The old man and the lost cityMay 15, 2017

Expect Hollywood to put a noble spin into the life of Colonel Percy Fawcett, as James Gray's "The Lost City of Z" would show recently. It was an adaptation of James Grann's biography about the British explorer, as the author attempted to retrace Fawcett's steps. Fawcett, and his son, Jack, disappeared in the Amazon jungle on May 29, 1925. If the mysterious fate of father and son would still be buzzing nearly a century later, then it could mean one thing. Everyone wants a piece of adventure. Come to think of it: A week at Bali would be nothing if compared to Fawcett's expedition. Surfing won't generation this kind of high, but there won't be any guarantee that one would come alive. (And Fawcett's case was proof of it.) Spending several months on the road won't get a backpacker close to that fateful May in the dense jungle in Brazil.

Grann's book recaptured the final years of the Age of Exploration, if not a forced extension of that period. It was a perilous undertaking, where greed kept these explorers risking their lives to the elements and the little knowledge of the places they would reach by any means. The New Yorker believed that Fawcett set foot on the Lost City of Z without his being aware of it. He cited ruins, which weren't far from a tribal community of 5,000 native Indians. The way of life, as well as the pottery designs, resembled a striking similarity. There were critics who dismissed Grann's findings, even pointing out that Fawcett's expedition don't have any value at all. If Fawcett himself came out of the jungle, alive and in one piece, then it could have been a different ending.

What was special about this lost city?

Archaeologists have noble intentions of searching for lost cities, even artifacts that would turn certain legends into reality. Hollywood would profit from it, as Fawcett himself inspired George Lucas to create Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford played a professor with thick-rimmed glasses, who would bring his whip and fedora hat whenever he traveled to some parts of the world. Indy was scared of snakes, which he should know better. (Snakes avoid people as much as people, such that these cold-blooded mammals attack humans after provoking them.) Rob MacGregor, who made a name from writing the other adventures of Indiana Jones, did penned a novel about Indy's visit to the Lost City of Z. Red-haired inhabitants lived there, a descendants of the ancient Celts. They were also survivors of the sunken continent of Atlantis. And no visitor could ever leave the place. Everyone knows that Indy has nine lives, though.

A writer like Henry Rider Haggard would wish to write Percy Fawcett's trips instead, its outcome wouldn't change the course of history. As a matter of fact, the Amazon forest remained impregnable up to now. What secrets were buried in that lost city? Michael Crichton might have been tempted to write a novel about it, but chose the rainforest in Congo instead. As for its supposed link to Atlantis, it wouldn't be hard to figure out the obsession of some people (to turn it into reality). There may be present-day natives who have blue eyes or other Caucasian features. They may be the descendants of Jack Fawcett. It could be a wild goose chase, so it may be better to wait for Hollywood to adapt it to the big screen. (In other words, expect another Percy Fawcett film.)

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