In recent years we’ve been bringing back less and less souvenirs from our trips. On many of them we don’t even buy a single thing. We do like to get Lucas a little toy during our travels so he has something new and exciting to play with. We also bring back some local snacks on occasion but I’m not really sure if that would be considered a souvenir since they get consumed, eliminating the collectable aspect.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a look back into the past on Michael W Travels with a Flashback Friday.
Today I’ll be posting the first Flashback Friday of 2014. The topic has to do with one of my favorite things to buy while traveling- local & traditional hats. Besides buying a little something for Lucas on our trips, I try to avoid buying souvenirs. The only thing that I will still seek out are hats.
Here is the post:
Shop For A Hat, Get in the Local Paper- Vienna, Austria
This post was originally published on April 27, 2012.
Over the past few years I’ve been bringing back less and less from my trips. This could probably be due to a couple of reasons. First would be that many of the souvenirs I’ve been seeing lately don’t really feel authentic or special anymore. The other reason would be Lucas. Extra space in my bag is now reserved for his things. On recent trips I’ve been finding myself looking in shops catering more towards kids. We now have a few smalls toy from around the world instead of more crappy souvenirs.
However there are times that we buy a small souvenir more for the memory than the actual item. One such occassion for me was while on Easter Island. We visited quite possibly the oddest place imagined to go souvenir shopping- the local jail.
I was asked by travel clothing company SCOTTEVEST/ SeV to write an article for their weekly Pocket Guide newsletter. I am happy to announce that this post will be featured there!
Over the years I’ve definitely slowed down on buying souvenirs on my trips. It seems like you see the same trinkets and junk for sale all over the world. However, I still do like to try to bring a little something back (to Kim’s dismay!) with me to remember the countries I’ve visited. Things that I collect are masks, traditional hats, shot glasses (silly and pointless, but why stop now) or anything that seems really interesting and unique.
On our visit to Easter Island we hired a guide for two of our four days. Kim and I rarely hire guides but we figured for EI it would be a good idea to get a better understanding of what we were looking at. While visiting the sites I had mentioned that I would like to get a small statue of a Moai to bring home. (Moai are the carved rock figures found all over the island. You can see them in the title picture for my blog)
Soon after, he mentioned that we should visit the local jail where they might have better prices.
“Artisinal Shop” sign with guard standing by
I was extremely surprised that we could go visit the jail to pick up some souvenirs and had to make it a part of our plans!
When we arrived there was a sign outside with some rules listing items that you could not bring inside. The items on the list were alcohol, drugs, cell phones, cameras and weapons. Luckily they did not enforce the camera rule (I asked first).
An inmate at work
The inmates have it pretty easy in the jail and are given a lot of freedom. They have decent areas to sleep and a kitchen area to prepare food. The souvenir area was impressive. They get to use power tools and other seemingly dangerous items to create their crafts.
The quality seemed top-notch and they even made a sign for the entrance to the jail.
They actually did not sell what I was looking for but I had to buy a little something to remember my visit to jail. I decided to buy a carved fishing hook necklace (worn in the picture above). I do not recall what I paid but after a quick negotiation I bought it for around half of the initial asking price.
I haven’t worn my necklace since the day I bought it, but when I see it with some of my other travel related souvenirs, I always remember my odd visit to jail on Easter Island!