Don't Be Afraid to Bargain
Favorite thing: Bargaining in many of the craft shops/stalls in Chichi is totally expected. When asked, the shop/stall keeper will give you a price that is more than they are expecting to get. Don't be afraid to counter with an offer that is less than 50% lower than the initial price. Eventually you will arrive at a mutually agreed to price somewhere in the middle that is fair for both of you. Sure, you can probably afford to pay the initial price and you're totally fine in paying it but you'd be missing out on the fun of bargaining! Keep in mind that some items are more difficult to bargain for due to the effort and skill in making them, such as hand-embroidered huipils (women's blouses) and the like. When you counter the shopkeeper will simply state why they can't go lower. In a lot of ways it's also an educational experience because you'll learn more about the item and how it's made.
My bargaining tips:
1. Check around and compare prices to get a feel for what things should cost.
2. Decide before asking ("Cuanto cuesta?" or "Cuanto vale?") how much you're prepared to spend.
3. Be prepared to walk away if you can't get the price you want. Many times the shopkeeper will cave in or further reduce his/her price in an effort to not lose a potential sale.
4. Above all, have fun!
Staying in touch
Favorite thing: Just behind the main square on the eastern end of town, there is a little courtyard off of the road that has a few shops, a cafe and an internet cafe that is an inexpensive way to stay in touch with relatives back home.
Iglesia Santo Tomas from a distance
Favorite thing: Iglesia Santo Tomas as seen from the other side of the market. We left the market late in the afternoon to continue on to San Juan Cotzal were we would be helping build a new community named Belen. Learn more about this project at my San Juan Cotzal Page.
Boy on the door step
Favorite thing: As we were walking from the hotel to the city center we passed this house and my friend, Nancy Allen, captured this wonderful picture of a young boy who had just gotten out of bed.