I’m fortunate to live on a 400 year old finca aka farm on the outskirts of Antigua, where there’s a large patch of perfect lawn to the side of my abode. The yard crew keeps it in perfect condition and there are scattered Mayan carvings left by the previous owners.
It occurred to me, a few months ago, that it would be perfect for a croquet layout but where to find a set in Guatemala? The answer? import one and I found what I thought was the perfect set on Ebay. The price was right ($29.95 used) and the shipping charges to my forwarding mail service in Florida reasonable ($30). I won the bid and waited anxiously for a few weeks. The local mail office called and said that I had a package. For which I could pick up and pay the freight charges: $70! Ouch! The costs were based on weight and air service, to which I hadn’t planned for (the six croquet balls of some impervious plastic were the culprits). Now I had a 2nd hand for somewhere around $120 and to make matters worse, aside from the regulation wickets and expensive but nicely colored balls, it was designed for children and not adults.
After a few weeks of head-scratching and asking questions, I found a nearby wood-working shop. Yes, they could replace the 24 inch shafts with something more adult-sized and of better wood. As the old title of the movie went, ‘For a few dollars more.’
The set came together and a day was planned: a perfect Sunday morning came along after the first rain-out (summer here is the rainy season and they call it winter.) Four friends were invited, Bloody Mary’s were mixed, snacks were laid out and the game began. None of had played for decades and one of the guests, a Guatemalan lady, had never heard of the game, much less swung a mallet.
We had fun, laughs and the rains held off. We had another match a few days ago: there’ll be others and it may be one of the few croquet events in Guatemala. Friends who play at the private tennis club next door noticed us and now they want to join also. Only in Antigua, where you never know what you’ll find, but if you have to import it, be careful.