Point of Sale all over the World
What was the saying about your Visa card not being good here? Well, in Coban Guatemala, your Visa may be good but it might just be used in different types of point of sale transactions. The lack of places that you need to spend large amounts of money is invigorating, but when you find just what you want, you might be surprised at just how deep technology permeates this planet Earth. You'll certainly find things to buy in your Coban travels, and you might notice that many of your point of sales transactions are a lot like those you'd experience if vacationing in a more popular, more commercial location. The variety of activities is vast but the types of activities are of a much slower, less typical tourist variety.
Here you will find that buying mementos is much different than buying them, let us say, on a Caribbean Island. There you will find store fronts that have your shot glasses and t-shirts with a tacky saying about being on vacation and you will pay for it all at a typical check out counter using a credit card reader or another technology based system tied to the internet for speed of transaction.
While there are things to do in Coban that require money, you might find quite different point of sales systems. While street vendors aren't using many bar codes for their items, the more modern shops and stors have certainly adopted technology. If you happen to travel there, take careful note of the contrast between typical businesses and the technology they use to conduct a point of sales transaction. In open markets and on the streets, you might find the lack of technology alarming, while just up the road you can find a computer based credit card terminal that rings you up when you decide to enjoy the local Coban activities and take in the colorful dress and flourishing Mayan influence throughout the countryside.
Whatever the system of making a transaction, the variety of activities to enjoy is vast and unique. You can spend your days enjoying the countryside with the lush flora and fauna and the large array of orchids. Or you can take in the local culture of the Mayan people and see the artifacts and learn the history of the peoples of Central America. There are beautiful places to have picnics and swim in pristine waters at the base of waterfalls coming out of the side of a hill. The colorful clothing and local architecture make for a photographer's paradise. The people may be a little hesitant to warm up but you will find once you attempt to say hello and thank you in their language they will be friendly and fun. The dominant language of the Alta Verapaz is Q'eqch'i and Pocomchi, not Spanish. There are helpful hints in travel books to get you to please and thank you.
The one thing you can find to spend your money on in this area is the coffee. This is the center of Guatemala's gourmet coffee growing region - and you'll find lots of point of sale terminals eager to get hold of your credit card. To enjoy the best coffee in the world, find out about the Coban bus schedules and tour the countryside to find your favorite coffee beans. It's a bit like traveling the wine country only you will be in the clouds some of the time and the buses will be of a much more interesting colorful type than that found in California. The growers won't have the setups like in the wine country where you can try the different varieties and then buy a case of this and that and have it shipped. You will taste the local coffees and have an experience of a lifetime, relaxed and with no pressure to have to do anything. But when you decide to pick up a pound or two of your favorite, make note of the point of sale equipment used. Even in this vastly different place, a great many threads run common through just about any cultural and geographic divides!
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