3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Eighteen very entertaining months in South America,
This review is from: How to Walk a Puma: & other things I learned while stumbing around South America (Paperback)
Peter Allison is an animal enthusiast who spent eight years working at an African safari lodge (documented in his two previous books, DON'T RUN, Whatever You Do: My Adventures as a Safari Guide and Don't Look Behind You: True Tales of a Safari Guide. In 2009-2010, he spent 18 months traveling around South America and this book is about his adventures on that continent. They include living naked with an Ecuadorian native tribe, exploring glaciers in Patagonia, near death on an Bolivian river and volunteering at a wildlife shelter where his job required taking a puma for its daily exercise (and frequently being bitten in return). The variety of locations makes it more disjointed than his previous books, but it's just as pleasurable to read.
Allison is a very entertaining and self-deprecating writer, who makes the most of his adventures. The kind of guy you'd love to sit next to on a plane or strike up a conversation with in a pub. I particularly enjoyed the very amusing chapters about his experiences "walking" Roy the puma. He has a very good way of communicating what his travel experience was like, both the highs (invariably involving encounters with local people and wildlife) and lows (brutal illnesses, bull ants, lurking caiman crocodiles, tiresome tourists). While ultimately many of the stories amount to "something bad almost happened, but didn't", they are still great fun and well told.
Don't read this book to find out more about individual countries in South America or to gain any particular insight into the continent: instead, read it to be genuinely entertained with occasional laugh out loud moments. If exotic and adventurous travel is not on your 2012 calendar, this is the next best thing.