#2—Recalibrating to Bolivian Time

After traveling for 20+ hours, sitting through 4 flights, and suffering 3 layovers, we were all defeated, no matter how young or excited we were.

We travelled from San Fransisco, USA -> San Salvador, El Salvador-> Lima, Peru-> Santa Cruz, Bolivia -> Cochabamba, Bolivia.

About our location/dorm:

We finally arrived in Sirpita Q’ollu a suburb right outside of the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Despite the constant barks of the neighbor’s dogs, the village feels extremely peaceful, secluded and homey. See for yourself —

Yep, this is where we are living for 6 weeks — in the middle of the house is a huge semi-covered garden with an irrigation system that runs water from the lake to the garden.

The house we are living in is designed by Mario Moscoso, and they call it the Eco Hotel. As soon as you walk though his metal gate you know you are in a complete different world. Their entire plot of land is modeled after a biosphere — they have 4 llamas, a horse, 2 dogs, 3 peacocks, 3 polish chickens, too many geese, 2 emus, 5 parrots, and a cat.

The horse is friendly, but the llamas always look like they are about to attack us.

Besides the animals there are gardens, and artificial lakes that help Mario and Graciela to be self-sustaining. The house itself is still under construction, and the only parts that are completed are his own living room and bedroom and the room we are staying in.

Normally they would rent the room out like a hotel to people on AirBnB

Our room (or as our friend Schuyler would call it “the space bubble”) is mainly white and orange. There are almost no straight walls or edges, except shelves. There are no air-conditioning nor heater, instead an indoor manmade lake that regulates the temperature.

Super earthy feeling to shower next to plants and rocks.

The house is fully equipped with lights, a kitchen with stoves, a laundry machine and a shower (which is literally a piece of stone surrounded by plants… see image on the left).

What is amazing about this building is really not how it looks, but the idea behind it that inspired Mario and Javier to create such houses. Their philosophy is that nature is the ultimate perfection and that humans should try their best to be one with it and I definitely feel that being here. Everything they do here is about being organic and earth-friendly.

Some more thoughts:

Ever since we arrived, the only thing that is regular about our schedules is that we will be eating bread and potatoes all of our meals. Other than that, we wake up, and we report to Graciela and Javier without any clue what they have planned for our day. Maybe some gardening work, maybe some social media, maybe some graphic design, maybe some manual labor! In future blog posts I would like to talk more about our hosts and their projects.

Did I mention the soup here is life-changing? Graciela’s homemade chowder is the absolute best! Every day for lunch she would bring a tray of food for us.

Besides work, we also got numerous chances to go into the city and do some touristy things. In Cochabamba a lot of the traditional and indigenous culture is preserved really well, and I find that fascinating. It is still really common for women to wear traditional skirts and men to wear hats from the Aymara or Quechua culture as daily outfits.

Us attending the Aymara New Year Celebration in Urukupiña

I look forward to working more with our hosts, and learning more about their worldview and their story — from the 6 short days that we have spent with them, I already know that they have some incredible narratives to tell and wise words to offer.

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