South America

The time comes again, time to go, travel’s inevitable destination. Feeling ready to go home but not feeling ready to leave. Time of ambivalences and contradictions – I call it brimful of emptiness.  I wrote some of this when I was still in Buenos Aires but I couldn’t finish till the leaving had been done. So it's a mixture of anticipation and reflection. I'm feeling everything so much more intensely this time - the third time I have done this particular parting in this particular place. Maybe it's harder than before because the time here has been so incredibly good; maybe...

So as the days count down to journey’s end, a few reflections on some of the charms, quirks and oddities of this intriguing city. Forgive the silliness of alliteration but a string of B-words was just too tempting: bumpers, bicycles, bulldogs and beef. I tried to find F-words but alas, F-ing alternatives for bicycle defeated me! So, walk the streets of Buenos Aires and you will find an army of workshops bashing out the bumpers of cars that have seen combat on the city’s teeming streets. Attentive blogees will remember my bone-shaking bus journey to Mataderos back at the beginning of...

For a rapid transition from the ‘real South America’ of Bolivia to the bustle of one of the continent's great cities, what better than Street Art? So, off the plane, some shut-eye, a bit of freshening up and I was off to join a tour. Buenos Aires is famed for its street art, helped no doubt by the relaxed attitude of the authorities – basically if you get the permission of the owner of the wall you’re good to go with latex, spray paint or any other application. And some of the best-known street artists have adorned many a wall in the city with their...

A little tribute to Doña Elizabet is necessary. The visit to Candelaria was incredible - but it could have been quite different. You can't help being from another place, another planet, certainly another era, with your modern dress, your money, your view on the world. What made the difference for us was the presence of Doña Elizabet, the dueña of the Hacienda Candelaria, a woman steeped in the place, with relationships with the weavers and their families going back years. She has watched many of them grow old while others grow up; she has a profound attachment to the land and...