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This is how I like to start my cactus trips – uneventful, unlike the start of the Bolivia 2011 adventure. Angie and I met Cliff Thompson at Heathrow Terminal 5, the flight left and arrived on time, we caught the shuttle to the car rental centre and after some discussion picked up our car for the next three weeks, a Ford Escape. ‘Are you sure that this will be large enough?’ the helpful rep asked. After the 10 hour flight we were briefly a soft option and agreed to upgrade to the similarly sounding, but alledgedly larger and more powerful (and US$ 300 more expensive) Ford Explorer. As we walked to the row of cars from which we could select our home for the next 20 days, we spotted a Ford Escape on the way. Seeing it in the flesh (? – metal!) confirmed that this was the same model that I had used last year and that was plenty spacious and powerful, so back to the desk we went, where the rep was bitterly disappointed to miss out on his upgrade bonus.

After some searching for Motel 6 near the airport – my SatNav was buried deep in my luggage – we arrived to find Eunice and Bosco already safely installed in their room on the ground floor.

We had some pizza delivered and I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.

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