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Hippies in the Andes: a trip with friends, a reunion and what Argentina was like in the 70s


Jeff Marcus was 24 years old when in 1974 he undertook an adventure from the US to visit a former colleague in Acassuso. Today he returned to the country and revives it.

Argentina is



for foreigners.

So the fact that three men who speak native English

are having dinner in a restaurant in Palermo

does not add a hint of curiosity to the night in Buenos Aires .

The seasoning is that

those seventy-somethings

, with very careful looks, in such an


scene (the hashtag that is now used for


on Instagram), 49 years ago in this country were


hippies in the Andes


Almost five decades later, it is the reunion (with a missing one) in Buenos Aires, of the story of three American friends who

on Friday, April 5, 1974,

went on

a backpacking trip from California to the province of Buenos Aires


The idea was to visit a former high school classmate in Austria who lived in Acassuso.

It was six months between

drugs, rock and a miracle in the Cordillera


In the background:

the Argentina of the 70s


From a detailed travel diary, that past is made present in a book that has the


name above and that at the end of the month will be presented translated into Spanish at the Eterna Cadencia bookstore.

But to get there, you first have to get out.

Jeffrey, with the backpack on his shoulder and 20 thousand kilometers ahead until reaching Acassuso from California.

Jeffrey Marcus Oshins (73 years old and one of the Yankees and former hippies sitting at the Palermo table) was 24 when the adventure of more than 20,000 kilometers by land

from Californian Santa Barbara

began .

He was the one with the idea and he is the writer.

To "become" the hippies, Jeff and Felipe do the pacifist "V".

Photo German Garcia Adrasti

With Felipe "Jolly" Luque (71, "world citizen" but Argentine and who jokingly

tells Clarín 

: "

They did, but 


was never a hippie

") they had met at 15 at the American International School in Vienna .

A school attended by the children of diplomats and officials from all countries and which Felipe attended because

his mother was a UN translator


Jeffrey and Felipe promised that they would see each other again


And they saw each other.

Half a century ago in these lands, a few years ago in the United States and again, now, on this express trip for "Jeff" that brings him to the country for the second time and brings them together for dinner.


 are actually three

Hippies in the Andes


Because Felipe did not travel with them, it was the final point of the tour.

Jeff Marcus Oshins and Felipe Jolly Luque did not talk about politics or economics.

The comparison between the Argentina of the 70s and that of now is from globalization "that homogenized everything everywhere."

Photo German Garcia Adrasti

Two other Americans were the writer's traveling companions: Jonathan Klontz (who is 70, the second hippie Yankee at that dinner in Palermo, and orders pasta, not steak or tenderloin, because he is vegan) and Jeremy Gold (the third seventy-year-old hippie, who this time stayed in California).

Jeffrey, Jonathan and Felipe talk to


and Buenos Aires goes into


mode  (and with the scent of patchouli).

Jonathan Klontz, the only current vegan in the group, who also traveled to Buenos Aires for the reunion.

"There was a time, not long ago, before the digital revolution, when you could


the United States. Really leave.

All you had to do was cross the border into Mexico and you disappeared.

You communicated by letters. Nobody knew where you were "There was no rescue, there was no news about what had happened to you.

You died.

As I almost did, falling off a train bridge in the middle of the night, in the snow-covered Andes."

Jeffrey, who is also a musician but pursues his two passions selling medical coverage in his country, makes this


to talk about a book he

didn't know he was going to write until he saw the notebook again

- and compares it to a "time capsule "- in which he was writing down everything.

"Everything" is from how he came to be with a group of smugglers bringing prohibited merchandise to Chile from Argentina to the rest that he enters "into a story of youthful delusion in which he believed he could go anywhere

and do anything


Jeremy enjoying the summer in South America.

There was no other plan than

to continue to the next city

-Bogotá, Quito, Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, the highlands, La Paz, Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile- and find the next adventure.

The motivation, once again, was

to laugh again and make music with that boy from Acassuso

who now went to look for them at the Ezeiza Airport.

In the eyes of an American who really


 here in the 70s - the empirical cliché of having little money, hitchhiking around Salta and Jujuy, playing the guitar on


, smoking marijuana heavily and sleeping wherever you go seducing with Beatles songs that nobody else knew-,

what image does Argentina give back to you today?

"They all have tattoos and the same clothes. As if I were in Madrid or in any capital. Because the planet became a global village. On that trip 50 years ago I saw a world that was on the verge of change. An Argentina


the that young people were escaping from the murderers of the dictatorship and that they now live in a democracy. On July 1, 1974, Perón died and I saw the lamentation of people who queued for a kilometer to see his coffin. It was amazing," says the writer .

When they crossed the border from Bolivia and stepped foot in Buenos Aires,

they thought they saw the first world in the 70s


That it was "traveling in modern buses", seeing "a table with a white tablecloth and a bottle of wine" or "paved routes".

These hippies say that they felt "free, really free" here and that in those silver days they did steal all eyes.

"American culture was not world culture. We met people who had only a vague notion of America. We young drifters were their first exposure to the culture that would soon engulf the world like a rapidly spreading plague of equality.

" ,

says Jeffrey, who in the chat from time to time picks up a phrase like that from his book.

In one of the chapters dedicated to Argentina, he tells of the advantage they had for being "taller than anyone" and very "gringos."

They were two hippie yankees 6'2" (he and Jeremy) and a 6'2" (Jonathan), who also had the body to play professional football.

The imported aesthetic was worth to avoid robberies, to deal with the Police and with women.

Today Jeff, who is separated and has a grandson, and Felipe, who is an architect, English teacher, musician and industrial entrepreneur, say they have shrunk.



them because he kept up with him.

What was the miracle in the Cordillera in this story?

It happened at a time when the three of them did not march together.

At the bus station in Mendoza, the hippie writer met Nesel, an Argentine who told him that he was a photographer at the Portillo ski resort in Chile, that he had crossed to buy equipment and that he was going to cross them with other men walking down the street. mountain.

Jeffrey did not understand the proposal well (he never learned Spanish) but he was convinced by the idea of ​​seeing the landscapes.

“It was almost night, I was having altitude sickness and they gave me some coca tea, which made me feel better.

I trusted and agreed to carry part of the provisions and some skis on my back, which were the ones that saved me.


I fell off a bridge, they just got caught on the train tracks and I was able to get back up in the middle of the night

," she recalls.

After a night of intense sleep, he awoke to find the 6 men on the road gone without him.

"They were


, they had left me a note so that I could follow them, but in the end I was left alone in the Andes in the middle of winter."

When he wanted to enter Chile, they stopped him for crossing illegally and he spent a night in jail because there was

marijuana in a roll of photos

they left him.

The end of this story of Yankee hippies in Argentina in the 70s will not be spoiled in this note.

But it continued two days after that Palermo dinner (which, they celebrated, "With two bottles of wine, only 30 dollars came out!"), on Wednesday, at Vicente López.

Jeff and Felipe got together to make music again.

It was at Unisono, the studio created by Gustavo Cerati.

Jeff, who has his band, Apokaful, and worked with the producer of Foo Fighters, recorded a new song there called "Before the Wind."

He wrote it to a friend whose wife recently died.

It is that for him

"friendship is everything"


And that, he believes, is 

re Argentinian


look too

The "Locos del Río" returned to their first love 50 years later: why they made history

Patty's "return": the story of the body that the mountain returned 40 years later

Source: clarin

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