Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Teotitlan de Valle

As I have mentioned before, many of the villages in Oaxaca specialize in a particular craft. In Teotilian it is the weaving of rugs. The man who demonstrated how the rugs are weaved mentioned over and over the quality of the dye, which is all natural. He said, "Sure there are cheaper products being sold on the streets of Oaxaca, but the quality is not as good. Here in Teotitlan we go into the countryside and find the flowers, seeds, stems that produce the colours that make our rugs so beautiful."

I will digress for a moment, those were not his exact words, for he spoke in Spanish. But I understood because the language I'm hearing and speaking all day is Spanish. Heidi told me I'm understanding because I'm thinking in Spanish. Well, not exactly, most of my thinking is, and will always be, in English. But when listening and speaking to Spanish speakers I'm thinking in Spanish

Naturally there is an expectation by the village artisans that we make a purchase. The weavers of Teotitlan are weavers of rugs, but they were also selling blouses, handbags etc.

The day before I had purchased, in the mercado along side the Santo Domingo cultural center in downtown Oaxaca, a cloth embroidered handbag large enough to carry all essentials (camera, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, map, reading glasses etc. ) for $150 pesos.

There was a similar bag for the price of $200 pesos for sale in Teotitlan. Laura thought she'd purchase it.

"How much did you pay?" she asked.

"$150 pesos." I answer.

"Ah, but the dye will run the first time you wash it, the colors will all disappear because the dyes are not natural." the man tells us.

Laura kind of believes him. But, she barters. She pays $180 pesos for a bolsa (bag) that is a different color, but the same design as the one I purchased the day before.

At Hierve El Agua Laura places her damp T-shirt atop her new bag. The dye runs off the bag onto her T-shirt. Now her pale yellow T-shirt has a purple stain. We laugh, but she feels ripped off. "I'm mad," she says.

No comments: