There are some very cool stores in Sayulita. One place often overlooked is the Galería Tanana, which I wrote about in the September 2008 issue of National Geographic Traveler. The gallery, founded by Susana Valadez, carries art made by local Huichol (pronounced “wee-chol”) Indians. The Huichol are the folks who use peyote as a sacred form of enlightenment (they believe that snakes bring rain and that they can talk to deer and wolves). I’m not sure I’m ready to get behind all that, but I like the art that some of their spiritual “trips” have encouraged. Like the brightly beaded jaguar heads they sell in the Sayulita store.
Directly across the street from Galería Tanana is a shop with a decidedly Paul Bowles feel to it. I think the gay guy that owns it gets most of his stuff from Morocco—pointed slippers and caftans and over-sized furniture.
But my favorite store is Gypsy Galería. It’s run by a couple of ex-pats—a mom/daughter team. I think the way it works is that Mom is usually traveling around Mexico looking for things to carry in the shop and the daughter lives in Sayulita and is stuck behind the counter in the store.
Anyway, they just have a lot of cool stuff, from those vintage-looking cerveza beer trays (Corona used three models: Rosalinda, Tehuana, and Tapatio; the girl above wearing the red sombrero is Tapatio) to milagro-studded crosses, which I happen to collect (I’ve got a wall full of them in the Virgin of Guadalupe guest room in my house near Bucerias).
Every time I stop by the Gypsy, I pick up something new. Yesterday it was a retablo—a small oil painting, on zinc, of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Looking a little suspicious of the things going on around her. Which I will hang on the blue wall in my guest room. To, you know, keep an eye on things.