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Who Was W.H. Hudson?

William Henry Hudson was a gifted writer born on the Argentine Pampas in 1841 and grew up surrounded by nature. He was a self-taught naturalist and great observer of wildlife and particularly birds; (he was one of the first to campaign for their protection). I first came across him as the author of ‘Far Away and Long Ago’ a wonderful book about his mid 19th century youth on the plains, written from memory in later life. It told of a precarious life on a ranch in a frontier land guarded by armed garrisons in mud forts, with hostile indigenous people still roaming and a blood-thirsty civil war. He helped his father run the estancia and a trading store where he got to hear the stories of the Gauchos.  He had his own pony at six years old. This idyllic life was brought to an end by a tyrannical tutor followed by a placid but rather ineffective priest, and then his final tutor was a drunkard. He more or less taught himself after that. The young Hudson nearly died or typhus and later a fever weakened his heart and doctors said he would not live long. His mother died whilst he was still a teenager and he was employed to run a friend’s sheep farm. He made additional income collecting specimens of wildlife for American museums although he later hated collectors, unless it was for scientific reasons, and the destruction wrought by hunters.

He moved to England in his thirties. He lived an impoverished life in London but began to write scientific essays and reminiscences of Argentina and magazine articles and novels, Green Mansions being the best known. His first novel, The Purple Land, is said to have influenced Hemingway. He married his landlady. He was reticent about his private life and destroyed many of his personal papers. Much of what we know came from his letters and his writings, some of which are considered classic works of literature his work can be appreciated by anyone and was never sentimental. He achieved some fame from his later works about the English countryside such as A Shepherds’ Life. Although he suffered from ill health he lived to be 81.

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We have launched our new brochure. Get it hot off the press

Brochure Cover
We are pleased to announce the publication of new brochure. This beautiful 96 page full colour booklet is packed full of our favourite hotels, country information, tours and maps to give you itchy feet and help with the planning of your next adventure in Latin America. To order you free copy, please get in touch.

Central American and Caribbean Short Stories

C Am Short Stories

If you want some entertaining holiday reading I suggest ‘Central American and Caribbean Short Stories’ by Eduardo de Benito. This collection has recently been published by Pegasus. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at the launch in London’s Belgravia. Eduardo worked for many years in London as a broadcaster and writer for the BBC World Service and as correspondent of Spanish political weeklies. He certainly has had an interesting life in both the tropics and Europe. Now a bearded, bespectacled, grey-haired writer he was the son of Spanish exiles from Franco’s fascist regime in Spain, then brought up in Bogota, Mexico City, and Paris. He now based in North Norfolk where he is a keen sailor and walker. From his stories one can gather that he has had some hair-raising experiences and he admits the boundary between fiction and fact is far from clear.

Each of the five stories takes unexpected twists from the traumatic shock experienced by a young Scottish woman while she stays with the peaceful Kuna Indians on the archipelago of San Blas to the unplanned adventures of a French petit-bourgeois couple in Venezuela, Tobago, and Belize. These are sometimes based on real people; sometimes they are simply the product of the author’s imagination. All the stories have political undertones and touch on attitudes to class and race ‘The Table’ is about a well-to-do couple forced to flee from Europe in 1939, but share a boat with working-class compatriots and things get tricky when the drunken captain strands the boat in the middle of the jungle. Eduardo has a mischievous sense of humour too. ‘Of Urban Three-toed Sloths’ sees two bungling friends who are allegedly going to Costa Rica to do bird-watching, but end up embroiled in espionage among the swamps along the Nicaraguan border. The stories have a dark side none more so than ‘To be dead or alive is the same here’ which begins and ends in torture of a hapless journalist under Nicaragua’s Somoza dictatorship. ‘Don’t mention Coral reefs’ features the aforementioned French couple whose marriage undergoes a renaissance after bribing cops in Venezuela, the wife having an affair with a tour guide in Tobago, and the husband visiting a brothel in Belize. The book is an ideal summer read. Copies can be purchased direct from the publisher.

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Discover Brazilian Cuisine

Alex Atala, the owner and chef of the São Paulo restaurant D.O.M has for the last few years been at the forefront of a resurgence in Brazilian cuisine. His fusion of traditional Brazilian fare with European culinary techniques to create a fine dining experience has earned his restaurant the coveted title of ‘Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In South America’ as well as 4th best in the world by the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

His new book D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients is no ordinary cookbook. An exclusive insight into the world of this extraordinary chef, his relationship with the unique ingredients of his native Brazil and his commitment to sourcing sustainable produce that directly benefits local farmers. Taking over 5 years to complete and showcasing over 60 recipes, the book is not only well written, but also visually stunning accompanied by photography from the world famous food photographer Sérgio Coimbra.

An exhibition of his work is currently being displayed at the Coningsby Art Gallery until the 13th December and entry is free. Copies of his book are available for purchase at the gallery or on the Phaidon website.

To start your own gastronomic adventure in Brazil please contact us.

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Galápagos Wildlife: A Visitor’s Guide, Third Edition, Bradt Travel Guides

The Galápagos Islands have an almost legendary status among biologists, wildlife enthusiasts and adventurous travellers alike. At over 1,000km from the Ecuadorian mainland, the flora and fauna of this volcanic archipelago have long evolved in isolation. Today its lunar landscapes still remain remarkably untouched by human presence, and visitors are stuck by the supreme nonchalance of the animals that wade, waddle and soar around the islands, from amiable sea lions to flamboyant albatrosses.

Galápagos Wildlife: A Visitor’s Guide, 3rd edition, is the most up to date guide book to the archipelago. The lively text describes all the endemic animals (and more) and illustrated with superb colour photos on land and below the sea. All main visitor sites are described in precise detail with accompanying colour maps. This fully updated and extended third edition offers a colourful and informative guide to the island’s unique flora and its marine and terrestrial wildlife. Packed with fascinating facts about the species and their habitats; plus invaluable tips on when and where to see what, Galápagos Wildlife makes and engaging companion on the ground and an ideal souvenir. For all wildlife enthusiasts, contains over 140 colour photographs, written by licensed Galápagos naturalist guides David Horwell & Pete Oxford. Includes all major wildlife groups, from mammals to invertebrates, Island-by-island summary of key sites, with full-colour maps and and extended section on plants.

“Extremely useful, with a good section detailing all of the main visitor sites” The Daily Telegraph

“Bradt Travel Guides simply have the best wildlife coverage of any of the popular guide books” BBC

Signed copies of this best-selling guide are available direct from Select Latin America for £16.99 plus P&P – please contact us.

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