La Tigra by Daniela Caram
There is a space south of my heart that belongs to this place. “La Tigra” is the door to paradise. Back in the days it was savagely beautiful, but friendly enough for the foreigners to feel it like home. I will call it “La Tigra” to keep it secret and because there is a myth regarding its real name. A local told me once that the name of this place have its origins in the spanish female word for tiger “Tigra” because there was a time were you could listen to a big “Tigra” roar and watch her kittens “tigrillos” (ocelots) easily jumping from one side to another on the riverside. In the last 20 years I’ve been driving to it, it showed them to me only once.
La Tigra is my oasis in the middle of the desert. We have been together in the good and the bad:
The good times when we used to camp by the river, a place we used to call The Bronx where we hang our hammocks and place our tents. With a not so nice toilet for everyone, but with the privilege of waking up just in front of the main surf spot. We struggled with humidity and mosquitos but nothing seemed to worry us about that. We spent time with the locals, who open their houses for us and as the years passed by, many of us were invited to become godfather/mother to the local children. We made a lot of friends from all over the world along the way, some of them coming back every year. We partied under the stars feeling the heat of the bonfire on our feet. La Tigra used to have a big palm grove where you could listen to Tello’s concerts playing in the jukebox every night. I used to eat the most delicious fried shrimp quesadillas for breakfast with a privileged view of the waves.
The bad times when, for example in 2011 the indigenous fought against the “mestizos” (racially mixed) a term they used to everyone outside their community. Private interests and governments where trying to own a slice of this paradise and it turned into an armed conflict. It was dangerous, but we never stopped driving. We were there every weekend. The bad times ended up evolving from an indigenous reserve to a safe organized community with its own rules.
Those years made me grow. Made me realize the value of land itself. They introduced me to new cultures and showed me life in the countryside. They taught me that working as a team made them stronger than being separated. The river taught me about cycles because it had always a different shape. And its people, they taught me loyalty and bravery. It is because of them that La Tigra came back to normal and plenty of families can still enjoy the sunset behind the cactus.
This place is guilty for my love for Photography. For me it has been amazing to always find a different angle to capture its beauty. It inspired me and got me into surf photography starting by shooting friends, then clients and finally woke up my passion for empty lineups. Every morning I woke up with the roosters at dawn, and walked along the seaside watching the pink sunrise merge between the glassy blue of the ocean. It was me and my camera in the middle of nowhere.
This is the place that grew up with me, the only difference is that I grew up and luckily it still remains the same.