Vida de Monte, Vida de Pueblo

There are times when I get exasperated with words because they so stubbornly resist translation. Embedded as they are in the landscape, in the experience, in the richness of a living language, they simply refuse to make it easy for the translator.  You look up two words in Spanish, monte–which means mount and pueblo–which means village and it seems clear enough.  But there is a world of meaning lost in the translation.

An approximation to “vida de monte” is “life in the wilderness”, or at least, life where there’s a whole lot more underbrush and overgrown vegetation and a whole lot less in the way of the comforts of the 21st Century.  Here are some pictures of what life in “el monte” is like:


The road gets destroyed by all the rocks that roll from the cascade in monsoon season.

DSCN2065And when the river meets the road, the road usually looses and it takes years for repairs to be made.


Coffee harvesters, indigenous people called Guambianos, gather around a pickup truck on the side of the road to turn over freshly picked beans and get paid


And homes perch precariously against the hill.

Pueblo means village, of course, but it also has an undertone of disdain–to say you lead a “vida de pueblo” means your world is small, not very sophisticated, filled with gossip; it’s more frayed and tattered than slick and new.  It looks like this

DSCN2073And like this


And if you need to do some shopping


This is about as good as it gets.

I’m headed to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow aware that I’m ready to be back and sad to leave la vida de pueblo and la vida de monte I get to live here.  God help me if I ever lose the ability to travel…

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