From the Office and Backyard to the Road, Boat, or Plane–Backstories and
Side Stories While on Assignment. Updates on Personal Projects, Too.

Archive for July, 2007

I’m working on a piece about El Yunque, a mountain rainforest in Puerto Rico. We flew to the island in June and stayed five nights at the amazing La Galleria in Old San Juan, Here are some of Peter Frank’s images and the first few paragraphs of my story…


Two men from the staff at the Luquillo Aviary are talking about “guapo,” and the elder of the two, Don Santos Valdez – who looks scrappy and fit in his neatly tucked U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service uniform – starts shadow boxing. They are laughing now, saying “si, el guapo, el guapo,” and Javet Valet explains the word can mean many things, including “handsome” and “someone who has the guts to fight.”

High up in the mountain rainforest of Puerto Rico, the men are part of team working to restore to the wild one of the most endangered bird species in the world. Between captive and wild birds, the total population stands at about 200, all in the El Yunque rainforest.

This is careful work on the U.S. island territory that’s at once both rough and raw – with pitted dirt roads, legal cockfighting, and betting on the horse races held most afternoons – as well as being stunningly beautiful. Everywhere there are sherbet paint colors on the houses, sweet scents of tropical ginger flowers in the air, and deliciously simple dishes like arroz con pollo, sugary plantains, and whole fried snapper.


More to come… the story will be for a 2008 issue of the new magazine Garden & Gun,

– Sandy Lang, July 2007

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Travel, Wild animals and places

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