December 21st 1981

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Val in front of Santo Domingo church

We crawled out of bed at some appalling hour, before the sun had climbed above the surrounding hills.  Too early, in fact, to reclaim our bags from the café, since there was no life there yet.  Still, we packed up what we could, + then it wasn’t too long before coffee + our bags were forthcoming.  The bad news of the day was that Val had been visited by an attack of the runs again, + was now feeling very weak.  Some fortune tho’ – as we were walking away from the beach, there was a big tour bus waiting there, + some people we’d met (at the bakery) the day before, told us there was the chance of a lift… and after some waiting, so it proved, all the way to Pochutla (tho’ we did have to get out + walk for a while, during the roughest part.)  Once at Pochutla, I left Val at the bus station, + shot off to perform 3 major errands: 1.change some money – usual delay. 2.post our parcel – + did the guy there annoy me?  He wouldn’t even lend me a pen.  3.collect our film, + here the problem arose, since the shop was shut.  Immediate despondency on both our parts.  Pochutla is a hateful little town, + we wanted to get out as soon as possible.  No life, no soul, a horrible red + white church like a cinema.  We transferred our bags to a small café across the road, + then tried to decide what to do.  First tho’, I got us re-stocked with fruit.  And then the film shop opened! …but our film wasn’t there.  Two days, the guy said.  That meant a two-day wait, not one.  Yet we were reluctant to leave the film behind.  In the end, we decided to buy an envelope, stamp + address it, + ask the guy in the film shop to post it on.  A risk, but what else could we do?

Caught the 6 o’clock bus out to Santa Cruz – a great drive.  We were sat right in front, so could experience every curve.  And at one point, the bus had to drive 200 yards along + across a river.  In Salina Cruz, we had to find our own way to the bus station, + we got angry + despondent at the multitude of wrong directions.  However, found it, + slept on the floor.

Unsurprisingly, especially since you know this already, the film never appeared. A friend has commented that they would never send films through the post, but we never knew how long we would be away, and in the event it was just as well to see our films as we went, as we were then able to scrawl some details on the back; if we had left it till our return, we would have forgotten all of that. And after we did have our films back, we then took the precaution of sending film and negative home in separate parcels. And for the most part, that proved sensible.

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