Savyasachi drove us to a village called Chichicastenango to do some shopping. As he was parking the car, he saw a middle-aged man nearby who had on a uniform. Savyasachi was under the impression that if he left the car there, this man would protect the car.
So we went to the market. At one place, I wanted to buy something. I bargained for about fifteen minutes, but it did not work. The man would not lower the price. So we went and ate. Then again I went back to that store. Alas, still my bargaining did not work. So I said, “I am not going to buy it.” We were fighting not for American five cents difference, but for their five cents! It is next to nothing! I wanted to buy ten sheets of paper. Finally, the man said, “If you buy two more sheets, you can get your original price.”
I said, “I am more than willing to buy twelve.” So I bought the paper.
We came back to the car and it was unharmed. As usual, Savyasachi gave the man a generous tip for guarding the car. However, the man was not satisfied. He said that because he was guarding the car, he did not go out for his lunch. He spoke English quite well.
So Savyasachi gave him more money, plus peanuts. Then, as we were getting ready to drive away, we saw that just by the side was a bank and he was the bank guard! When we first arrived, he told us that he guards the place and we thought he was there to guard the cars for people who are going to the market. That is why we gave him the money. Then he asked for more money because he did not go out to eat. We gave him a second time, only to discover that he was actually guarding the bank!
— 17 December 1997, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala