Come to Puna

Ascend with me a minute to 4000 metres, and whizz across the Andes to the intersection of Bolivia, Chile and (for our purposes) Argentina: see a vast grassland; terracotta mountains on a Himalayan scale; shimmering salt flats pierced by emerald ponds; tiny adobe hamlets; vicunas, flamingos, vultures and perhaps even a puma. You can be one of the 100 tourists who make it up here this year. This is Puna. (That link is from a travel writer; this one is from Wiki.)

My friend Elena Bossi has edited a book called PUNA, that she’s giving away in PDF format. She lives in Jujuy in the north of Argentina, and recently tackled the day-and-a-half drive from Salta into the high Andes, where locals had been interviewed about life in this high and spare environment. Elena edited the interviews to bring alive the voices, mostly of farmers and harvesters of salt. She’s included in the book folk tales, poems and literary offerings from the region ‘to make a universal idea of the souls of the people’. The photos are stunning, too.

Photo: Michele Giacomelli, Valtellina, Italy

There’s only one drawback for the fools among us who haven’t taken their Spanish studies seriously enough: it hasn’t been translated into English. Not yet. But I know it will have been beautifully written.

Anyway, if you read Spanish, or know someone who does, help yourself here. You’re in for a treat and I’m envious. Elena would like to see this book ‘diffused’ (I love her wonderfully apt English) so please consider posting it on your own blog, especially if you have a Spanish readership.

And of course if you’d like to translate PUNA, that’d be fantastic. I’d put the English version on Rosa Mira Books, perhaps not for free, but for a small sum so I could reimburse the translator in due course.