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Careful what you say! There we were glad to have gotten away from Antigua and to be in more laid back Panajachel. We were enjoying a walk down the main road and heading down to the lake (Lake Atitlan). Walking down Santander is a bit weird. The road is flanked and jam packed with artisan stalls, it’s a bit much really. On top of that, there are kids, Maya women, and men walking around with products they want YOU to buy. Lots and lots of products and quite cheap price wise!

An alley off Calle Santander, full of textiles, carvings, paintings

An alley off Calle Santander, full of textiles, carvings, paintings

I've included this shot because I liked the group of Maya women seated in the background.

I've included this shot because I liked the group of Maya women seated in the background.

You know how it is, you get to a new place and you just want to walk around, to absorb it, to admire it. So here comes this little Maya woman (at almost 5’3″ I’m kinda tall here!) with a gold capped tooth and she’s got a mound of fabric slung over her shoulder and one textile piece open for me to admire. “Very good price for you” she says, “look…what colour you like”. So I said “no, gracias, mas tarde, mas tarde” (later, later) which I think I kinda meant.

And sure enough, later that evening we’re walking around again and we see the same woman. She very clearly remembered me saying “mas tarde” and with a huge smile she reminded me that I said so. Unfortunately she didn’t have anything I liked, so I only bought a muñeca (a little doll that you put under the pillow and that will take care of your worries). I had to because I had practically promised her!

Anyway, next morning we’re walking around. Again! I mean what else do you do? And she spotted me once again and she goes “Me Juanita, yesterday you say “mas tarde, mas tarde, yes, me Juanita…” Wow, hang on there little woman, I didn’t know “mas tarde” carried on for ever and ever. So now I reminded her that yes I said that but that was yesterday and I bought a muneca. Remember? She had the same stuff as yesterday, so I really wasn’t interested but then she asked if I could buy her a coke, so yes I said, no problem. This seller from Pana was persistent but sweet!

Here I just bought a Pepsi for Juanita, weird shot but you can see how much stuff she's carrying

Here I just bought a Pepsi for Juanita, weird shot but you can see how much stuff she's carrying

Now as a sidebar, a local said that you should be careful when you buy them something because they won’t forget it and will keep on expecting you to buy them a pepsi for ever. That was a bit negative for me because I did appreciate Juanita’s efforts.

Here's the muneca I bought from Juanita, they're usually 6 Quetzales but I paid 10 Q. That's OK, not a big difference. Munecas are worry dolls, you put them under your pillow when you go to bed and they take your worries away. The are Maya women that carry babies and baskets or other parcels on their head. When you buy, they usually have magnets so tourists can put them on the fridge - a modern use as most people don't know what they stand for.

Here's the muñeca I bought from Juanita, they're usually 6 Quetzales but I paid 10 Q. That's OK, not a big difference. Muñecas are worry dolls, you put them under your pillow when you go to bed and they take your worries away. They are Maya women that carry babies and baskets or other parcels on their head. When you buy them, they usually have magnets so tourists can put them on the fridge - a modern use.

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