True artisans...

Tomorrow we will be going from El Calafate to the Monte Leon national park on the Atlantic coast. This is a 6 hour drive on unpaved roads and we wanted to take along yerba mate. missing the required gear (gourd and bombilla) i set out to get us a set:

El Calaftate being a tourist town and this being Argentinia every second shop in the centre sells mate sets with either the name of the town the province, the country or good knows what other touristic symbol (penguins, wales, gauchos, Diego, Che, evita, sheep, etc…) or imagined proof of autenticity inscribed or engraved on it.

All i wanted though was a simple mate set with no added bullshit on it. I finally found a stall in the artisans passage of the high street. Someone was hand-decorating wooden gourds and he had a couple of plain ones that he used a raw material. When i asked them how much one of the plain ones was he told me that they are not for sale because he had yet to decorate them. i told him that i wanted a plain one and that i would pay the same price as for a decorated one, but he refused to sell it. I asked him ‘why?’ and he replied ‘because we are artisans’.

I have always detested hand crafted stuff exactly because of this almost missionary drive of the craftspeople to unleash amateurish decorations on the rest of humankind and i have never understood why at least half of the worlds toursits buy this kind of crap and take it home.

One more reason why i am glad to be born after the industrial revolution.

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