Bored of Western living, a 30-something journalist spends three years in his dream continent in search of laughs, language skills, and by-lines, while seeking to satisfy his own wanderlust.

Seduced and confused by the customs, creatures and culture of this multi-rhythmic region, he travels restlessly far and wide over mountains, jungles and pampas from his bases in Quito, Bogotá, and Buenos Aires to make sense of the weird and wonderful modern world of Latin America, while examining the shadowy forces and bloody events of its past.

With a cast of Shamans, drug-traffickers, toothless prostitutes, dangerous divers, cynical exiles, evil mimes, authentic travellers, and sinister oilmen, he blunders, investigates, experiments and philosophises with the kind of mixed results his mother might describe as ‘character building’.

Aided by photographs and surreal illustrations, he paints a vivid personalised picture of the lands that brought us the Inca and the Aztec, the condor and the jaguar, salsa and samba, and a whole new concept of time-keeping.

‘We entered Mexico on our hands and knees. We scrambled up a slippery bank under the barrels of guns wielded by stony-faced soldiers glaring down from the ridge.’