June 20, 2006

Guatemalan Market Goodies
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

A quick glance at the "essential" items that I picked up while in Guatemala.

Umbrella

It rains here—a lot. The US$3 umbrella that I bought in St. Vincent finally fell apart on me. This (slightly overpriced) replacement was Q$15 (about US$2). I could have had others for Q$10, but liked the look of this one. It's got some fun Japanese characters on the bottom that I'm going to ask my friend Makiko in Japan to translate for me.

Pocket Radio

This little fella is the Q$10 (US$1.30) replacement for my US$400 iPOD that was stolen. The two rechargeable AAA batteries used to power it are probably individually worth several times the amount paid for the device.

It's actually not that bad of a radio, and has kept me sane on rainy nights alone. Sure, the little beeping speaker that you'd find inside a desktop computer puts the one built into the unit to shame—is it possible to have a negative level of bass?—but I got use to listening to the type of audio range you'd hear in an elevator.

By far the most interesting thing I've pick up has been a broadcast of one my favorite movies, Empire of the Sun—dubbed over in Spanish and commercial breaks included. I don't know enough Spanish to really understand what they were saying, but I've seen the movie enough times to know exactly what scene it was by the character dialogue, sound effects, and (the great) score.

Watch

There's a clock I keep current in my camera, so I've never needed to wear a watch (yes, my camera always goes with me). But since the LCD busted on it a month ago, I've been hurting for a time piece.

Outside of enjoyable corporate fashion, I've never been much for wearing a watch (I would just pull the time off my cell phone). But ever since I saw the movie Kate & Leopold on a plush TICA bus from El Salvador to Guatemala, I knew exactly what I wanted—a pocket watch.

There's just something about a pocket watch I find attractive. They're discrete (a must), unusual, and have an interesting, sophisticated flare about them.

It took several weeks of market searching (dozens of markets, a thousand vendors) before I found one I liked enough to buy. Watches are really easy to find in Guatemala; pocket watches are much more difficult. Pocket watches that aren't a knock off gold color are even harder to find. And a pocket watch that isn't gold and doesn't have a ridiculous picture of a buggy or something on it is even harder yet. It wasn't a bad purchase for US$7.50.

I'm starting to develop an interest in antiquated time pieces, and have been keeping an eye out for little gems in markets that might have been overlooked by others.

Knife

This is my good friend, the "Delta Force Mango Peeler"—it goes everywhere with me. Shoel was sporting the same model when I met him in Honduras, and I liked it so much I searched for the same type in Guatemala. The blade is spring-loaded, and attaches securely (and visibly) inside my front pocket.

Bonus: Canon Easter Egg

Want to know a little unpublished secret? If you own a PowerShot camera, trying pushing and holding down the "FUNC. SET" button while you turn the camera on (push the power button). A hidden screen will pop up with the time in fun, rotating cubes. Use the left and right menu buttons to toggle the color!

Comments:

Erik

June 29th, 2006

Pocket watches! The first time I traveled overseas, I took my mom's old pocket watch she uses when in casinos. Heh. Simple, stainless steel. I hate wrist watches too, and lamented the lack of a cell phone. (Though next time I will have a GSM tri-band and it won't be an issue.)

I took it on several trips, so my mom bought me a *sigh* gold pocket watch of my own for some ocassion. I drag that one everywhere on trips too. :)

Nicaragua

Craig | travelvice.com

July 1st, 2006

That's awesome Erik

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