A quiet place to work on your book or screenplay.
Or simply to have a Bolivian experience.
Parentheses Cabins were designed by a Random House author for writers or travelers looking for a cultural experience. The adobe house looks like any other Bolivian residence on the outside but the inside offers satellite TV with 130 channels, an espresso maker, even a grownup slide! The rural area is surrounded by sheep, llamas, and Bolivians in traditional dress, yet we're just a 15-minute walk from the center of town. You also have a view of Lake Titicaca from the loft window.
"Challando": Requesting a blessing from the Andean Earth Mother, Pachamama
In the midst of building our first cabin, my friends in Copacabana insisted that we couldn't continue construction without first making a tribute to Pachamama, the Andean version of Mother Earth.
As best I understand this, the custom consists of hanging flowers in windows and pouring beer on just about everything. When Doña Matilde, my dear friend and "comadre," starting dousing a pile of nails with beer, I was told, "This is to make sure that you never run out of nails." And then we also doused our insides with beer, which I'm not quite sure how to interpret. In the end, I was told that Pachamama was happy, which means we got to continue work on our cabins.
The cabin includes:
- A double bed, loft-style. You access your "bedroom" from a ladder at ground level.
- A private bathroom. The shower is heated by electricity and to be honest, the water pressure isn't great. You're paying $65 a night for your accommodations, so I don't really feel terrible about this. (In the next couple of years, as infrastructure improves, we hope to put a water heater in the cabin. At the moment, having natural gas piped into your home is still a relatively new thing in Copacabana.)
- Satellite TV with 130 channels. You even get HBO, Cinemax and the Sundance Channel. Best of all, most of the channels can be switched between Spanish and English.
- Hi-speed wi-fi. This is the best wi-fi in Copacabana. But you're still in Bolivia so don't be expecting too much.
- An espresso bar. We offer Bolivian coffee grounds and an espresso machine. Please bring your own coffee grounds if you're a connoisseur. We're happy to provide basic Bolivian coffee, which should fulfill your caffeine requirements, but if you require something tastier than what's available here, you're on your own. I mean that in a nice way, not in a menacing your-coffee-is-going-to-suck way.
- A microwave. Handy for reheating takeout or for nuking one of the entrees from your mini-fridge.
- A mini-fridge. It's stocked with fruits, soft drinks and bottled water. Mini-fridge costs are calculated separately and are not included as part of your lodging bill (though we're not going to stiff you like other hotels). We include snack items in the fridge and even homemade entrees.
- A mini-bar. You'll have access to red and white wines from South America and singani, a hard liquor made in Bolivia. Price list is available in your cabin. Also if you are a non-drinker and prefer to have your mini-bar removed prior to your arrival, we are happy to comply.
- Room service. In your cabin you'll find a list of menu items available from restaurants around town. You tell us what you'd like to order and we get it to your cabin in less than an hour (hopefully way less).
- A cell phone. This is a cheapo phone that you can use to receive free calls from home (free on your end anyway). This way you have a Bolivian number to make calls with as well. (You pay the cost of calls made to numbers in Bolivia, but it's very inexpensive.) You can also use the cell phone to call me if you have a problem, a question, or would like to place a room-service order.
- A propane heater for your room. Effective and quick to heat up the entire cabin. Though please turn it off before you leave the premises or go to sleep.
Here are some images from the first days of construction.
I think the idea of building a cabin entirely from mud is very cool (yes, call it adobe if you like, but it's basically dirt, straw, and water.)