A friend of mine named John Higham wrote a book about a 365-day journey around the world he took with his family that will be coming out in 2009 called 360 Degrees Longitude. He had a wild set of adventures, mostly good, many challenging, none catastrophic, and he tells a great story.
One that stuck with me was his madcap crossing of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, with a guide who knew what he was doing, sort of. Salt water gets into everything, is hell on engines, and getting stranded in a jeep fully laden with food but no fuel to cook it looks like a dead certainty.
And then things get worse.
But to find out what happens we’ll all have to wait to get the book. Meanwhile, Patrick Symmes covers Bolivia and its current political struggles in a story published recently in The New York Times Magazine. He captures how the country can continually feel like it’s coming apart at the seams only to happily revert to business as usual. And even though it’s a hard country to travel in (it’s famous for “the world’s most dangerous road,” has the world’s highest capital in La Paz, soaring volcanoes, and tropical Amazon jungles) it’s manageable and worth the effort.
Just ask John Higham. He’ll be happy to tell you.