• Bolivian Story: Vanessa Vargas

    I met Vanessa when she was heavily pregnant with her baby, Rafaela. She was working at her partner’s restaurant, Red Monkey, as well as producing natural products for her business, Moi. Moi makes handmade cosmetics and personal care products based on natural and organic ingredients, without the use of preservatives, artificial colours or synthetic fragrances, being careful not to degrade our bodies or the environment. Vanessa never stops. I was surprised to see how busy she was whilst heavily pregnant and even since having her little girl it is not uncommon to find her in her workshop making products with her baby strapped to her or sleeping nearby. She’s a strong woman with…

  • Bolivian Story: Gabriela Rebeca Santa Cruz

    We met Rebeca the same night as Pablo, at Red Monkey, the only vegan vegetarian restaurant in La Paz. Rebeca was behind the bar mixing unusual cocktails that combine typically Bolivian ingredients like huacataya and locoto with fresh juices and of course, alcohol. When I turned up at Red Monkey for my first day volunteering in the kitchen Rebeca showed me around their food production garden, which is her baby and love. As we talked it became clear to me that she was feeling overwhelmed as the only person working in the garden, so I suggested I come one day a week to help out. It wasn’t a completely selfless offer, I…

  • Bolivian Story: Pablo Santa Cruz

    We first met Pablo in his restaurant, Red Monkey. Within weeks of it opening we were there – eager to try some healthy, vegan food in this city of meat and fries! Looking down the menu I was impressed to see kombucha listed and gave a little shriek. I thought we were the only ones in La Paz to be making kombucha :).  Pablo came over to our table, curious about my enthusiasm, and before long I was sharing our culinary images from Making Sense Of Things and Pablo had invited me to do a ‘guest chef’ evening there. Whilst I haven’t had the confidence to take up his offer,…

  • Bolivian Story: Pablo Antelo

    One day, whilst volunteering at vegan restaurant, Red Monkey, I met Pablo Antelo. He had been asked to help out in the kitchen for the day since the chef/owner of Red Monkey was a little tied up with welcoming his baby girl into the world. That day I was so surprised and happy to see this young man, laid back but enthusiastic, never idle, taking initiative and working hard. He impressed me. I loved his attitude. I told him about my friends who were opening a wine bar, called Hallwright’s, which would be showcasing Bolivian produce. I explained that they had asked me to make some products for their platters like…

  • Fascinating wildlife in the Pampas, Bolivia

    Back in July 2013 we stepped off our very small (capacity of 12) Amazonas plane onto a dusty rustic runway and into the warm, thick, humid air of the tropics with our friends, Edouard and Laeticia – a mere 45 minute flight from La Paz but seemingly another world. The plane had landed at Rurrenabaque, a town just on the edge of the Amazon basin and the gateway to The Pampas. A few hours in the back of a truck and then another few hours journey in a low, long, wooden boat through muddy waters filled with caiman, the banks lined with capybaras and the trees overflowing with monkeys, we…

  • Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

    This is a very late post, from July in fact, so it will be more of a photo entry than a story… but I think that’s ok because probably the most fascinating part of our trip to Salar de Uyuni was the regularly changing and breathtaking vistas. We were excited to meet our friends, Edouard and Laetitia, who had traveled from France to spend 2 weeks with us in Bolivia. We had been waiting for friends or family to visit to do some of the tourist highlights, but understandably Bolivia is just too far away and expensive to get to for most people. This was our chance! We decided to…

  • Exploring the non-stereotypical Bolivia

    A journey into the jungle, development projects, stunning art, permaculture and community… Jean and his colleagues were flying to Santa Cruz to then continue in the Chiquitania region – visiting their projects, meeting volunteers, partners and government officials to discuss their work. I was kindly invited to accompany them and was grateful for  the opportunity to see another part of Bolivia, experience rural areas and to be in the tropics again. Nothing feels more like ‘home’ to me than the warmth and humidity on my skin. We flew to Santa Cruz where the city surprised me. I felt like I was in a different country. In contrast to La Paz…

  • A lesson in self-reliance: The Choro Trek

    Relaxing in each other’s arms and sipping our local organic coffee we are now enjoying the stunning subtropical vista of the mountainous Andes from an eco-lodge in Coroico, Bolivia. We are surrounded by diversity, coffee plants, avocado trees, bananas, hummingbirds, butterflies and myriad of insects. It feels like bliss, however this moment of peace and quiet has been well deserved… When we were preparing for the 4 day Choro Trek (most people do it in 3), we knew it could be difficult as we had to carry all of our camping gear, first aid kit, food, water and clothing to suit everything from the cold dry Altiplano at 5000m to…

  • Back on line… we have now settled in Bolivia!

    It’s been a long time, hey? Well, Carly and I have had many (nice!) changes in our life lately… We are actually writing this post from La Paz, in  Bolivia, where we’ve moved in to our new home. So after more than two years of living from a couple of backpacks, we’ve now settled down for few years… These last two years have been beautiful though, and certainly worth every penny! Spending time with family and friends, building cob houses and natural building in Southern France, volunteering in a farm in Palestine, learning permaculture in Jordan, working in Yemen, Haiti and Central America, hang gliding in Grenoble, celebrating a friend’s wedding…

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