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Have Jeep Will Travel


Once we got down to second gear, we knew we were in for a long night. Up ahead, about a hundred yards, there was a street lamp shining. But before the decision to push the car to there was made, the bus which had helped us before pulled up again.

“Help,” we pleaded.

Faced with such honed persuasive techniques, the driver decided he could indeed tow us into Puerto Maldonado. We’d got close; within seven kilometres. But the last six were spent ignominiously behind a puffing diesel motor, eyes glued to the cable (a new addition to the car, which I’m so glad we bought in Cusco…) as it flexed and pulled at the back of the big, white bus.

It dropped us off at a mechanics’ on the outskirts of town. Then we remembered it was Labour Day, May 1st. All the mechanics were drunk.

“Yeah, yeah, sure… leave the car with us. Yeah yeah, tomorrow, tranquilo, we’ll fix it… ┬┐Alternador? Claro, claro, si si.”

We managed to get most of stuff out of the back, the spare petrol tank off the roofrack, locks fixed on the cable, bonnet and pedals, and hailed a motokar, the Asian motorised trycles which we proceeded to permanently dent with all our luggage.

We made it to the Hotel Libertador at 8 pm. We’d made it into the jungle. Most people are pleased to leave to it, the Green Hell. I’ve never been so pleased to get anywhere in my life.

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