Bus2Antarctica: The Singing Truck Driver

And now, Part II of Andrew Evans’s harrowing and somewhat remarkable border crossing. Click here for Part I.

Kids, don’t try this at home.

You should never ever hitchhike. It’s really dangerous because, really, who knows what could happen?

What could happen is it might be 10 p.m. and you’re standing on the Costa Rican border needing to get to the capital–some 200 miles away–by noon the next day. The problem is is that there’s not another bus for another nine hours. Then suddenly, a huge 18-wheeler truck pulls up, and the driver sees you standing there because it’s pitch black and the middle of nowhere and so he rolls down his window and pokes his head out and asks if you need a ride, and even though you’re not sure you should really be hitching in a strange foreign country, you say yes because how else are you going to get there? So you climb into his huge semi-truck cab.

Then off you go, heading towards your ultimate goal and getting to know this person who’s taking you there. He’s a truck driver from Nicaragua named Marvin who is driving to Puerto Limón and carrying a ship container filled with milk that’s headed for Venezuela. And you talk with him for a while and feel safe because he’s not a lunatic. You get to know one another and he explains all of his tricks for driving all night long. He drinks lots of coffee and Coca-Cola, but he also drinks lots of water and best of all, he sings.

He slips a CD into his stereo and out pours the melodious merengue music of Celia Cruz and without skipping a beat, Marvin starts singing right along–he knows all the words and he belts them out, occasionally slipping into the harmony when Celia sings too high.

The TruckYou drive with this guy for almost four hours but because he’s carrying

many tons of milk, you’re only doing 30 mph and all you really want to

do is go to sleep but you don’t want to fall asleep in a stranger’s

truck so you fight to stay awake and start drinking water and singing

along to stay awake as well. But it’s too much. The driver gets too

tired and pulls over to the roadside. He’s sick, he says–he’s had too

much water to drink and his stomach hurts. Then he

steps out and proceeds to violently vomit up all the water he’s been

drinking. Then he gets back in the truck, climbs back into his cab and

passes out, snoring within seconds.

So you ditch the truck

driver and stand on the roadside in the dark, walking on until you come

to an all-night trucker’s café. It’s two in the morning but they’re

open and you order dinner because you can’t remember when you ate last.

When they bring the chicken and rice, you find comfort in the huge

bottle of Linzano salsa that is the most Costa Rican thing in the world.


so you eat and strike up a conversation with the waitress, who,

realizing your predicament, flags down a passing car of a friend, who

then drives you the rest of the way to San Jose where you get dropped

off at the airport and fall asleep at 4 a.m. on the shiny, hard floor

with your backpack as a pillow.

That’s what could happen if you

hitchhike. If you don’t believe me, I’ve got proof. Without further

ado, please meet Marvin, the singing truck driver who I hope is feeling

much better now (filmed with his permission). Gracias for the lift,


Andrew is currently on board the National Geographic Sea Lion, which is traveling from Costa Rica to Panama. Follow his Twitter feed here @Bus2Antarctica, bookmark all of his blog posts here, and get the full story on the project here. All photos and video by Andrew Evans.


  1. Travel Blogs
    January 14, 2010, 6:06 am

    LOL that video is great!

  2. Oil Palm
    July 11, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Andrew, thank you for sharing your harrowing experience.I can’t wait to read your next blog.

    August 27, 2010, 4:51 am

    That guy should try out for American Idol !

  4. Joanna
    January 23, 2011, 11:45 am

    Wow, that’s an interesting story.. almost makes me want to go out hitchhiking, though I know I’d never do it cause I’m not adventurous enough 🙂 Joanna

  5. Bryan
    February 9, 2011, 1:28 pm

    I used to hitchhike in the 80’s, and you were okay 99% of the time then, but these days it’s very risky. People are far less willing to pick up hitchhikers these days, too. Fun story, though. =) – Bryan @ The Toaster Oven

  6. steve
    February 20, 2011, 4:40 pm

    rofl that vid is fantastic!
    steve @ driving instructor training

  7. Afrodita
    February 28, 2011, 3:34 am

    I used to hitch-hike the 6 miles to school when I missed the school bus as a teenager.
    Would I do it now? No way!