Yesterday, I met Hermano Carlos, a curandero, or witch doctor, from Guatemala.
One of the great botanicas in all LA, his place on Pico, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite streets in town.
His place is filled with soaps to Keep Hate Away, and aerosol sprays for love, and candles, Santa Muerte, San Simon, Jesus Malverde, and every kind of icon to ward off evil and welcome good luck and happiness. A lot of it’s made in China.
He said he’s been curing people since he was 5, and came here in 1988, fleeing Guatemala’s civil war.
Initially, he had some competition from El Indio Amazonico, a strange fellow who seemed to franchise out his curing shops and had several the last time I looked. But Carlos said those shops seem to be closing, so Hermano Carlos has more business. The recession hasn’t hurt either, as more people have come to him for help finding work.
He had to interrupt our chat to read the cards of a client who happened by. More later.