As night drifts in, I start to feel a little uneasy. We cross a number of checkpoints, and the roads become increasingly in a state of disrepair. I also spot a large fire burning in the distance and judging by how the day began, I’m not feeling particularly relaxed.
I’m grateful when we pull into the little seaside town of Puerto Arista
. We stumble around looking for suitable beds for the night, and eventually find a spot which allows us to park the ambulances securely off the road. When the guys turn in, I sit outside tapping away on my laptop. After an hour or so of working, I hear the chug, chug, chug of a vehicle. As the pimped pick up rolls past, I was thankful to be behind a fence. I make eye contact with one of the three men sitting in the open back. As they drive on, I slip up the side steps of reception, and watch as they 3 point turn and crawl to a stop, exactly opposite where I was sitting.
My heart is beating through my chest and I wonder if they’ve got some secret deal with the guys at the hotel. Some gringos have turned up in two ambulances and we’ve got them locked in here. I Breathe a sigh of relief as they pull away, but in no doubt they were looking for me. After I see the biggest toad I’ve ever seen leaping up the steps to greet me, I decide its best to call it a day.
Another drive day to push through but I feel strangely awake and energised. We need to push down to within striking distance of the border so we get underway. We plan on stopping by the largest tree in the world and a beautiful waterfall, however we miss the exit for the tree, and the waterfall doesn't have any water. I also step into a puddle of disgusting stagnant brine, and fall backwards over a cactus, somehow capturing both on film. It looks like its going to be a great day.