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Trip Report Pastores Guatemala for Christmas Boots

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Yolkobsens headed back to Pastores Guatemala with a mission in mind: a Christmas present of custom-made boots for Mr. Y's wide gringo feet.

Having cased the boot capital of Guatemala a few weeks before, we had decided that a custom-made pair was the only way Mr. Y was going to get his feet upholstered in some fine leather offerings from this town, located about 10-minutes by chicken bus north of Antigua Guatemala.

The Calle Real is the main drag of this pueblo and almost all of the stores are devoted to making and selling the classic pointy, Cuban-heeled cowboy style boot. Although there are many more blunter-toed versions for sale as well, all of the already-made styles are designed for the narrow foot of the Guatemala hombre.

Mr.Y's first thoughts were for a two-skinned style, of which there were plenty at the many Pastores boot emporiums. You know the ones. Exactly, except mercifully they don't come with jingling spurs. We negotiated with a couple of places to see how much a pair of custom-made boots with yellow armadillo (always fake, usually rubberish plastic material) shoe and leather boot leg with florid stitching would cost if they had a blunter toe and wider foot bed. It came in around the 550Q mark (about $70 US).

After visiting a few stores, with Mrs. Y's limited Spanish serving to describe the custom-made "botas" husband had in mind, we fell upon Ranger Boots. This place sets itself apart from the other stores on the Calle Real strip in many ways. First, they had a good selection of wider boots with blunter toes and softer leather. Since they were so dark-tan handsome and had an immediate comfort in the fit, no drastic customization was required; only a Cuban heel and classic loopy design stitching were needed to satisfy Mr. Y's footwear fantasy. Mrs. Y was grateful the fake yellow armadillo motif was quietly forgotten. I thank Ranger Boots for this tender mercy.

We were also able to make our requirements easily understood since the salesman spoke very good English and understood what was wanted immediately. Once we had our order worked out, he apologized that the customizing would take a whole week, given the 15-days-before-Christmas rush. With the custom requirements, the total price tag for the botas was 390Q (about $50 US). These are high quality boots with leather soles, pliant agreeable leather and lots of enduring style. They are built to last many years.

We said there would be no problem returning for the boots the following week, especially since I had had enough time to try on a few pairs for myself. There's enough cowgirl left in met yet, even if I have to go back to properly size the boots with my orthodics inserted.

More joy came to Mr. Y on our return to our house in Antigua Guatemala. Once in the door he made straight for the Internet where he discovered a very similar pair, custom-made in Toronto, would cost, including tax, $340 (CDN/US pretty much the same, depending the day).

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