepid Journey to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, it was the thought of being back on screen that unnerved her most.

“We newsreaders hide behind a performance so that you’re not really yourself, but when you do a trip like this, it’s all you. And for a shy person, that’s quite demanding,” Bailey explains.

Tonight, Intrepid Journeys (at 7.30pm on TV ONE) follows Bailey on her South American adventure, travelling massive miles overland, and trekking in the hottest weather Brazil had seen in 32 years – all adding to the challenge. “To think I even thought of taking make-up on the trip,” laughs Bailey.

However, she soon forgot her nerves and the two week trip saw her enjoying a spirited local football game; working hard as a ranch-hand; and spending time in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.

“Behind the infamy for drugs, guns, and crime, the slums are just places where poor people are getting on with their lives. There is that real division between wealth and poverty – it’s so stark in Rio. You’ve got these amazing five star hotels right next-door to a Favela, the local slum.”

Experiencing the culture and traditions of three countries meant there wasn’t a lot of time for sitting down. Bailey admits to trampling on a lovely man who volunteered to tango with her in Buenos Aires, and when a helpful Brazilian offered to teach her an ancient fighting dance called Capoeira, she wasn’t about to turn him down.

“It’s what the slaves brought with them from Africa. On the plantations, Capoeira was banned. To befuddle the plantation owners, the slaves were to turn their martial arts into a dance, and that is where Capoeira came from,” she explains.

Between dances, eight-hour bus rides, or treks in the jungle, Bailey didn’t really get a chance to catch her breath, but that was part of what had her sold on South America, she says.

“One of the things I’ve really loved about the places I visited on this trip is that vibrancy and passion for life – that zest for life that people seem to have, and they’re not afraid to show it. I think we could learn a lot from this lovely Latin, free-wheeling spirit.”

Watch Intrepid Journeys tonight and follow Bailey as she takes in the famous Iguazu Falls and lives life as a ‘Gaucho’ cowgirl on a Uruguayan ranch, as well as getting up close and personal with a fly blown sheep. Somewhere along the way, she even settles a long-standing Argentina-Uruguay Beef Controversy.

Also still to come in this series: Musician Anika Moa invites herself to a Guatemalan wedding; and Dancing With The Stars judge, Brendan Cole, hot-foots it to Vanuatu where he finds the facilities and hygiene not at all to his liking.

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