The tianguis in La Penita de Jatelmba is held every Thursday, so today we decided to catch a collectivo and head over there and see what they had to offer. We walked into town and found the collectivo, an older Dodge passenger van waiting down by Lupita’s restaurant. We were the first ones on and as he turned around by the plaza, more people piled on. It was us and two couples from Ontario. A young girl climbed aboard by the Oxxo at the edge of town and when we passed a small village a few miles outside of Lo de Marcos, the driver stopped to load in three more. The collectivo vans act as group taxis, a better deal than a taxi but not as slow as the bus. We paid 25 pesos each for the ten mile drive along the narrow, jungle lined highway.
We were having trouble finding an ATM that actually worked. We started at the bank. When it wouldn’t recognize our bank cards, we tried the Coppel store and their machine had problems also. In order to stave off the frustration of non-performing cash machines, PJ did some retail therapy and grabbed a pair of funky sandals at the department store. Then we walked down the sidewalk and found an ATM that finally coughed up a few pesos. Crazy high processing fee. Good thing we have Charles Schwab checking that refunds all ATM costs and charges no foreign transaction fees. If you travel a lot check these guys out.
We stopped at a clean looking little outside cafe and ordered up some tortas. Hip spot with frappucinos and cappuccinos. Our sandwiches were made with the freshest artesan bolillos, nice and crunchy. Refueled and nourished, we strolled on down to the street fair and wandered the aisles looking for some kitchen pottery and some palm mats.
After checking out a few of the talavera booths, we returned to the first one and negotiated a deal for a water dispenser, soap dish and vase that match the other pieces we already have. The vase is for holding all of the cooking spoons, ladles and such. PJ spotted a bead curtain she had to have and we worked out a price on that.
From the tianguis, we walked down the block to the Maya hammock store and tried on a few high quality hammocks. The owner, Hala, is from Egypt and was totally gregarious and friendly. We spent about 40 minutes picking out the best hammock we could find and practicing tying the knot for typing it up. We also loaded up on other cool, random chotskes she had in her shop.
By now, we were getting pretty loaded down with purchases. I ran across the street to the fruteria to reload our bag of chia seeds. A half kilo for 30 pesos ($1.50), even cheaper than we paid in Mazatlan and that medio kilo has lasted us all the way until now. PJ finally found her straw mats at a general store and we were now officially overloaded. Rather than try to stuff all of our purchases and ourselves into a steaming collectivo, we hailed a taxi and with the rolled up palm mats sitting in the front seat like a third passenger we made our way down highway 200 back to the zen tower at El Pequeno Paraiso.
We set up a few of our new purchases and PJ took the dogs out while I hauled a new 20 liter garafon of water up the stairs to use with our new ceramic base. We placed two of the mats near the utility area to hide the water heater and the buckets and tools for the water tank.
A few doors down by the Tomatina Restaurant, their neighbors decided today was time for the big clean up and burning of giant trash fires. PJ was ready to call the non-existent fire department. I cooked up some locally caught sierra and we sat on the sky deck and watched the blazing bonfires. I spent the night writing while PJ organized the new stuff. Fun day of exploring and shopping.