|SONG SESSION WITH CHRISTIAN AND ROBERTO|
Bolivia is not the territory of the Bolivians, it is the land of the Argentinian hippies. They came, they saw it was cheap and they conquered literally every spot. One of their biggest fortresses is Samaipata, a small, picturesque town close to Santa Cruz. Everywhere you go, you will meet an Argentinian artisan, musician, poet or painter. The only time their dominance is threatened is during holidays, when armies of weekenders from Santa Cruz invade the town with SUVs and raggaeton.
I was lucky enough to end up in the main hippie-base: Hostal Camping Jardin (note: if you look for Argentinian hippies, follow the campings). We ended up staying 10 days in hippie Samaipata which gave me some time to study the species more closely. So let me introduce some of them to you:
Technically, Roberto is from the Canary Islands but at heart he is a real Argentinian hippie. My best guess for his age is somewhere between 30 and 50. Roberto followed the Greatful Dead around the US, he jammed with Jimmy Page, he lived in a Spanish hippie community (with two wives and a couple of daughters), he plays a mad guitar and – he has seen and done everything, he knows everything – and will tell you all about it (100 times a day).
Joao is Brazilian but was adopted by the Argentinian hippie community in Samaipata. In 10 days I think I was the one who had the longest conversation with Joao. It lasted about 2 minutes. There are people that smoke weed, there are people that smoke a lot of weed, there are stoners and then there is Joao. He is all about love and peace. Literally, these would usually be the only words he ever uttered. Wherever we’d run into Joao he’d greet you with a big smile and his mantra: “amor e paz”.
He was the leader of the Argentinians. Diego went out to study the concept of time of some Quechua communities in Bolivia and came back a new man. We could never find out what it was exactly that he had seen or learned with the Quechua – he would never say. All he ever mentioned was that he found the essence of life and I swear whenever he talked there was a big bright light around him (It might have been because he always sat underneath the kitchen light, smoking his pipe …).
Pablo and Madlene
Pablo to me embodied the true spirit of the Argentinian hippies: Travel the world, try everything (even if it is dancing Capoeira at 5 AM), be friendly with everyone, love and respect nature and sing beautiful songs. Pablo had a girlfriend (Madlene) who actually managed to talk less than Joao but she had the most beautiful voice. I am not sure if they were re-born hippies, angels or elves but there was something magical about them.
Ryan is Argentinian but not a hippie. He was the true punk-rocker of the hostel. And he was bloody honest. One time he said: “Awww, I don’t really care about all this hippie love and peace stuff, I just like to smoke weed.” You just had to love him!
Christian was a poet, painter and musician from Buenos Aires and probably the only Argentinian hippie in Bolivia who doesn’t smoke weed. He wrote happy love songs (even though a Colombian girl had just broken his heart) and he was at a point in his life where he was practicing detachment – so I ended up with a necklace, a bracelet and a purse (maybe he started realizing that it’s a bit odd if a MAN has all these things…).
Rocky was Joao’s dog and a true Argentinian hippie. He was always happy (as long as he had a sock he could chase), he was always singing (no joke: he didn’t bark, he sang!) and dancing, he loved nature and being with Joao, he inhaled so much marijuana smoke that he was constantly high.
What did I do in 10 days in Samaipata? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING … and it was wonderful! LONG LIVE THE ARGENTINIAN HIPPIES!