"Cheap Alternative to Bus, ma'am?"

"Cheap Alternative to Bus, ma'am?"

Eduardo, however, is freaking out …and with good reason. You see, he grew up in Mexico City where robberies and kidnappings were rife, so the first thing he thinks when he sees the empty backpacks is “Twelve People have been shot and dumped out on the highway and w’re next.” Trying to allay his fears is going to be tough, if not impossible.

A Night in a Central American Brothel

A Night in a Central American Brothel

Our bus had not only left the Nicaraguan border late (what border guard doesn't like his siesta?) but had made two long stops because of engine problems.  We finally rocked up in the capital at almost 10pm. It was late, we were hungry and exhausted, and the last bus to get us to La Ceiba had long since departed.  We needed to bed down...

Murder Most Foul - Shady Dealings in the Guatemalan Jungle

Murder Most Foul - Shady Dealings in the Guatemalan Jungle

We took trips out to local caves, led by Mike, who knew the area like the back of his hand.  Communal meals were served  every night, and there was no typical guest either.  From young backpackers to middle-aged couples and retirees with a sense of adventure, you never knew who you'd end up sitting next to.  The only thing you were assured of was engaging company...

A Close Shave at a Crater's Edge

A Close Shave at a Crater's Edge

At 2am the following morning, we stumbled, bleary-eyed from our beds, dressed warmly then drank scalding hot tea to fortify ourselves.  Soon we’d been dropped off at the path and the nine of us began walking, in silence, surgical masks over our faces to avoid swallowing ash. It was freezing and as we trekked on, I could feel myself making considerably more effort to breathe.  No surprise of course - Mount Bromo stood at 2,292 metres... 

Canoeing with Hippos and a Touch of Malaria...Part II

Canoeing with Hippos and a Touch of Malaria...Part II

Putting my hand to my forehead, I knew I was burning up. After a long drink of cold water, I crawled under my net and into my sleeping bag, telling myself I was just overtired and needed nothing more than a good night’s sleep.  Only a few hours later, I awoke to find myself drenched in sweat. Crying out in my sleep, the woman sharing my tent had woken up and switched on her torch, only to find me semi- delirious and running a fever of 40 degrees...

Canoeing with Hippos and a Touch of Malaria...Part I

Canoeing with Hippos and a Touch of Malaria...Part I

I’d trekked around the area, seen all kinds of unusual flora and fauna. and taken an early morning jeep drive, out in the bush, which had been spectacular. And, fearlessly, that morning, I’d canoed down the river, for over 2 hours, and found myself almost hysterical with delight when I spied a huge group of hippos not a few metres from my boat, lounging on the river banks and two or three 90% immersed in the water...

A Brush with the African Police Part III

A Brush with the African Police Part III

The detective motioned to two of his men and without a word they grabbed me, one by each arm.
“You, madam, are going to a side room.”
Gripping me tightly, I was walked down a long, narrow corridor, at the bottom of which was a door with bars.  Sick with anticipation, I willed them to keep walking on.  They stopped, and one unlocked the door.  With a rough shove, the other pushed me inside.  It was a cell...

A Brush with the African Police Part II

A Brush with the African Police Part II

No-one said a word to me.  I wondered how many times this had happened before, and cursed myself once more for having travelled alone.  No-one knew where I was…I hadn’t used email for over a week, and hadn’t placed a single call to Europe in over a month and a half.  My parents were used to these trips of mine, as were my friends.  I’d chosen to travel incognito and now I was paying the price.

A Brush with the African Police Part I

A Brush with the African Police Part I

As I sat on the hard wooden bench, sticky and dehydrated from the heat and hot air blowing my way, I forced myself to face the unfortunate facts.  However it had happened, I was in trouble.  Zanzibar was semi-autonomous from Tanzania.  There was no way – even if I could borrow the money for another boat ticket – that the authorities would let me leave without my passport.  And all I had on me now was close to $20...