As I write this, I'm looking at the brand-spankin' new Lonely Planets
on Central and South America. I'm fighting through a book on the
crusades, so I haven't gotten to them yet. As such, I'm a little
thin on knowledge of the rest of the western hemisphere.
There is one interesting part of Central America that
I'm looking forward to finding my way through or, more likely, around
or over. They call it the Darien Gap. The Pan-American Highway runs
from Alaska to Tiera del Fuego at the tip of Chile... except for
where it peters out in 54 miles of rain forest between Panama and
Colombia. How cool would it be if the solution were to backpack
those 54 miles. Unfortunately there are insurgent groups and drug
traffickers who hang out in those parts and apparently they really
like taking tourists hostage. So barring flying over the Gap, there's
the possibility of taking a series of boats around the eastern edge
of it. Lonely Planet says it takes two weeks or more. If I find
out it's somewhat safe, it sounds like fun.
The problem, though, is that Colombia is getting even
more dangerous. As the new president tries to crack down on the
rebels, there seems to be more kidnapping, bombings, and general
violence. I may end up flying Panama to Ecuador.
Once loose in South America, there's a bit of a problem. It's the
rainy season. There are conflicting reports on whether that's a
problem or not, but I'm not gonna worry too much about it. It's
then or never, so I'll enjoy what I can and be content. Even if
a little muddy, the mountains of Peru and Bolivia sound like a great
place to start, including La Paz, the highest capital city in the
world. Then if there's time, south through Chile and Argentina to
Tiera del Fuego, the bottom of the inhabited world.
Some of the cheapest flights to Africa and Europe
seem to be from Buenos Aires, so that could be my last stop in South
Some highlights I look forward to in the Americas:
Being completely lost amid 20 million people in Mexico City