We've had our eye on this special type of Guatemalan hand-carved furniture for the past 3 years. Several of our friends have had different types of this furniture around their homes and we've always admired it. Each year, a couple of guys arrive in La Ceiba and park along the side of the road selling their furniture for just a week or two. The style is characterized by thick carving in heavy pieces of cypress wood. The pieces are then finished- not with a normal wood stain, but with shoe polish. The effect is a unique, ornately carved piece of furniture.
We had heard rumors that it was possible to bargain for a good deal, but for the past 2 years have had no luck locating these guys. Finally, for the past two weeks, we've noticed the guys were camped out in their truck selling their wares on the side of the road, just a 3 minute walk from our front door. Yesterday we pulled out all the stops and bought all of our dream pieces. Two hours later, the big truck parked in front of our house and unloaded our purchases. We now have grown-up matching furniture, all for a very affordable price.
How affordable can 8 pieces of beautifully hand carved furniture be, you might ask? Well, individually, the asking price came to about $700 for everything we dreamed of buying. Tom's bargaining skills (and the fact that the men are packing up and leaving town tomorrow) brought the price down to $425. Now I know this may sound like a lot to spend on a random afternoon whim (Merry Christmas, Tom!), but here's what we bought:
6 foot tall bookshelf,
3.5 foot tall accent bookshelf
giant cabinet-type thing (we'll use for our stereo and board games)
2 matching end/accent tables
large picture frame
AND the best thing of all...
this awesome rocking horse! (to be tied up with a red bow and put under the Christmas tree for Zeke- don't tell him!)
It seems like people living abroad should try to think about going light on the furniture, since you have to move it around. Luckily, our employer is in the big banana boat business, and we get free shipping for our household goods when we're on our way out of here someday. What a fun day!