Tag: tourist

No price tag? Haggle your way to ownership

Sombrero Sale

Growing up in a world where businesses clearly mark their products with a price tag makes the idea of bickering over price something of a foreign language. In Mexico, if there is no price, make an offer. Prepare to haggle.

Sure, I’ve been on the purchasing end of a car enough times to realize the sticker price is what the dealer hopes you’re willing to pay. Do people actually pay it? I never have.

Still, there’s a recommended starting point. The salesman asks what you’re willing to pay, what monthly amount fits your budget. And the dance begins.

Walking into a shop stuffed with fired pottery, woven blankets and straw handbags is a different world. Not a single price point in sight.

The smiling salesperson helps you find the perfect pattern. He describes the five-step process required in crafting, painting and finishing the microwave, oven and dishwasher-safe serving dishes you’re admiring.

“How much?”


I’m not willing to spend that much on myself. It’s Christmastime, however, and I have no problem shoveling it out to purchase a gift.

Which is the wrong thing to do in Mexico. Never say “yes” to their first offer. But I’m a tourist, so I reach for my wallet.

Problem number one: I don’t have enough cash.

Problem number two: it will be 16 percent more if I use a credit card (because that is the amount of tax the government collects on every sale. Cash can exchange hands without El Presidente’s fingers getting in the pie).

Problem solved: We pool our money – after the suave salesman offers us a “deal” which includes another item my future daughter has been admiring.

Later, in a shop elsewhere on the plaza, I’ll find a similar set of pottery (not the pretty pattern I love) clearly marked with a $40 price tag. This is a larger store. They don’t want to haggle; they want to sell the products lining their shelves.

And yes, they add the tax. So $40 plus 16 percent in tax equals $46.40. Someone got a good deal today – and it wasn’t me.

I should have bartered, haggled, played “Let’s Make a Deal” Mexican style.

But instead, I played stupid tourist and some little shop owner had a profitable day. Even if mine was his only sale (which I doubt).

What about you? Do you like to haggle for a better price? Or does the simplicity of what you see is what you pay appeal to you?

Happy Birthday – from Cabo


“Happy birthday to me” *smiling and humming*

On this day in 19-something, my mother gave birth to me at St. John’s Hospital in Longview, WA. When my parents took me home a few days later, it was in a Christmas stocking.

My birthday has been shoved into the Christmas rush of parties, baking, family gatherings and shopping parades ever since.

This year? I’m in Cabo San Lucas for my birthday.

The sky is azure and the golden sun feels sweet kissing my winter-white skin. Everyone knows I’m a tourist. Hopefully, they can’t guess my age.

In truth, as I wrote this, the sun was shining outside my office window. The thermometer struggled to top 40 degrees. My hands turned purple and couldn’t melt an ice cube.

At the first of the month I gave my five reasons for skipping the whole Christmas season this year. Planning this trip to Mexico was part of my plan to disassociate myself with memories that made me sad.

Is it working? I’ll have to get back to you on that.

hope-youre-enjoyingAm I relaxing? On the beach or by the pool, I am quite comfortable in the tropical sunlight.

Tomorrow, I have to fly back to Portland. If it’s anything like other trips to sunny regions, it may be snowing when we get to the airport.

The one wearing shorts and shivering? That would be me – trying to hang on to my happy birthday memories just a little bit longer.

Maybe they didn’t sing you “Happy Birthday” in Cabo, but what is your favorite birthday memory?

World Travel in one long walk

Only in Las Vegas can you go from New York to Paris by crossing four pedestrian bridges and zero bodies of water. This is world travel at its least complex.
Bright blue sky accompanied our stroll down Las Vegas Boulevard on Monday morning. After registering at the conference at The Cosmopolitan, we began our tourist trek.
First stop involved viewing the water feature in front of the Aria. We recently saw this in the movie Last Vegas. Amazing and intricate. We’re certain it would be spectacular at night. Two thumbs up to the artist who synchronized those water and lights.
Down the street we gaped at the Brooklyn Bridge. I was thankful Godzilla didn’t make an appearance. My husband tried to get me on the roller coaster around the New York skyline. You all know I’m crazy but not insanely stupid. I did pose with Lady Liberty.
Since the sun isn’t scheduled to make an appearance the next few days, my husband was forced to sit by the pool with me for a couple hours in the afternoon. I was on a lounger and he sat in the shade. The wind blew shoes across the pool and lounge chairs into the water. Thankfully, no bodies attached in either case.
Once the sun set, we could visit the City of Light. I’ll post pictures of that on the blog tomorrow. My iPad is awesome, but the WordPress application less so. I’ll go online to my site where I know how to get more than one image up at a time.
Have you visited New York City? Paris? Las Vegas? Share a memory. That way we can all travel vicariously through you – so much less expensive.

Directionally Challenged

June 2013 029 I’m a hazard to myself when given charge of navigation. I admit it. After my most recent debacle, I’m ready for the 12-step program.

What might be the name of such a support group? Perennially Lost Anonymous?

It might not exist. Since future members couldn’t find the meeting location, organizers cancelled the meeting, assuming lack of interest. If they knew those of us who were directionally challenged, they would have made a bigger sign – sent out turn by turn directions. Okay, given us a tracking device – which is likely step one of the program.

Anyway, I had grand illusions of strolling through the art galleries in Munich while my husband worked. What else was there to do? I tried shopping, but I wasn’t really in the mood. *gasp*

I had a map. Alas, it didn’t have my actual destination on it, but how hard can it really be to locate an enormous art museum situated on a major thoroughfare?

Don’t answer that. Read more