In December I spent a Saturday afternoon in Santa Lucía, a sleepy hillside town just outside of Tegucigalpa. My visit was fortuitous: I visited Santa Lucía on the day of Saint Lucia. This immediately called to mind the Saint Lucia dress I had for my American Girl doll and the great Halloween of 1992(ish) on which date my American Girl doll and I wore matching Saint Lucia costumes, mine complete with a battery operated candlelit headpiece.
That afternoon in Santa Lucía the weather was perfect and we walked around the cobblestone streets admiring the views and browsing shops. I wandered into a small pottery studio and was somewhat surprised when no shopkeeper appeared to greet us. A friend walked out and searched for the owner who reluctantly appeared a few minutes later. I gathered a few items that I wanted to purchase — a couple of bowls and a wind chime — and then brought them to the young fellow. He looked at me awkwardly, then held up each item individually confirming my intent to purchase. He set the items down, then looked at me queerly and wandered out of the store to find newspaper to wrap up my purchases. I asked my friend if the items were not intended for sale or if I had unintentionally done something to offend the fellow, so as to account for his odd behavior. She said no, but then confirmed with the shopkeeper when he returned. The conversation took place in Spanish so I understood exactly none of it. My friend told me that the shopkeeper said that we’d done nothing wrong, but he asked her to tell me that I really shouldn’t buy the items from him because there was a town known for its (much better) pottery just down the road. He was 100% sincere which just made me more intent to purchase the subpar pottery. From then on, I referred to him at the underdog potter.
In January, I found my way to that town just down the road with the superior pottery. This place is know as Valle de Ángeles and it is just eight kilometers past Santa Lucía. The town is lovely with more handicraft shops than any tourist could possibly frequent in one visit. I picked up a hand embroidered weekend bag, pottery and maracas for my niece and nephew. If you are looking to get out of Tegucigalpa and pick up some souvenirs, this is the place to go. Even so, I do still recommend a visit to see the underdog potter in Santa Lucía .