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Book Excerpts from Hey, Roberto Hu


We leave the hotel, and Patrick invites me for some small eclairs and coffee in a bakery. Emerging from the cafe, I am amazed to see so many buildings with gates and bars in front of the windows, and often barbed wire on top of the walls—like a prison in a movie. I guess it’s because of the extremes of poverty and riches. Still, what a way to live; who are the prisoners here? We see a spot to park near a produce truck. The proprietor has set up a stand and we choose from the assortment of tropical fruits on display, buying fresh, juicy mangos. I photograph an incredible-looking tree whose roots have completely overgrown a foundation and wall—hanging at least five feet over the wall. Take that, civilization! Think concrete will stop me? Think again!

The flatlands are hot, the complete opposite of the Andes. As we drive north on the freeway I see a bicycle approaching us going the wrong way. This really takes the cake—what is wrong with these people? All of a sudden I see an old light blue VW Bug in front of us carrying a bunch of plantains on a roof rack, tailgating a semi, which is pulling three other backwards-facing trucks stacked together like building blocks. I ask Patrick to hold the car steady as I snap several pictures of this spectacle.

VW Bug with Plantains

Fruit Stand, Caracas

Sign in the Andes