3 March 2024

I found this fascinating

For a person sworn to minimalism, I have an unhealthy attraction towards cotton shirts made with some sorts of Mayan design. I first discovered it in a small village called Valladolid in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Next, I saw those shirts in Cabo San Lucas.

Last year in Feb, I saw those in El Salvador. And in Nov, I saw them in the markets in Cancun.

Of course, whenever I say “saw”, I mean “bought”. You will almost always see me with one of those shirts on unless it is winter.

What makes the shopping difficult is that I do not like Guyavera style pocket (bolsillos) and I want a full neck collar. Whenever, I see those, I pick up a few.

I have also learnt that I should be buying one size bigger since after a couple of machine washes the cotton shirts always shrink in size.

Last year, Leo in El Salvador had told me to buy them from Antigua. In fact, many of those shirts I bought in different Central American countries said “Made in Guatemala”.

That is the real reason why I came to Antigua. Or at least the main reason.

Tried out a few markets in Antigua. It was William who said that I should buy from the artisans directly. So, where are those artisans, I had asked him. All around the lake, he said.

And thus, here I am… in San Juan by Atitlan at a weaver’s place. And she is showing me how she does the weaving. The loom part, I understand. I asked her how does she make those bright colors. You can see all those cotton hanging on the wall.

This was the stunning part. All those colors are made using some plant or plant based parts!! Since it is Easter season, she volunteered to show how to make purple cotton. We started with pure white thread and then she showed how she makes the purple color from local plants. And then to bind the color, she used the juices that ooze from plantain trees. I tried to wash off the color after the treatment with water – to no avail.

One thing I forgot to mention – the starting points are either white cotton or brown cotton. Never knew that cotton can be brown in color too.

Now, I am a bit worried that I might have gone overboard. Sharmila might have a thing or two to say once she sees all the shirts I have bought. I do think all the comparisons she is bound to make about me ridiculing her for her trips to Sephora, Black Market White House and all that is not going to be fair. It is not like I can go back to Antigua every weekend like she goes to her places.

That said, I think I could have bought a few less.

Posted March 3, 2024 by Rajib Roy in category "Vacations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.