Friday, July 03, 2009


Making a Photo Exhibition in Tandil, Argentina. he venue was offered by Tandil University Cultural Center. Title of the exhbition was "Images of a Round the World Hitch-hiking trip". More than 50 people attended the event.

After introducing myself and The Wizard (my backpack) we carried on with the slide of around 400 photographs. I thought they would be too many, but people kept their attention focused. Many of them later bought copies of my book "Vagabonding in the Axis of Evil" (Spanish version. English one coming soon). I also displayed a hundred of my hand made postcards. Rhey allow anyone to take a souvenir home, since they are cheaper than the 20x30 I always sell.

What is behind selling a photograph? There several dimensions beyond the economic side of it. Firstly, unlike the book, people can choose among the +100 pictures, letting me know something about their likes, dislikes, etc. More importantly, the energy of the photographed episoded comes back to me when someone chooses a picture. Kids smile again, and deserts print their austerity in my eyes once again... A magic evocation that claims time for already lived moments and make life reversible...

As I said, there is something fundamental behind a simple event. I have been a nomad fo 4 years now, and my e-mail contact list has around 1400 addresses, plus some 690 Facebook friends (clic here to find my profile and add me!) This forces me to inforce some discipline in the task of recording and organizing new contacts. As ii travel, I send general e-mails telling all this readers and friends where I am, and if there is any event coming. And then the desired alchemy happens: the virtual world touches the real one, when someone comes to the event thanks to an e-mail. In this case I could meet face to face dozens of readers I had never seen before. In the picture you can see Teresa foor instance. She would always comment my blog to check I was still alive while hiking in Tibet or Afghanistan. I could have never fortold this woman whose messages often gave me strenght was on a wheelchair.

Readres geting their book signed.

My girfriend Paula and Rocío. I had last seen Rocío, from the Cyclown Circus in Thailand in 2007. Imagine my surprise!

Friends at Tandil, Argentina.

A cute boy selling bicycles made from wire in the streets.


Sticky Notice! Visit my online bookshop, order my book and keep me hitch-hiking around the world!

As I keep preparing the Americycle for my Argentina-Alaska trip, I take short rips around Argentina by hitch-hiking. Paula and I spent a nice weekend in Concepción del Uruguay and Colón, both cities in the Argentinean province of Entre Ríos. In the picture, one of the historic buildings that charm up the shores of Colón.

A rusty abandoned Wessel sets the scenes for lovers who can’t afford to rent a true Titanic for a romantic kiss.

As Colón is a touristy place, houses and guesthouses are painted in the fashion way their Buenos Aires counterpart are.

Zárate – Brazo Largo Bridge is the easiest access point for hitch-hikers thumbing north from the national capital.


Our driver was called Javier and he was from Concordia, Entre Ríos. He stopped for to check the tires pressure in Gualeguay crossing and we were soon asking him wether he could take us south back to Buenos Aires. On board, the cabin of his Mercedes 1620 had its own iconography that including illustrations of different saints.
Among the classic stamp of Gauchito Gil and Difunta Correa, emerges the image of Death, with her own chopper. “It’s Saint Death” – affirms Javier, and proceeds to tell us the story of how he became a follower.
He had been working for years for a logistic company. He used to drive so fast that his boss seemed to trust Javier would always made it, no matter how distant was the goal. If there was a queue of fifty truck in the loading spot, he wouls be granted priority. He was a true king of the road. “Then they started sending me to Misiones province” – regrets. There the landscape is so hilly that you can hardly drive Fast. When going down a hill, actually, you need to have good breaking skills. On the contrary, Javier had fun descending at 120 km/h.
One day, on reaching the bottom of a steep hill, he found an old truck joining the main road from an unpaved track coming from the rainforest. It’s the kind of trucks carrying on illegal deforestation. E had no time to break and next time he opened his eyes he had all sorts of electrodes connected to his body. He lost her job, and his wife. A man who came suddenly out of nowhere –like the truck he had crushed with- gave him an illustration of Saint Death. As in a miracle, he got a better job and mended the relationship with his wife.

With a bit of research, I found that the cult had its origins in neighbouring Paraguay, as some kind of syncretism that takes roots in the Guarani tradition of worshipping the bones of your ancestors. Natives there used to ask for protection from physical pain and natural disasters.
During the Jesuits era this concept boarded the Christian entity of saint to form a new cult that hasn’t however been recognized by the church. Inner migrations forwarded the cult into other regions, such as the Argentinean provinces of Santa Fe. Corrientes, Chaco and Formosa, and south of Brasil. There is even a large sanctuary in RN 12 Km. 983, in Corrientes. Another example of how there is a lot to learn from hitch-hiking.


It was quite a surprise to find these two guys Dresde in Iraqi T-shirts selling shawarma, as I strolled the shores of Uruguay River, in Colón, Entre Ríos. I approached them in Arabic and of course they were true Iraqis who had migrated from Baghdad in 2002, precisely a year in which Argentina sent out huge waves of émigrés as a result of local crisis.

Aiming to seduce the pocket of patriots, the guy next stall made it clear he was selling Argentinean meet…

As for us, far from having passport related problems in our diet, we cooked this Dorado in a clay oven, spiced with chilli, herbs, lemon, etc. We bought it first hand to the fisherman who goes around the city in his bicycle…

Paula and I baking bread for dinner, filled up with salami and cheese.

Our hosts, Miguel and Paula.