Wednesday, September 24, 2008

B-b-b-b-b-uying Spree in the Souks!

Have you ever returned from a vacation and thought: "okay, so exactly what kind of crap souvenirs did I buy?" This thought just flashed through my mind as I unpacked all of my knick knacks aka trinkets aka chachskis from Morocco. In the heat of my buying binge deep in the souks of Marrakesh, I swore those bright little special somethings seemed like they were truly one of a kind, were made of real sterling silver, had never been duplicated, and would definitely be treasured by my great, great grandchildren. Why O why was I so focused on my next purchase, and not taking the opportunity to take in the smells and sites that were all around me?

Foreign lands will do that to you. Every single object you see holds the potential of a memory. The important thing is to not become the crazy bag lady of the country you are visiting, or have nothing but tagines to cuddle on early fall evenings.

(I don't have time to go to the gym, but hugging tagines, yes)

With that in mind, here are just a few tips for keeping your vacation souvenir spending in check. Ask yourself if you could potentially find or have actually seen that very item in a cart in your local mall, or being peddled by a street vendor downtown? Be honest with yourself. It's generally not worth the money if you didn't need to leave your own zip code to buy it. Also, is there a 95% chance that the item wasn't even manufactured in the city or country you are currently visiting. Yes, you can't know for sure, but one really easy move is to turn that sucker over. Is there a stamp that says "Made in China"? While it is potentially cool if you are actually in China, it isn't if you're in say, oh I don't know, Mexico (true story, didn't realize until I got home). Finally, do you actually have a spot in your house or apartment for this souvenir (or at least a friend to pawn it off on)? I disregarded this last tip, and now my new apartment could be mistaken for a Moroccan Kasbah (note the wee little camies standing guard).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This would have been amazing advice BEFORE you and I hit up that market in Puerto Vallarta!

"Is there a post office near here where I can ship things home? I am going to buy way more than I can carry."

LOVE that I spent $300 in a store where nothing cost more than $15!

- Meriel

I do enjoy bringing art home though. Wall space is usually much more abundant than shelf space (for me anyway).