Saturday, October 12, 2013

Boot Town -- A Trip to Pastores

At an embassy party the other night I was chatting with a woman about day trips from Guatemala City and she pointed to her husbands feet saying they had just picked up his handmade boots in a little town outside of Antigua. Whaaaaaaaat??? Handmade boooooooots??? Yep, but not just boots. This little town makes a living crafting all things leather from wallets, to belts, to shoes and of course all the horsey stuff that real vaqueros need like saddles, whips and bridles.

So the little town of Pastores immediately got added to my GT List. I think I need me some handmade Guatemalan leather boots. Off the shelf or made to order. For around $50.

Not even 3 days later I got an invite from another lovely lady to tag along with her and her Spanish teacher on a trip to Boot Town, as we've taken to calling it.

So off we went, meeting up with her teacher in Antigua who pointed the way along bumpy cobblestone streets past chuchos (stray dogs), brightly painted churches and through black clouds of exhaust from the chicken buses.

About 10 minutes outside of Antigua is Pastores. Nothing was open at 8:30am so we chilled out in a grubby little comedor with some plates of eggs, beans, platanos and tortillas. Side note: A comedor is a tiny cafe/restaurant that doubles as the lone bar in town, someone's living room and a sparsely-stocked convenience store. Other side note: next time I order coffee in Guate I will ask for it "sin azucar", I couldn't even taste the coffee it was so sweet, I'm talking at least 4 spoonfuls of sugar...

At 9am the town opened up for business and we strolled the main drag ducking in a few of the boot stores, trying on a few classic styles and finally haggling over a final price on a sweet pair of brown leather boots at a one-room shop named Botas Maria Jose. All in Spanish might I add. This was my first "regatear" experience and I'm proud to say I got him down from Q575 to Q500. Which I was super happy with because at the end of this deal I paid $63 for handmade leather boots and the kid working the shop seemed happy.

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