“I came to South and Central America because I wanted to see different things from what we’ve got back home. Different places, different people and a different kind of daily life. I love chaotic situations. Walking through a local market, for instance. So much is going on at the same time – there’s a lot of life. Vendors are yelling, women are sewing clothes, cutting fruit, a guy is talking about God and dogs are running around. Sometimes a stall is unattended, but the vendors are not afraid someone will steal something – not at all. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. When you ask for a vegetarian meal, for instance, they become really creative. “I’ve got some tomatoes, here’s an avocado, I can add some cheese.” When they haven’t got any change, they’ll just ask the amiga next door. It’s all about socializing. Little children are playing next to their parents’ stall. They grow up on the market. An interesting one was the market in Iquitos, Peru. It’s a city in the jungle and you cannot get there by car. It looks really messy. They gather trash in the middle of the market place and burn it at the end of the day. In Bolivia, they sell dried lama foetus to keep the bad spirits away. We don’t have that in Switzerland! The only regular markets people visit there are for special, more expensive products.”

“In South America I prefered countries like Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. I think Argentina and Chile are very western. They feel very European: what people look like, their habits, their stores, etc. Which is nice, but I wanted to experience something new. Another thing I love about many towns here is the public transportation. In Cusco (Peru) you’d walk to the bus terminal and everyone’d scream: Lima, Lima, Lima! Venga, venga, venga! You feel very rushed, but when you enter the bus they often make you wait for another 20 minutes. Same story for the chicken buses in Guatemala. It always takes at least one hour longer than expected before you depart. That’s also the charm of traveling in these countries. It helps a lot if you speak Spanish. It feels more comfortable, save, and you can talk to locals. You’d miss out on many interesting conversations when you don’t speak the language. It’s a different way of traveling. I stayed with a Mayan family for a couple of days in Guatemala. A wonderful experience, they were so happy to have me and told me all about their culture. At the same time it’s also very sad. They own so little, they hardly have warm water, they probably have never even left their little town. That’s when you realize how privileged you are to be able to explore the world and learn about other cultures.”