the far southern tip of South America, surrounded by some of the world's
roughest seas, lies the island of Tierra del Fuego. It's three days
into the new Millennium, and Ian is about to set off on the journey
of a lifetime.
(Please note the paper edition does not contain
After finally tearing himself away
from the delights of Buenos Aires he journeys down through the wild and
spectacular landscape of Patagonia. The journey should have been simple
and direct, but turned out to be neither. Discover, after miles of hostile
landscape, the wonders that lie at the end of this continent: spectacular
mountain scenery and a thriving community of friendly people in the southernmost
city in the world. Then travel back through the diversity of the long,
thin country of Chile where he: goes to painful lengths to hike the mountains
and touch a glacier, gets stranded in the desert, takes an ill-fated journey
across the Andes before ending up on Lake Titicaca where, on an island
that belongs more at the turn of the last Millennium, he gains a fascinating
insight into the life of some Titicaca Indians. Finally end it all off
with an illegal tour of San Pedro prison in La Paz, led by one of the
inmates, Fernando, a drug dealer.
This is the fascinating story of Ian's experiences as a lone backpacker
on a not so lonely journey across South America. There are tales of the
opulent cultures Ian encounters as he makes his way along the East Coast
from Buenos Aires to the southernmost tip of South America and the inestimable
experience of actually being at Tierra del Fuego, the end of the world.
The geographer will enjoy the stories of how Ian experienced and handled
the exotic climates of South America and sometimes found that he was not
dressed for the weather. The historically-minded will relish Ian's deep
insight into the culture and customs of the Titicaca Indians. Hikers will
dig the stories of how Ian tackled the desolate and sometimes perilous
landscape as he moved in to get the closest possible shot of the breathtaking
One of Ian's adventures concerned a planned peaceful hike through the
Chilean mountains. As February constitutes the equivalent of their summer,
it was felt by Ian that a hike in the mountains could be a pleasant experience.
Even the light snow that flitted about did not deter Ian and his travelling
companions as they started up. Upon taking a break after a couple of hours
climbing, Ian noticed to his dismay that the tent pegs and ropes had vanished
from his backpack. There was no way to anchor the tent without them. Ian
had to split from his companions and go back. After about five minutes,
the light snow transformed into a Siberian-style blizzard. What to so
next? Ian's waterproof trousers were in his backpack, which he had hidden
by leaving a marker at the point from which he turned back. With the weather
closing in on him and barely able to make out the trail, Ian's options
were running out. Find out how this damp story concluded.
Learn about a four-day tour across the Bolivian Altiplano in a jeep that
kept breaking down! Even given unreliable transport, a trip to the end
of the salar near the Isla de Pescadores was hard to resist. The reward
was a view of the most amazing sunset in the world. The price to be paid
was a 76-kilometre drive in a jeep that was about as reliable as a Virgin
train. Ian tried to convince his companions that they could make it. But
as the sun set, the jeep spluttered to a stop, not for the first time.
Ian and his companions were still miles from the edge of the salar as
darkness was setting in. The jeep was also starting to hit water. The
driver struggled to make out the tyre tracks. Did they make it or not?
South East Voice, Ireland's Free Newspaper,
29 November 2001
In telling this story Ian brings
many enviable gifts to his task; an ability to tell a multi-faceted story
in a fluid, coherent narrative form; a sardonic wit; an eye for comic
detail and gift for consistently transporting the reader to the heart
of his experiences.
Angela Turnball, Salisbury Journal,
4 April, 2002.
This is a travel book that passes
the ultimate test - you wish you were there too.
Click on a book to read more about it.