Let me just start by saying that I object to the way that the editors have named this piece. I am not a tightwad. I just happen to have a vested interest in economizing at every opportunity, which results in me being rather careful with my quetzales. That’s all. I hope that you can see the distinction. Having been around Xela for some time (and having been careful with my quetzales for even longer), I’ve noticed that there are a few bargains to be had and over the months, I’ll be sharing them with you. Let’s get the ball rolling with a few old-time favorites:
In the Used Clothing Category:
Every Bargain Hunter loves second hand clothes. Why pay $150 for a pair of jeans when you can pay $1.50? But I see so many misguided souls rummaging through the second hand stores in Zone One – it almost breaks my thrifty little heart. What you folks want to do is get out to the Minerva Market, in front of the bus terminal. Big mounds of clothes, prices starting at one quetzal. Let me repeat: One quetzal.
In the Snack Category:
Even economizers have to eat, damn this cursed stomach to hell, and even worse, sometimes we have to snack. Moments like these, it’s good to remember that there are empanadas going for Q2 at Comida Taiwanesa down on the corner of 8 Calle and 9 Av.
In the Home Entertainment Category:
Budget watchers from all over the world know that there is no better nightlife option than sliding in a pirated DVD and sitting back with a bottle of home-made rum. Still paying Q25+ for your discs in La Demo? Shame on you, people. Go and hook up with my man who sets up out front of the La Democracia bus stop… every disc goes for Q10. Now that’s puro crema.
A block from the theater, at 14 Avenida, this restaurant is known for its breakfasts and burritos and also serves up sizeable, satisfying meals for Q15. What’s more, you can actually choose from a list of five or more options. The strongest argument for this place is its clientele; if a restaurant is packed with Guatemaltecos, as Deli Crepe usually is, it’s guaranteed to be good.
Now I know that everyone has told you and your delicate digestive system to stay away from these stalls, and they’re probably right. That said, if your stomach can handle street food, or if you’ve just gotten used to your explosive diahrrea, you can pick up any number of inexpensive, tasty little treats walking through the maze of carts at the southeast end of the park.
I pinch myself every time I sit down for a lunch here, partly due to masochistic tendencies, but mainly because this deal is too good to be true. For Q20, you get fresh-squeezed juice,a basket of bread, some vegetable-based soup, an ever-changing but always delicious entree, and fruit for dessert. A bit pricier than the others, but a cheap meal at this wonderful restaurant is still probably the best deal in town.