Monday, December 22, 2008

Tour of Las Tiendas

As I mentioned last week, I have been touring the local Latin stores for an article for Small Town Newspaper. The article and photos from the staff photographer won't be printed for a week or so, but here are the photos I took.

I only took photos at one store because it seemed odd to walk around the places snapping pictures and then trying to explain to the owner that I just wanted them for my blog. The store where I took these is owned by a Guatemalan man and his wife. The man speaks Spanish and some English, and his wife speaks K'ichee', a Guatemalan language. Of course, the husband speaks the same indigenous language. Their 16-year-old daughter speaks all three languages and helped translate with her mother when her father wasn't around. The daughter goes to high school, a first for anyone in the family, and they are all so proud.

Here is a plush blanket like the blankets they sell in a big stack. Local Guatemalans love them for some reason.

These boots are made out of artificial crocodile skin. Honestly, there are some cool ones there I would actually wear.

These things fascinate me. They are skirts typical of what women wear in rural Guatemala. They are hand-woven, and each region has its own weave, kind of like a tartan plaid. These are floor-length wrap skirts that are cinched up with an ornate belt, and they are very expensive. Most of these are about $200, but that's considered reasonable because a woman might only have two or three changes of clothing. Women are willing to save up for these skirts because they are durable and are like an investment.

These are pacayas. They look like icky sea creatures, but they're vegetables. You dip them in an egg batter, deep-fry them, and serve them over rice.

And this is a rack of dried peppers of all sorts. At the bottom of this shelving unit are bags of dried corn husks for tamales, but there are banana leaves in the fridge if you prefer those. And there is a small freezer that most stores would use to sell ice cream sandwiches or fudge pops, but this store uses it to sell the most amazing popsicles—tamarind, coconut, and mamey, this fascinating fruit that tastes a little like sweet potatoes and a little like sweet cherries. It's sad that I have lived all these years without tasting one of these incredible treats.

Back to that 16-year-old girl, here is her baby daughter who had spilled something on her pants. I took this picture while her father was out fetching a clean pair. I cropped out the mother because I didn't ask if I could post it here, but I don't think she'd mind letting you see her adorable baby.


dive said...

What a great photopost, Robyn.
I love those skirts and … ahem … I used to have some boots just like those when I was young.
So will you be popping back to try different foods?

Scout said...

I went back for some of the popsicles, but I'll need a recipe calling for something specific before I go back for anything else. Honestly, I think I'm more likely to shop at the Mexican stores instead of the Guatemalan.

Rich said...

I do like the wetsren style boot, Robyn. I think you would look great in a pair of those.

MmeBenaut said...

I'm going to try some tamarind one day. I do love those hand woven outfits; so colourful.