CRF Blog

Andes

by Bill Hayes

In Andes, travel writer Michael Jacobs tells of his experiences traveling through Latin America’s great mountain range.

From the New York Times Book Review:

One of the most memorable interludes is a story Jacobs can’t resist telling about an earlier visit to Bolivia as the employee of a Cambridge tour company with “serious historical aims.” While he’s guiding a group of scholarly foreigners through the country, the usual political turmoil suddenly turns into a “near revolution.” After successfully escaping a mob of stick-bearing campesinos, revising his bus’s route to avoid a ferry strike and negotiating an unpaved track known locally as “the road of death,” Jacobs deposits his little party in the supposed safety of the city of Sucre. And thousands of miners promptly arrive to demonstrate, setting off sticks of dynamite, which Jacobs (who has spent the previous night trolling karaoke bars) assures his charges are just firecrackers for a fiesta. Lest they notice the tear gas seeping into the hotel lobby, he secludes his trusting tourists in a conference room and subjects them to a marathon lecture on Bolívar’s final campaigns. At last, with his charges securely stowed away for the night, he learns that the government has been toppled and takes a 3 a.m. stroll to celebrate the power shift that would lead to the election of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president. [more]