Flashback Friday: An Unlikely Place For A Souvenir- Easter Island, Chile

FlashbackFriOver 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.

Here is the post:

  • An Unlikely Place For A Souvenir- Easter Island, Chile

The post was originally published on June 28, 2012.

a green gate with signs on it

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.

a man standing in front of a sign
“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!

a sign on a fence

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).

a man sitting at a table with wood carving
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.
a sign with a castle and a castle on it
two men standing in front of a store
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.
a wooden object with a string
The Necklace
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!
That wraps up this week’s Flashback Friday post.
Do you often bring back souvenirs from your trips? If so, do you collect anything speific? If you’ve shopped for a souvenir in an odd place, let us know where it was.

3 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: An Unlikely Place For A Souvenir- Easter Island, Chile

  1. Miles- Great name if thats really it! LOL- You are right, there isn’t many places to go on EI. However, anyone sentenced to jail, should stay there. People there have been locked up for minor crimes but also murder, rape, spousal abuse from what we were told!

    I like your souvenir idea, one that is functional!

    Smittytabb- The jail isn’t something that you are likely to come across unless someone there told you about it. I didn’t read about it anywhere online or in guidebooks.

    The carvings were pretty amazing, some very pricey. I also bought a small, Moai made from volcanic rock. I like the idea of using my necklace for an ornament but we don’t celebrate Christmas! 🙂

  2. Somehow I missed the jail when I was there:) I usually look for Christmas ornaments like Miles. No reason your carved necklace couldn’t be converted to an ornament too! Might get more use that way! I loved all the wood carvings on Easter Island. Since I am a linguist by training, I usually look for souvenirs with a linguistic element. I got one of the wood carvings with the Rongorongo script on it. Couldn’t resist!

  3. You don’t need much security at the Easter Island jail. If you successfully escape, you are still stuck on an extremely isolated island with few residents and even fewer sources of fresh water.

    When we travel to a new location, we always seek a small souvenir that can be hung on a Christmas tree.

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