Yahritza Martínez

What I've been listening to lately... 

Her and her brother were born and raised in Yakima, WA, where my grandfather is from, and where I picked cherries as a teenager. The Los Angeles Times did a piece about the trio back in April if you're interested.

Thirty Five Millimeter | The Economy of Scale

From a recent roll of 35mm, shot on my old Olympus Epic Zoom in the Philippines and Indonesia. Still not sure what's causing the halo effect with this particular camera, but it adds a little something, some of the time. These were taken over the course of a month spent in Southeast Asia, from the gritty streets of Davao City to the secluded perfection of Palawan, and finally into the mountains of Eastern Java to drive Land Cruisers. 

An excerpt from something I started to write... 

the last great place at the end of the earth.

Alex stood, sweating, beneath a blue and brown tarp stretched from the edge of the kitchen palapa. He looked down at the beach below, the green, metal roofed bungalow facing the beach, the white sand slipping into a crystal blue sea. A "speedboat" had just pulled ashore and four people were unloading freight from its deck. Small refrigerators, resin for the wood floors, diesel generators and air-conditioning units for the cottages. The fruits of a foreign investment that was made just as the global pandemic had kicked Alex's ass one last time.

The kitchen was busy preparing our last meal, a no-brakes kind of breakfast that set the tone for our departure. This was the last time we'd see the place like this. An oasis on a tropical peninsula, free from cellular signals, buzzing diesel boats or rented jet-skis with their equally buzzed captains clad in blaze orange PFDs. The last time we'd spend our evenings lying naked, flat atop the sheets with a hand fan as our only means of escaping the heat and humidity. The last time they'd cut the lights on the deck so the insects would chase the light in a different part of the property. The last time we'd be someplace where we would find true tranquility without paying an entrance fee. The kind of calm that is acquired by escaping, not by sitting inside your air-conditioned hotel room waiting for room service.

This was the end of something amazing, but for Alex, the beginning of an entirely new life. And can you blame him for wanting to make more of what he has? To expand, if only slightly, or to add creature comforts so they can increase their prices, overall revenue and make good for their foreign investors?

Alex asked one of his staff to help a friend with her bags. The boat was waiting to take us to the mainland, and Alex was eager to unload the rest of the speedboat in anticipation of the next.

We were Alex's last guests, the final four before the cottages would shutter their doors in preparation for a three month renovation. His face was a mixture of excitement and anxiety as we said our goodbyes. The bar was barren, a few old bottles of Chivas and Captain Morgan on the shelves. Only the necessities were packed into the outdoor refrigerator. The road ahead would be hard work for his staff and himself as they prepared to reopen in the fall ahead of the seasonal tourist wave. And when they did, the place wouldn't be the same. Alex wouldn't be sweating because he was standing on the shore in the beating sun, fighting the humidity inside his shirt. The sweat on his brow would now be from the concern as to whether his tropical oasis would be as well received as it was previously, whether the price increase and added accoutrements, the new bar with shiny bottles and the dive shop they planned to open would in fact be worth the sacrifice of thirty-percent ownership.

There's so much more to say about this experience, but I'll save my words for another time, and likely another place.

From the Phone - Vol.10

A note: This post was supposed to go live in January of 2022... My bad.

Another note: For whatever reason, Google won't let me adjust the resolution of the images I am uploading, so my apologies for the low quality. *UPDATE* They're full resolution if you click on them.

Google sends me an email each month telling me how many miles I've traveled so far this year. As of December 1st I've accumulated some 87,159 miles of travel, roughly 3.5 times around the world. That's not as much as 2019, though, where I amassed 124,389 miles, or 4.9 times around the world. Mileage may vary from year to year, but suffice to say that this last decade has been spent with one foot in the air and one foot in the dirt. I can feel it, too. In my bones and in my eyes. A creaky noise and a glazed over appearance. Turns out riding fast motorcycles on islands in the middle of the Atlantic, or hiking massive sand dunes in Saudi Arabia with less than three hours of sleep takes a toll on the ol' skin and bones. But that's the shit people say when they're balls deep in something they allegedly love - the kind of complaining a business owner does when they're making more money than they have time to spend. A catch-22 if you will. With that, I'll leave you with yet another assortment of photos taken on my telephone over the last twelve-ish months. An amalgamation of experiences, from Siberia to the Serengeti, Verona to the Vegas-to-Reno, and beyond...