John Hopkins rescues Madeleine van Breughel from a crowd of angy Arabs, Moroccans, in one of Tangier's seediest neighborhood, they fall in love, Madeleine does not return to her husband and child living in equatorial Africa. They live in Amsterdam for a short period, return to Africa and then to get away from the heat, they take off for Mexico, Central and South America where they travel. This book chronicles that voyage, its exigencies, anxieties, pleasures, and is filled with abundant matter about the cirumstances they encounter across the entirety of the continent from Mexico to Chile. At certain junctures Madeleine returns to the Netherlands for family matters and John is left to his own devices. John had lived in Peru two decades earlier, is fluent in Spanish and is an acute observer of the scenes along the road.