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Monday, October 13, 2008

Snapshot

Johanna and I are standing just inside the street vendor's hut, full of jewelry in all shapes, sizes, colors, and metals. The streets are wet with rain, but now that it's stopped the humidity is quickly coming back. I've already bought what I wanted. I knew I could get him to go lower on the price, but my dad had given me 400 pesos to spend. It's hard to feel cheated when it wasn't your money in the first place, and besides, he flat out told us that because we speak Spanish, he would give us a better price. Johanna, however, refuses to back down. I know she wants her necklace, but she's making it difficult. She tells the vendor, Roberto, "I can use this money to buy lots of other things besides this necklace." He counters, "So can I, like food. For my children." She recoils laughingly, saying, "That's not fair!"
Roberto offers us some of his homemade tequila, which burns and stings and disinfects all at the same time. It smells like grass and leaves, and I wonder passingly if it's going to leave me huddled, sick and shaking, in the bathroom later on. Even after we've made our purchases and gone on to find somewhere to eat, I can feel the tequila burning in my throat and sinuses.
After a few more minutes of haggling, which includes story-telling and bragging and straight-up lying on both sides, Johanna gets her price. She thanks him, and apologizes for ripping him off. "Just a little," he says with a smile, and invites us to come back another day.