How many of us collect specific items or bring home mementos from our travels? Personally, I always bring home art, figurines, carved animals, or other items that catch my eye. Every time I go to Africa I get into trouble, because I want to bring home everything! I was even challenged by a good friend to only purchase a specific dollar amount of goods, however, I was honest and indicated I am not sure if I can keep that promise. I recently returned from a conference in Tanzania with a friend of mine and we took a few extra days to enjoy our surroundings. We explored the city of Dar es Salaam and traveled by ferry to the island of Zanzibar.
Dar es Salaam is a bustling city on the eastern coast of the continent of Africa in the country of Tanzania. If you love curios as they are referred, you may want to visit the Mwenge market. This is one of the best markets in Dar es Salaam where you can purchase carved works, famous Tingatinga paintings, fabric, Maasai cloth, etc. Tingatinga paintings are famous due to the distinct style and named after Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga who was born in Mozambique.
The country of Tanzania is famous for one of its most precious gems Tanzanite. The stone Tanzanite has only been found in the country of Tanzania and rarer than a diamond. Tanzanite is found in the Merlani foothills at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro. Tanzanite has a beautiful blue/violet hue and the deeper and clearer the stone the more value it holds.
The island of Zanzibar is an archipelago located in the Indian ocean east of Tanzania. Zanzibar is a treasure filled with fascinating history and incredible beaches. You cannot go to Zanzibar and not visit one of the many spice farms, Stone town, Prison Island, Jozani forest, or one of the many other sights to see. Prison island at one point served as a prison for rebellious slaves prior to selling them at the slave market in Stone town. Today, Prison island serves as a popular tourist resort.
While in Stone town, I ran across a gentleman who painted one of the most beautiful depictations of a Cheetah. The Cheetah looks alive, majestic, and looks at you with enduring eyes. This gifted young artist has captured the Cheetah in a mesmerizing manner. When I arrived at the shop, I saw many other beautiful paintings, however, this particular painting spoke to me. Now, this painting resides in the hallway and can be seen by many when entering my home.
My advice to you is to purchase whatever speaks to you and gives you joy whenever you reminisce about your adventure. It doesn’t have to be yet another Starbuck’s mug you purchase indicating which country or city you were in. It can be that scarf, t-shirt, or even that giraffe figurine carved out of ebony wood.
Share your favorite memento(s) you purchased while on vacation and explain why it may be significant to you.
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