Tijuana Stories and Tips

5 - Bartering for Lizards

The alley appeared to curve, but further back, a small cul-de-sac held a fountain and several shops. One sold metal lizards to hang on your wall, and the proprietress was more than willing to make a deal with me for a beautiful blue iguana that I wanted for the side of my own iguana's cage.

"For you, only seven dollars," she began.

"I only have five," I said, taking out a five-dollar bill. It was a lie, but then again, so was her initial offering "just for me".

"All right. Today only. Five dollars. For you."

Shopping in Tijuana has a sort of thrill of the chase that you don't get up north, where the price tags are pretty much the bottom line.

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Our guidebook mentioned an art gallery.

The accompanying photos were full of color and light, and I wanted to see. So we wound our way back after haggling -- and buying -- a god and turquoise ring that Henry liked on my hand. ("Now you are engaged in Mexico!" the shopkeeper said as Henry slipped the ring on my finger. "Only in Mexico?" Henry answered.)

We found it on Revolucion, hidden away between a drugstore and a serappe shop.

I was dazzled. The store had painted furniture and gorgous wallhangings, and in a locked case, my newest obsession.

Oaxacan (wa-HAH-kin) art is carved wood and hardened leather, painted brightly in figures of insects, animals, and people. The store was vastly overpriced with a sign posted that said that prices were firm (no haggling, American style), and I ended up buying nothing. It planted a seed, though, that I've been indulging on Ebay since.

Just what I needed. Another obsession.


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