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29 September 2012 / leggypeggy

Meet Sponge Bob

Lunch on Sponge Bob

Sammy organises lunch, which is provided on long-drive days.

These days Sponge Bob and our tent are home sweet home.

Sponge Bob is a bright golden yellow Scania truck that is ferrying us around South America for the next three months. We started two weeks ago in Ecuador and are now in Peru for almost a month.

At the moment, there are 14 passengers, plus a driver and guide—Colin and Sammy. Eight more passengers join us in Lima, so 22 of our 24 seats in the back will be full. Speaking of the seats. Eight face forward and the rest face into the centre. Our backpacks are in lockers under our seats. And we have seatbelts.

Apparently Bob got his name because he’s square-ish and yellow. He seems quite happy carrying the load. He’s 12 years old, 3.8 metres tall and about 10 metres long. He’s a beefy fellow too—along with our gear and us, Bob weighs in at about 16 tons.

We’re so blessed to have Colin and Sammy as our crew. They did their first overland trip in Africa—as passengers—in 2009. Now they’re a couple and on they’re umpteenth, but last, overland as crew.

Inside Sponge Bob

Inside Sponge Bob—at the front

Sammy is our great organiser. I hope she’s finding us a little easier to control than trying to keep kittens in a box. She speaks Spanish and a swag of other languages, so is a perfect support system in the markets and other places.

Poor John and I are the old folks on the trip, but feel totally at home. There are four Australians, one Korean and nine Brits. Everyone has entered into the spirit of communal living, so it’s all smooth sailing. Actually it’s rather bouncy in the back, but you know what I mean.

The tents—ours is tagged Ocelot 8—are my old favourites from South Africa. They’re Campmors. They’re spacious, water and mozzie-proof, sturdy, very easy to put up and you can almost stand up in them. We used the same kind on our African overland. The current ones have slightly different zippers, so should last longer. We hope!

This week we have about five nights in our tents. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain. It’s a total pain to pack away a wet tent.

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