Saturday, 24 May 2014

Panama City to Rio de Janeiro: Jason Smart (Panama, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay)

From the grime of Asuncion to the tango houses of Buenos Aires, Jason Smart and his wife travel through the vast continent of South America on an eye-opening adventure. Beginning in Panama City and ending in Rio de Janeiro, they try to see as much as they can without succumbing to altitude sickness or over indulging in prime steak.

The pair seek out a sloth amid the skyscrapers of Panama City, then head to Machu Picchu to see the Lost City of the Incas. Travelling by bus to Lake Titicaca, they cross the border into Bolivia, where they witness a strange spectacle known as the Blessing of the Automobiles. Next, they head to La Paz to see llama foetuses for sale in the Witches' Market.

Panama City to Rio de Janeiro is a travelogue covering seven countries in South America. Join Jason Smart in Panama, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay
, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

This may not be the best or the most detailed travel book I have read, but along with author Jason Smart's other works, this presented an excellent opportunity to cover 5 more countries in a short space of time. Like the first book I read about his travels through the Balkans, this presented a whistle stop tour around some of South America's gems with Smart and his wife spending in most cases no more than 2 days in the countries they visited.  

As with the first book, Smart and his wife embark on a multitude of adventures, experiencing snippets of the countries they visit - highlights include Machu Pichu, Lake Titicaca and the aforementioned Witches Market. Lowlights (for me) were the preponderance of beef (South America is not veggie friendly),  Paraguay and well, altitude sickness. What more can I say. As a short read, this is a great introduction to travel writing and the countries visited, but don't expect to come away knowing these places inside out.

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