Wednesday, June 30, 2010


While we get ready and keep organizing our Argentina to Greenland hitch-hiking expedition we continue executing our nomadic educational project. Last week we visited Villa Lugano, a poor Buenos Aires district where many families previously living in the railway tracks were relocated.

After the slideshow of pictures the coordinator told the kids to draw the picture they had liked the most.

For some reason kids kept drawing hitch-hikers.

Two little girls show proudly their hitch-hiking designs. The activity was rather directed to use photography to portray hospitality, and there were indeed several pictures showing the different type of vehicles we travel in. For the kids of this poor district, however, cars left a deeper print in their perception.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I briefly Interrupted my hitch-hiking trip from Argentina to Greenland in order to take part of the 36th Buenos Aires International Book Fair. Having reached Sucre in the roof of a Nissan truck carrying 43 pigs I received a callof my editors requesting my presence in the venue. It seems the first edition is gone and 2,000 more copies have been printed. For the first time in my life after ten years of self-publishing and selling around my small photocopied books I have the chance to sign copies of this fresh 350 pages edition of "Vagabonding in the Axis of Evil - By thumb in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan" (Spanish version edited by Del Nuevo Extremo Publishing Group). To get hold of a copy from outside Argentina you can order it online from my online shop

Five months ago I had received this nice parcel at home. How not to recall that what now is a book was once a collection of scribbled notebooks, records of rides, interviews, CDs with pictures and a bunch of ideas. These were my first 20 complementary copies. The 1,980 books pending were in the bookshelves nationwide!

Ad poster distributed by the publishers.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


From Sucre I looked at the map and let me finger mark the position of Buenos Aires, where my presence was awaited in the 36th Intenational Book Fair. There I am meant to sign copies of my book "Vagabonding in the Axis of Evil" at the stand of Del Nuevo Extremo Publishing Group. In the picture, the ride from Sucre to Potosi with Alex's family.

South of Potosí, at a village called Villanueva, the attendant of the peage lifts the bareer each time a drivers pays the toll.

North of Bolivia, I had to cross th Cuesta de Sama.

Pipo and Sara, my drivers and host in San Telmo, Bolivia. He had been living in the UK for a year, where he met his wife.

Border crossing over the Bermejo River from Bolivia to Argentina.

This Chrysler Caliber driven by this family proves wrong two things. Firstly, that Bolivians always ask for money. Secondly, that women will never give you rides. They were on their way to Salta, in Argentina, to make an ecography for one of them who was pregnant.

Already in Argentinean territory I was stopped by this journalist and cameraman at Fraile Pintado, Jujuy. It seemed they were short of news...

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Sight from my rooftop trip in a truck carying 43 pigs from Monteagudo to Sucre, around 350 km quivering in the top of a Nissan Condor truck, unable to sleep, braving winds and rain.... Once in a life is enough! I arrived at 5:30 before sunset to Sucre's main slaughter site...

Talking to farmers while waiting on the roadside.

Wolf's house in Sucre. Wolf is a German who arrived decades ago to the country as a volunteer and eventually settled there. He is now a member of Hospitality Club. In his house his wife teaches ballet, so straight fowards from the slaughter house I made it to a ballet...

Opposites: the well known colonial architecture and burned cars piled in Sucre's police station after the riots protesting for the presumably illegal way the new Bolivian constitution was sanctioned.

I became a friend of this woman at the Sucre market. She told me she was quite sure during my trip the pigs had passed me their fleas. She consequently described quite graphically the way the fleas would spread al over my body. Here in the picture she ceremomiously lifts a fish for a costumer. Eastern time apporaches...

Vegetable woman...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The Educational Nomadic Project involves a conference based on a photo slide displaying episodes of hospitality received while hith-hiking around the world in the last 5 years. These events are free of charge and avaiable for all the visited communities. The events are possible thanks to the People's Health Movement, who has donated the pocket projector.

Marino, the chief of the Guarani community helped to organize the event and ordered two assistants to clear the area of the football pitch. They hanged a white curtain bended over the arc and that was the screen!

Thanks to all of you for the donations that keep me traveling and organizing these educational events.

Monday, June 14, 2010


The Volvo truck drops me off at San Simon junction. From there I walk steadily intro an increasingly forested road. My backpack also gets used to the new tropical fauna.

A pick up gives me a ride as far as Timboy town, where I am invited lunch by this group of kind drunken locals who were regreting the death of a relative who had been striken by a bolt and also blaming one of them for marrying a girl with the only aim of inheriting her father's timber properties.

I then continued walking and stumbled upon Ñaurenda, a Guarani community, and stayed two days to learn a bit of their language, enjoy a traditional celebration and aso have the chance of making one of my educational events and photo slides.

Artisans at work. Women stay in the porches of their houses most of the day when they are not busy inside.

Traditional dances. Note the tipoi, long traditional dresses wore by women.

Cuchi or boiled pork. It was a special celebration during which the Guarani chose a nick for me. They explained me that these nicks represent their first impression of each person. So mine was "burya wata". What does it mean? - I asked. "Long trip" - they said!

Honoured by the Guarani nickname granted to me I set to walk again. It was the day of my 32th birthday. I had nothing to celebrate except a can of tuna fish and a crispy bread. IN the early morning the people from Ñaurenda had invited me breakfast. There I go, on my slow way to Monteagudo.

Monday, June 07, 2010


The "Jewel of the Pacific" was the name of the Volvo F-12 truck I hitched a ride with from Tarija to Entre Ríos. It was my first long ride in Bolivia, a ride that proved me that not all drivers in Bolivia ask for money. On the contrary, this was one of the most amazing rides of my life. Overnight, I slpet inside the cargo of the truck, that was taking 10 tons of bottles of Coca Cola. Just in case I get thirsty...

Guido, the driver, was worthy of the interview I accomplish during the long ride. He had studied Engineering in Argentina but forced to quit due to his political activities during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. He then came back to Bolivia where he was also doomed to hide from the local military, so he stayed in a monastery disguised as priest for two years!

Landscape from the truck's cabin.

We have breakfast in Entre Rios town, and I am on my own again, ready to take an almost invisible, dirty road and explore the back country.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


The scene takes place in Tarija. One of my aims while in Bolivia is to find out the concrete and real effects of the changes introduced by Evo Morales beyond the symbolic dimension. It's true he has vindicated the native people, the rights of the indigenous communities. During my trip I will try listn from this people of their lifestyle and economy have improved as well. I have no prejudices or suspicions. Just a writer in search of reality beyond headlines.

Another all together different challenge for me was hitch-hiking in Bolivia. I was honestly sure if it was going to work. Odds were aganist me and the traditional comment about Bolivia is that all drivers and trucks ask for money. However, I found out that backpackers in Bolivia take the bus right away and don't make any attempt to hitch-hike. They assume hitch-hiking is impossible just because bus fares are really cheap. In the picture, a 1948 Willys Jeep that gave me a ride from Tarija. It's my personal record of antiquity.

Tarija is one of the richest cities of Bolivia and that's where I found this Hummer...

Cholita is the word that designates women from the countryside in the Andean world.

Globalized world: a Colombian black metal band in concert in Tarija. The organizer of the event was my Cuchsurfing host.

Chapacos is how the people from Tarija province call themselves. Here a man chewing coca leaves...

Markets are the soul of Bolivian cities. Also, they a re a cheap place for travellers to eat healthy food.

Tarija prefecture was about to celebrate elections. Conservative sectors were afraid the Evo Morales lead MAS (Movement towards Socialism) would gain more power in a traditionally autonomous region.

I am really jelaous of the Bolivians. They have cheap food almost everywhere meanwhile in Argentina we ecport food to the resto of the world but going out for dinner is a luxury. I prefer countries were food is conceived in a humble way as a necessity and it's not overprized.