Errand

I have a new guitar! I bought it yesterday at La Ciudadela, a craft market in downtown Mexico City. After visiting stall after stall, pulling down guitars and trying them out, I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of them. It didn’t help that the shopkeepers were hovering over me, eager to make a deal with the gringa tourist who was making quite a spectacle of herself by trying to hammer out the chords to Cielito Lindo. So when I eventually came upon these guys, hard at work carving and brushing sawdust off of a pair of guitars, I was intrigued.

Two guys Working In The Guitar Shop

I was also in a hurry, which is not a good thing when shopping for musical instruments – I had to get a guitar before my mariachi class that afternoon. So I did what I would do if I were, say, buying a last-minute melon before a party. I picked up guitars. I squeezed. I shook. I smelled. I strummed (I don’t usually do that with melons, but you get the idea). I found one I liked, at 850 pesos, or $85. I bargained lightly with the luthier, and felt satisfied when I got him to throw in a guitar bag for 50 pesos, or five bucks.

The Shopkeeper Working On A Guitar

He drilled a hole into the side of the guitar and screwed on a peg, so I could put a strap on it. “Being able to stand, sing, and strum is a requirement in any mariachi ensemble,” I told him, repeating the words of my mariachi maestro. The luthier smiled approvingly. While he worked, I looked at his heaps of guitar bodies, fretboards, nests of discarded strings, and cans filled with tuning pegs. The place smelled wonderful, like a cedar chest, and I’m glad to say my guitar still smells that way here in my apartment across town.

The Guitars

13 thoughts on “Errand

  1. HI Katie,
    I’m glad your mom sent us your blog site. I’ll get to do a little vicarious traveling! The guitars are beautiful. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve learned while in Mexico. We’ll have to have another generational gathering of the girls when you return.
    Love,
    Becky

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  2. Hi Katie,
    What a nice treat to actually see what you are doing and get a taste of Mexico too. Their music is beautiful and so are their insturments. It must be thrilling to buy your instrument from the actual maker, how cool!
    I just read Becky’s blog and I will ask her up on the 20th but doubt that she will be able to come. She is getting ready to retire from her job and has many last minute things to finish up.
    Sure enjoy getting a taste of your life now.
    Love, grandma

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  3. Hi Katie — We just moved to Mexico, and tomorrow I’m going to La Ciudadela to buy a guitar and get a double bass fixed! Anybody you would recommend?

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  4. I can attest to just how beautifully Katie Good plays her new strings! Rock on, chava. I will miss the impromptu concerts in DF.

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