Shopping in Panajachel
Shopping wasn’t so exciting as it all blurred together after a while. Shop after shop, bargaining for the good price and then finding where the place was again that gave you the best price. All the places looked pretty much the same.
Eventually, we bought 400 hackysacks, hundreds of ‘friendship bracelets’, 50 pairs of shorts, five dozen hippie hats, some beautiful huipiles, some vests made of old huipiles, little woven pouches, purses, and on and on. it all added up to ten bags of 50 to 100 lbs each! Mostly, we bought things we could wholesale for $5 and a few higher-dollar items that were unusual. We decided that shipping it back to Maryland would be more expensive than taking it there ourselves.
A Lucky Van for Sale!
We needed a van. So we started looking for something, and as the Universe always seems to provide, there was a “South African Bush Doctor” from the UK that had been traveling for a couple of years and was now living in Guatemala who needed to go back and was ready to sell her Dodge Ram van that she bought in California.
She asked for a fair price, which was in decent shape, so the deal was made. All that had to happen was to send the title across the border in the dark of night to get it stamped that the transaction didn’t take place in Guatemala because they had a 50% tax. We found a lawyer who had ‘a service’ involving someone’s brother or cousin that was a border guard do all that for us. That took about a week, as I remember.
Learning from Ron
Ron was ready to go back to the states. But was stuck there in Guatemala. He offered a trade of teaching me his tie-dye methods in exchange for a ride back to the US and Arkansas. We figured, why not? It would help somebody in need, and it’s always good to have new skills to draw on. He showed me how to fold, crumple, and tie to get certain shapes, inject the dyes successfully into the good places, what dyes to use, and so much more! It was an education!
Visiting a Brothel
He told us about a brothel in Panajachel and suggested we all go there for a drink. He said it’s not the same as in the states, it’s ‘more of a social place’. So we figured, why not? Let’s go. It wasn’t much different from any other bar. In fact, there was not much going on at all.
We sat and had drinks, but unless I missed something, that was about it. As I remember, nobody approached us. Nobody was weird in any way. Just a regular night out. The location was off the path, and the decor was barren as we sat at a small table under the coconut palms.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
Another reason Ron had come to Panajachel was to find a legendary LSD lab that supposedly produced some of the best acid. So, he had bought some ‘trips’ to check it out, but wasn’t happy with the weak quality and wanted his money back. The cover business front made beautiful quilts. We were interested in the quilts and decided to go back with him to see them while he complained.
The quilts were of various sizes and beautiful designs, all psychedelic in their own way. We looked at them while Ron talked, but the conversation was not going well, no refunds. Donna had found a nice quilt that would be perfect in our new van, and we considered buying it. Ron said, “They owe me money they won’t give me. Take it! It’s yours!” So we walked right out of there with the quilt.
Poisonous Red Snake
On our way home, we saw a tiny red snake crossing the path. Ron bent over and started flicking at it, teasing it. A local family was passing the other way, and seeing this, they started warning us, “No, no!” and indicated that if it bites you, you die instantly! Ron said he knew that but snakes never bite him, and he gave it another flick. We then all walked on down the path to the compound. It was a lovely night.