I have great admiration for the vendors who ply their trade on the beaches of Mexico. But the ones I affectionately call the Hat Men are very special to me. Their stamina and determination seem to know no bounds as day after day they make their way up and down the beach selling their wares.
1) The first hat man that I photographed (above) fascinated me. His hats leaned precariously at times but they never fell off. He always walked toward La Peñita and often there are no tourists in sight, but every morning he would return and retrace his steps.
2) Many of the hat men are dressed in exactly the same way: White shirt, blue jeans and street shoes. On an overcast day this hat man is optimistically carrying a large selection of hats and beach bags to sell to the tourists up at the all-inclusive.
3) This hat man carries the large floppy brimmed sombreros that are popular among the tourists. He is also carrying woven beach bags, the makings for masks and some beach jewelry to further entice his potential customers. Alicia’s bar is a regular stop for him and he is seen here listening to Coral regale her customers with her usual deadpan humour while awaiting his opportunity to ply his trade.
4) Tall and proud this hat man is usually one of the first vendors on the beach. He sells umbrellas, chairs, beach mats and hats; everything you need for a perfect day at the beach. He seems happy but if you are merely taking his photograph and not buying something you won’t get a smile from this hat man.
5) This is the vendor I call the handsome hat man. His rugged face is weathered and leathery from selling hats in the sun but he is nevertheless strikingly handsome. On his head he has a large number of traditional sombreros and he is also carrying an assortment of tropical fedoras. He is friendly but his eyes convey a skepticism when you tell him that you will buy a hat from him “mañana.”
by Lilianne Fuller
Lilianne is from Langley, BC and visits the Jaltemba Bay area for 5 weeks every year.
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