Top Gear Goes to Bolivia- Almost Doesn't Come Back

Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Margaret Thatcher
Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Margaret Thatcher

It’s been a bit of a disappointing season so far for Top Gear this fall, but the grand mal tourist episode last night somewhat made up for it. If you don’t have access to the show (say you’re in prison, or are a luddite) here’s a quick recap- Captain Slow, the Hamster  and old-man Jezza were sent to Bolivia to forge the jungle, the incredibly high passes of the Andes, and finally the Pacific dunes which make any other beach look like the Mt Palomar mirror.

May in the Rear, as Always
May in the Rear, as Always

Slogging through the third world is nothing new to the Top Gear team, and doing so on what are likely the worst possible mounts is also par for the course. For their Bolivian trek, each was given a few euros and a copy of the Bolivian Auto Trader. Bought sight-unseen, the purchases didn’t turn out exactly as expected. Clarkson’s Range Rover seemed the most daft, followed by May’s Suzuki Lawsuit. Only Richard’s choice of a Toyota Land Cruiser seemed a logical choice. Sadly for the Japanese, this is a British show, and you  can imagine which truck ended up being the most durable and capable.
Crotch the weed!
Crotch the weed!

Aside from height and bug phobias, what we learn about the three amigos is that they’re all getting pretty damn old, as the altitude has the same effect on the three Brits as it does on their cars- causing them to nearly expire from the lack of four o’clock tea or something. Actually, while Top Gear is as real as pro wrestling or the opposition’s call for bi-partisan discourse, they do a good job of making the drive look dangerous, with frequent cuts to portable GPS devices indicating altitudes hitherto unknown to Europeans, and looming drops beside narrow gravel roads plied by massive busses.
I'm so bloody tired, I can't even come up with a good slight for the Americas.
I'm so bloody tired, I can't even come up with a good slight for the Americas.

In the end, all three of the plucky Brits make it to the Pacifuc, but that can’t be said for their rattly steeds, one of whom falls by the wayside before the trek is over. Unlike the African adventure, there’s no Beetle in tow as punishment for the host who has chosen poorly and has his mount fail completely, as the Land Cruiser does on repeated occasions. Also, unlike the Viet Nam trip, no one eats a snake, despite the opportunity to do so as one has found its way into Hammond’s truck. But, as noted, they all make it out alive, and no wiser, so next week should find them back in Britain being cheeky, driving fast, and once again with the Stig.
Top Gear

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