Lorena Says:

Cheaper By The Dozen

If you hate to shop or have a long list of friends and relatives to choose gifts for but find yourself running low on time and pesos, try ‘doing-the dozens’, Lorena’s sure-fire, low-cost method of buying souvenirs in bulk. For the price of one tourist blanket or carved onyx chess set you can stuff a shopping bag with colorful recuerdos (souvenirs). Here’s how it works:

As we travel and sightsee, Lorena watches shop windows and sidewalk stalls for small, distinctive souvenirs that can be purchased in bulk or by the dozen. Many of her choices can be used as decorations, party favors, jewelry or knickknacks. In Puerto Vallarta, for example, she spotted two inch high hand-painted parrots on wire-loop perches in a boutique. After asking the price, Lorena did some comparison shopping around town, then returned to the boutique and made an offer on, “tres docenas” (three dozen). (Doing-the-dozens is also a great way to learn the art of haggling.) After consulting with the owner, the salesgirl accepted the offer -- and helpfully wrapped each parrot in a twist of paper.


Once she’s gathered “a dozen of this and a dozen of that”, Lorena packs her souvenirs in baskets (also for gifts). At home, she’ll spread her treasures out on a bright tortilla cloth and invite friends and relatives to choose their own souvenir-gifts. Some favorites: painted wooden fish and birds, tiny opal turtles, tin boxes, Christmas ornaments, Day Of The Dead figurines, straw birds, jewelry of wire and beads, tiny thread dolls, handpainted greeting cards, handmade dollhouse miniatures, woven coin purses and yarn friendship bracelets.

Do you know someone who studies or teaches Spanish? For a great gift, pick up a stack of inexpensive used comic books, illustrated telenovelas (soap opera comics) and assorted magazines at a small book shop or magazine kiosk. Mexican publications make cheap study aids but they’re very hard to find in the US

The People's Guide to Mexico

Excerpted from
The People's Guide to Mexico
©1972-2000 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens
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