BETWEEN A SWAMP AND A HARD PLACE

The Darien Gap (www.darkroastblends.com)
THE DARIEN GAP                                            (Image by http://www.darkroastblends.com)

Aaah, the Darien Gap, that rather large swamp between Panama and Columbia that no road-building civil engineer has yet managed to penetrate, and which is the bane of every overlander travelling the Americas.  If I ever get to do this route again I shall definitely opt for this……

(www.amusingplanet.com)
(Image by http://www.amusingplanet.com)

…so that I don’t have to talk to a shipping agent, who invariably looks like this……

(www.wallsave.com)
(Image by http://www.wallsave.com)
WHY BOTHER WITH A PONCY CONTAINER? (Major John Blashford-Snell and his team crossing the Darien Gap in the 1970s)
WHY BOTHER WITH A PONCY CONTAINER?

In the early 1970’s Major John Blashford-Snell led a team of soldiers, including two Range Rovers, across the Darien Gap. This 250 mile stretch of swamp is known as EL TAPON – The Stopper – but it didn’t stop JBS, so it is possible to drive it…sort of, providing you have a stock of equipment, like chain saws, bridging ladders, rubber boats, a crew of sappers, a few machine-guns, some spare differentials, a helicopter, plenty of beer, and a spare 96 days…which we certainly don’t have, as we have to make a trip back to Europe in the next couple of weeks. Because of the time constraint, and the fact that it is not possible for us to leave the car in Ecuador, we have this great idea to ship it from Guayaquil in Ecuador, across to Balboa in Panama, where we intend parking it for a couple of months whilst we head to Europe. Sounds easy enough, right? It should be, except everyone here in Guayaquil who makes a living from putting things in containers is having a laugh. We’re on our second visit to the town, and our second shipping agent, and each day another expense creeps into the quote. The costs appear to be at least double the Cartagena/Colon crossing. So here’s a piece of advice: anyone considering shipping their vehicle from Guayaquil should think again, as we’re now having to do.

Ah, well. I think I might just go fishing.

??????????

Freight forwarding - a real house of horrors (www.scaryforkids.com)
FREIGHT FORWARDING – A REAL HOUSE OF HORRORS           (Image by http://www.scaryforkids.com)
Advertisements

IS EDWARD SNOWDEN IN BOLIVIA?

After this week’s furore with the Bolivian Presidential jet in Europe, one has to wonder if Edward Snowden, the CIA computer technician currently on the run from the US authorities, might have been on President Morales’ jet all along. I guess at some stage he’s going to need some top legal assistance to bale himself out of the soup.

If he really is here in Bolivia, I think I’ve found him the perfect contact in Calle Rivello, Sucre:

SANTA RITA - LAWYER FOR IMPOSSIBLE CASES
SANTA RITA – LAWYER FOR IMPOSSIBLE CASES

4WD NOT NECESSARY

OBERLAND HOTEL CAR PARK, LA PAZ
OBERLAND HOTEL CAR PARK. LA PAZ

Proof that an all-singing-all-dancing four wheel drive vehicle is not necessary in South America to reach the parts you thought most vehicles could not reach. In their Suzuki van this young French couple and their dog traversed some of the roughest roads and highest peaks in the Andes, places where you might think it imprudent to take a Suzuki van. Incredible! Every day a new surprise.