hermanos de la montaña

During summer vacation, I went travelling around to visit my friends in various corners of the earth. My good friend Blake Schmitd, a journalist for www.bloomberg.com and www.newyorktimes.com lives in Granada, Nicaragua, so a few friends (Guido and Michael) and I flew down to travel together. We had plans to near the border of Honduras to a protected area; Blake was going to write a few stories and I was going to take some photos. We drove our rental Yaris from Matagalpas North for a few hours up to Ladalia. There we hoped on a chicken bus (1980’s era dilapidated yellow schoolbus) and were moving at a snails pace through nearly washed out roads and enormous potholes. We were there during the rainy season, and it was living up to it’s name; a few of the windows were broken and a handful of us got pretty soggy as we crept deeper and deeper into the bush. As the rain approached a drizzle, Blake told us we were at there, so we told the driver to let us hop off.

We grabbed our packs, plopped into the muddish road and backtracked a few hundred meters to the path into ‘town’. What Blake mistook for the town was actually a half dozen families that work for a coffee farm: San Fransisco. We meander up the trail, explain our perdicament, inquire about a guesthouse and we are told there’s nowhere within 25km or so. Don Perez, the owner of the finca let us spend the night in the seasonal farmers’ barracks.

The quarters were fit for sleeping. Constructed of hearty wood, there was a 2 meter bench that doubled as a bed and enough space for the door to open. No mattress, a single incandescent lightbulb, a pair of dirty underwear under the bench and a mystery blob on the floor that looked like a cross between a dried platano and a dead rat. We left our packs in the barracks to see if we could buy a plate of dinner from any of the farmers’ families. It turns out we just missed the group dinner, so we walked down to the local shop and each bought a can of tuna and a packet of saltines.

We returned to the migrant worker’s barracks and were a bit disappointed: wrong place, cold dinner, rat floor. I took this photo to capture the mood of the moment; Guido seems depressed, Blake is caught mid tuna-grab and dusk is rapidly descending on the farmers’ barracks. I set the ISO for 800 and underexposed the shot a few stops, to give it a more somber feel. I desaturated the non-skin tones a bit also.  During the night, I faced a number of substantial obstacles, yet managed to keep my sanity throughout the night. Details coming in another post.

The following day we climbed a mountain and it was by far the most difficult climb I’ve ever experienced due to the events that took place directly after this photo was taken. It involved botanicals.



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