Updated: Dec 6, 2020
I sat in my darkened room, the french doors open into the night, with a gentle rain over a town that was slowly drifting to sleep. The bleat of goats I heard nearby, fodder for customers who read the handwritten “cabrito” sign on a piece of cardboard taped to a roadside milk crate. Drunken shouts echoed down the alleyway from the nearby cantina, where exhausted workers played cards and drank, the smell of beer and sweat fresh in my mind from when I'd passed the open door in the darkness earlier.
I remembered the smiles of the cook and waitress as I passed the open air cafe on my way to the little store adjacent. Inside the cramped tienda, two small children squealed with laughter at the tiny television playing a Disney movie in Spanish. Their watchful mama smiled kindly as she handed me change for my pack of tortillas. Her little tienda was illuminated weakly by a single, cold and dim fluorescent bulb that made me want to get back out under the night sky.
The day had been spent wandering Xilitla, dodging spats of rain and walking the steep, green-tinged streets covered with algae from the constant jungle moisture. I liked Xilitla. It oddly seemed a world away from the Mexico I knew, as if I’d been transported to another country further south. The people noticed the gringo, but didn’t care and went about their business undisturbed.
The sky had been filled with fog and rain, with momentary spots of sunshine and blue, but the humidity was so heavy that I feared what it would be like in temperatures warmer than the 72 degrees of the day.
It was frustrating to try and capture photos of life and of the town, something so hard to convey. That, however, is the eternal struggle of being a traveling photographer.
In the dark of my room, I settled into a review of the photos of the day on my laptop until I couldn't stay awake.
Location! Location! Location!