On the Road to Tierra Del Fuego

On the Road to Tierra Del Fuego

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An exuberant story of a college boy who busts out of humdrum routine to see the world. He learns to live by his wits on the road for six months back in the 1960s, getting into every kind of scrape--and makes it home in one piece. Parmenter, the author, is inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957). But Parmenter buries Jack, who only got as far south as Mexico City. Parmenter hitchhikes from Southern California to Tierra del Fuego, the farthest tip of South America and back. Later on came the movie, Motorcycle Diaries. based on Che Guevara's South American travels. Again, no contest. Parmenter goes by foot, horsecart, car, truck, bus, boat, hydrofoil and airplane and sees so much more than Che did: Los Angeles, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and back. Parmenter is the brash avant-garde of the backpacker movement, traveling with a heavy suitcase and a map, without any precedents to rely on. It was years later that the backbackers came on the scene with their budget itineraries laid out in cheap and comprehensive travel guides. Among the highlights are snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta, the monuments of Mexico City, the ruins of Antigua, Guatemala, seeing Costa Rica's Irazu Volcano up close belching toxic smoke and viewing the Panama Canal. Parmenter goes skindiving off Cabo Blanco, Peru, visits the Inca's Machu Picchu, tries to climb Mt. Misti near Arequipa, visits the Basilica of the Black Virgin at Lake Titicaca, goes by boat through the Chilean fjords and makes it to Ushuaia, Argentina at the southern tip of South America in Tierra del Fuego. On the road north, Parmenter visits IguaAsu Falls on his twenty-first birthday, swims at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, attends a Day of the Dead ceremony at a Peruvian village, rides a riverboat in the Amazon, takes the hallucinogenic drug ayahuasca in Iquitos, Peru, visits Kingston, Jamaica's seedy nightlife, and rides the bus from New Orleans back to Los Angeles. Parmenter grows in worldly experience and develops a skepticism of American foreign policy in Latin America, and the role of the Peace Corps, though he is not above spending the night as a guest of its volunteers. He sleeps wherever he can, with the guardia civil, in firestations, military barracks, infirmaries, on benches, with truckers, in gas stations and cheap hotels. The viewpoint reflects that of the working class milieu Parmenter associates with, truck drivers, hotel clerks, market ladies, and the spectrum of people he meets along the road. The 307-page book is a riveting read with 22 chapters with 89 maps and photos from the period, that puts the reader on the scene. Based on a 419-page journal written during the trip and buttressed with contemporary scholarship, this is an exciting historical document. A Whitmanesque Song of the Open Road, the fast-paced narrative sweeps the reader along on Parmenter's adventures. And Parmenter flies like a bird singing his infectious song of liberation and personal freedom.Based on a 419-page journal written during the trip and buttressed with contemporary scholarship, this is an exciting historical document.

Title:On the Road to Tierra Del Fuego
Author:William Parmenter
Publisher:CreateSpace - 2014-08-13


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