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When traveling, Leah and I are not big spenders. To be fair, we’re not big spenders anytime, which is one lifestyle choice that has helped us be able to afford seeing the world, as explained in our series’ first booklet, “1. How we made our travel dreams come true.”
We will make careful purchases, however, and usually manage to take home a memento of the trip. That’s sometimes easier than others.
Take the summer of 1994.
We took a week off, along with our 12-year-old daughter, Erin, to hop down the Texas coast, making stops from Matagorda to South Padre Island. Before proceeding up the valley and turning back toward home, we spent a day strolling the streets of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
We had no agenda other than to see what we could find and chose to walk across from Brownsville rather than drive. Soon after entering the country, we came across a few locals selling souvenirs. Most certainly, knowing how Leah enjoys engaging people, she admired a colorful hammock offered by one young man.
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We had a nice back yard, but a hammock was nothing we’d ever envisioned there. Soon enough, we declined and went on our way.
We went not alone, however, as the young man continued making his pitch with what English he knew. Finally, we opted to go into a store in order to lose him. He wasn’t a pest, really, but we did not want to mislead him into thinking he might be able to make a sale.
When we emerged from the store, he was waiting for us, featuring a new, lower price. We said, “No,” again, but still he followed.
We had a couple of appropriately distanced oak trees in our back yard, but we weren’t really hammock-using people. We continued to decline.
This little drama continued to play itself out through a number of stops and we tried to convince him he was wasting his time before we left the sidewalk yet again, this time for a longer lunch stop. Surely, we thought, he will not wait the entire time it takes to eat a meal.
While enjoying lunch, we naturally talked about the hammock salesman. One had to admire his conviction. The price he had reached seemed fair enough.
Besides, it would look lovely strung between the two oak trees in our back yard.
Sure enough, he was waiting for us after lunch, pitching the best price yet.
(If this got you dreaming of snoozing in a hammock, here’s one that looks like what we purchased. According to the product description, it’s handmade by a family business in Yucatan, Mexico.)