To all of my photography followers, you might be wondering just why all of my photos are so bad? When we sold off everything in Guatemala there were a few items we just couldn’t bear to lose. Among them were our diaries and my thousands of photos. We bundled them carefully and mailed them all back to a relative in California. Unfortunately, they never arrived. That was something that we would not find out for a few years. The good news, I guess, was that on one of our trips back home, I had culled out all of my rejects and thrown them in the trash. My father had the foresight to retrieve and save them. These rejects are images I have been scanning in and they have required quite a bit of repair. They are the ones that you are now seeing here in the blog.
Back to the travels, in the 70’s Honduras was like the wild west. It must have been like it was in the 1800’s in this country. It seemed like everyone had some scheme for making money. Some wanted us to invest in their goldmine, or smuggle Mayan artifacts or sell scarlet macaws, and these are just the ones that I can tell you about. Almost everyone had a gun, except of course us, but by then we were hardened adventure travelers so, of course we absolutely fell in love with the country.
On one of our trips to the La Mosquitia, in northern Honduras, I met the governor of the Department of Gracias Adios. It was an area filled mostly with swamp-land, savannas and jungles. Unlike many of the do-gooders who were trying to change the “primitive” people, Rainy and I admired their simple way of life. We were living with the Misquito Indians, learning their language and their style of building with the materials they had around them. We felt that we had many things to learn from them. Perhaps it was because of this that when we met the governor, he took a liking to us. It was reinforced especially when I taught him to swim. In exchange. he taught me to fire a pistol. He then wrote us a very official looking letter that simply said we were friends of his. He stamped it with a whole bunch of official looking stamps and then signed it with the flourish of his very ornate signature. With that letter we were able to get on any government plane, boat or truck for free. It was even good for a steep discount at many hotels and restaurants. We used it quite a bit during the next year of our stay in Honduras.
That me with some of the children of the governor of the Dept. of Gracias Adios
We had heard tales about the ancient Cuidad Blanco or “White City” hidden somewhere deep in the jungles of the La Mosquitia. By then we had developed many friendships in the area. National Geographic and the Smithsonian had tried to find it and failed, but one friend assured us that he could guide us right to it. So, we took a government plane to a dirt airstrip outside of the town of Puerto Lempira. There we waited almost 2 weeks for a four-wheel drive government truck to take us to the village of Mocoron. We brought with us a 50-pound bag of rice, a 25-pound bag of beans, a sack of salt, 25 D batteries and a box of 22 long rifle shells, and of course, a whole bunch of rolls of film. We hired 3 locals and their 25-foot long wooden dugout. We packed it up our supplies and headed out on the Rio Mocoron for the next “adventure of a lifetime.”
That’s when, right at the very start of our journey, I dropped my camera and bag in the murky water. It would be another year and a half before I could get my hands on another camera! AND, spoiler alert, it would be 2016 before the White City was actually found. Here is a short video from the guy who actually found it. I think that you will find it interesting.