To Buy or Not to Buy: A Souvenir, Memento, Keepsake, or Token

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No matter where you go in the world there is someone somewhere selling souvenirs.  We typically purchase them as a token to remember the time spent in the locale or bring back mementos to share with family and friends. The tourism industry is booming and accounts for one of the world’s largest industries. In 2016 over $7.6 trillion US dollars were spent on accommodations, transportation, entertainment, attractions, etc.

Our approach to purchasing souvenirs is not to just buy anything, however, to buy those souvenirs of greater quality and value. I have realized over the years some of the cheap little trinkets don’t last very long and tend to be disappointing. Please when purchasing souvenirs member to pay attention to the quality of the items.

On my trips to different African countries, I have landed some beautiful pieces and items I will have for a lifetime. For example, in South Africa we have purchased beautiful jewelry, artwork, walking sticks, textiles, wood carved chairs, decorated ostrich eggs, ostrich leather (bags, shoes, belts, etc). crocodile leather items (belts, bags, shoes, etc.), masks, and would carved items. One of my favorite wood carved items is this rhinoceros we purchased in the Green Market Square in Cape Town. You can see the beautiful texture on the rhinoceros to create a life-like effect. The rhinoceros is heavy since it is carved from solid wood, but again this is one of those pieces we will have forever.

Our trip to Egypt boasted some beautiful pieces such as gold jewelry, paintings, figurines, etc. however, the most beautiful piece is a lapis sarcophagus. The sarcophagus is a small replication of a life-size sarcophagus used in ancient times to bury the dead. The main purpose of the sarcophagus was to protect the corpus and served as an important religious role through the shape and decoration. Within the sarcophagus are replicated canopic jars (four in number) to keep human organs: such as the stomach, intestines, lungs, and liver, which were all believed would be needed in the afterlife. There was no jar for the heart as the Egyptians believed it to be the seat of the soul, therefore it was left inside the body.

Mauritius is a beautiful island country a part of the continent of Africa just east of Madagascar. Mauritius has great weather, beautiful beaches, excellent seafood, warm and friendly people, and they take pride in the quality of the items they sell. Mauritius exports clothing, textiles, sugar, cut flowers, molasses, fish, radio transmission equipment, and now rum. Many of the items I purchased while in Mauritius include pashminas, t-shirts, clothing, sugar, weaved bags, and rum. While visiting one of my favorite items are the pashminas, which are colorful and are plentiful on the island. Pashminas are made of cashmere wool, which comes from several different types of mountain goats.

On a trip to Senegal, I was able to pick up several beautiful pieces such as clothing, cloth, paintings, wood figurines, walking stick, jewelry, masks, etc.  My favorite item I purchased is a figurine of a man carrying water made of solid ebony wood. The craftmanship is beautiful and we will enjoy the piece for a lifetime to come. Senegal is a special place filled with history and is growing exponentially. Senegal’s main exports are fish, gold, and oil. It is one of those countries you should watch closely as they are in the process of electing a new President, which could drive the future decisions of the country.

Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures and/or video those are some best souvenirs you can have.

My advice when purchasing souvenirs is to ensure you are getting good quality items that will last. In addition, ensure you prepare yourself beforehand to bring all your items back with you. It doesn’t mean you need 5 bags just to bring back souvenirs, however, you need to know how to pack smart. If any of you travelers have any questions about souvenirs and how to pack, please reach out below by making a comment and I will respond. Happy Travels!

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Roseland Hupp

Roseland Hupp

I am Roseland, and I travel, write, and take plenty of photos of different cities and countries I have travelled to around the world. My blog is for everyone who yearns to travel and learn about the diverse countries of the world. Subscribers to this blog will gain unique insight to travel through hands-on interactions rather than a hands-off perspective of a being a foreigner in a new land. Each post will reflect the truth of the locale it represents without any sugar coating added. You can learn more about me here.

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