Tag: Souvenirs

Jersey Girl

Jersey Girl REUTERS/Christine Grunnet

Abbie Kozolchyk finds herself on an unlikely quest to buy soccer jerseys from Bolivia to Bhutan

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China Tackles Poor-Quality Tourist Tchotchkes

Is your cheaply made Chairman Mao statuette getting you down? Hunan’s Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision is on the case. Xinhua reports that new technical standards for the popular souvenirs will come into force July 1.

According to the bureau’s chief engineer: “The move is expected to curtail the production and sale of low-quality Mao statues that harm the tourism market and people’s feeling for the great man.” (Via Gawker)

Slideshow: Classic Hotel Door Hangers

Michael Lebowitz found 55 classic door hangers from hotels around the world among the belongings of his late grandfather. They’re beautiful. (Via Coudal)

‘When Souvenirs go Bad’

Fark’s photoshoppers have transformed some classic travel souvenirs into some crude and lewd tchotchkes. Yes, that is Snoopy giving you the finger.

In Praise of American Gift Shops

In Praise of American Gift Shops Photo by Eva Holland
Photo by Eva Holland

In the latest post at Flyover America, Jenna Schnuer, Sophia Dembling and Matt Villano (World Hum contributors, all) pick their favorites. I’ll be bookmarking the post—I love a good museum gift shop, whether in America or beyond. One of the best I’ve encountered is at Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. Chocolates wrapped in portraits of Henry VIII and his assortment of wives? Yes, please.

Obama in Hawaii: Commander in Kitsch

Obama bobblehead doll in Oahu Photo by Pam Mandel

Obama bobbleheads! Obama license plates! Obama meets Elvis! Pam Mandel reports from the souvenir section of Obamaland.

See the Obama in Hawaii slideshow »

Paying for Passport Stamps

Paying for Passport Stamps Photo by lilit via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by lilit via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Over at Jaunted, blogger JetSetCD has opened up a conversation on those oh-so-tempting, oh-so-corny souvenir passport stamps.

You know, the ones from places like Checkpoint Charlie, Machu Picchu and so on. And then, beyond the stamps from major tourist sites, there are the just-so-I-can-say-I-was-here countries—Liechtenstein, San Marino and the like—that charge for their entry stamps, too. So, Jaunted asks, are novelty passport stamps worth their price? Or are they just as bad as “buying those horrific gift spoons”?

I have to admit, I’ve never actually been faced with the question before. But I love my passport stamps, and I can’t see putting a set of fake East/West Berlin markers into the mix. On the other hand, though it would irk me to pay, I’d probably want proof that I crossed Liechtenstein’s borders. What about you?

About Those Souvenirs: Made in Hawaii?

About Those Souvenirs: Made in Hawaii? Picture from magical-world via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Picture from magical-world via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I find souvenir shopping tricky. I like things that really scream of place or are packed with a trip’s significance—no pressure, souvenir makers! I was eager to buy a Hawaiian-made uke on my last trip, though the one I ended up getting is more global than I’d have ideally liked—the parts are made in Indonesia and shipped to Oahu for assembly. Is it made in Hawaii? Sort of.

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Kitsch City, U.S.A.

Kitsch City, U.S.A. Photo by Tom Battles

I certainly understand why some readers took exception to my assertion in a recent post that Las Vegas is among the must-see sights for Americans. Vegas is, indeed, a very silly place. But that silliness is what makes me love it—I have a very deep affection for all things kitschy, and Vegas is an entire kitsch city.

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Hilo Hattie, Don’t Leave Me!

Hilo Hattie, Don’t Leave Me! Photo by lrargerich via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by lrargerich via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I confess: I love Hilo Hattie’s, the kitsch-tastic chain of retail stores where you can buy matching aloha wear for your entire family, hula girl lamps and beaded curtains, nightlights that have the word “Aloha” etched into their cowrie shell shades, coffee cups with your “Hawaiian” name on them, 73 different varieties of macadamia nut treat, straw hats, sun screen, flip-flops, tank tops ... oh, it goes on and on.

Most of the stuff they sell isn’t made in Hawaii; the shirts are from China, the mango candy from Thailand, even the shell leis they drop around your neck as you walk in the door are probably from some place other than Hawaii but never mind, never mind. I take the coupons from the airport brochures, I get on the shuttle bus and off I go to buy more ridiculous Aloha-themed junque. Don’t judge me. I openly admit I have a problem.

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For Sale: One Pocket Globe, Complete with History Lesson

Like most travelers, I’m a sucker for old maps and other travel ephemera. That’s why I spent way too much time clicking through the catalog after reading about the collection of Hawaii artifacts that went up for auction last week. The items included “an early issue of Ke Kumu Hawaii, the first newspaper printed in Honolulu; a copy of Lili’uokalani’s translation of the Kumulipo genealogy chant; and a 19th-century Hawaii flag hand-painted on silk.”

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Rock, Paper, Angry Volcano Goddess

From Menehune Land Sales, LLC:

And it was then that I saw her, bathed in the full moon light, a female Menehune. She was beautiful, regal, similar to the male Menehune I had seen many years ago. Seeing her on our property was truly magical. It was the sign I had been waiting for. I was being directed not to sell the land as a whole, but to share the property in Menehune size pieces with those who wanted not only to own land on Maui and perpetuate the myth of these awesome little people, but to become stewards for this land and the spirit it possesses.

In other words, “How about a tenner for the Menehune?” Actually your contribution will go to Froyam Edel, the Menehune appointed real estate agent. He’s selling the land to you, dear reader, in one foot square parcels. For $9.99 (a little more if you want the embossed seal) you’ll get, well, a paper certificate, and not much more than that.

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Postcards From the Real World

I like buying postcards when I travel, partly because I’m cheap, but also because they’re fun to collect and to mail to friends anytime.

But my favorite postcards, the ones I cherish and don’t send to anyone, don’t have postcard-perfect images. Watch my slideshow and see what I mean.

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Plastic Pineapple Passion

Pineapple float container Photo by _e.t., via Flickr (Creative Commons).

There are all kinds of things wrong with it. First, there’s the magnetically attractive plastic container. It’s shaped like a pineapple, of course, with a coin slot in the lid as though you’re actually going to use it as a change bank. Be honest, that’s not going to happen, it’s just going to end up on the tchotchke shelf at some thrift store. Next, there’s the fact that the soft serve is shockingly free of dairy products. Finally, what’s in there that you could possibly need? It’s a cocktail of sugar, empty carbs and, well, OK, pineapple juice is sure to have some nutritional value that’s not totally negated by the soft serve.

I couldn’t help it. When I saw visitors walking about the grounds of the Dole Plantation carrying their very own pineapple floats in their very own pineapple-shaped containers, I devolved into a badly behaved child. “I WANT ONE OF THOSE NOW!” Luckily, my husband felt the same way—and those childhood lessons about sharing kicked in, too. We were able to limit ourselves to one and let me tell you, it was more than enough.

And it was delicious. If you find me totally checked out, not paying attention at all, it’s possible that pictured in the bubble over my head, is one of those pineapple floats from the plantation store. I could go for one about now.

State-by-State Home Improvement

bottles Photo by Jenna Schnuer.
At the Treasures & Trash Barn, Searsport, Maine. Photo by Jenna Schnuer.

Yeah, there are a few things here and there from places far, far away but, looking around my apartment, I realized that most of my art/knickknacks/stuff was hauled home in my carry-on, checked baggage or the trunk of a rental car from a trip to one of the 50. OK, I shipped the bear lamp home. This is some of it ...

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Streets of the World: Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Barack Obama, cardboard cutout Photo by Michael Yessis.

Michael Yessis captures some of the sights on Barack Obama's inauguration parade route.

See the full photo slideshow »

D.C.s Obama Souvenir Trail: Good, Bad and Ugly

D.C.s Obama Souvenir Trail: Good, Bad and Ugly Photo by Julia Ross.

There’s nothing like a presidential inauguration to stoke Washington’s entrepreneurial spirit. With the big event less than a month away, Obama souvenirs are multiplying like “real Americans” at a Sarah Palin rally. I’m keeping an eye out for particularly egregious examples, but here’s a snapshot of what I’ve seen around town thus far:

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Venice: Souvenir Vendors Could Go the Way of the Pigeons

Look out, Venetian vendors of cheap tourist tat. Your canal-side stalls (“fully-fledged examples of urban decay,” according to the city council) are the next target in the city’s ongoing crusade against all things ugly or rude. Local authorities in Venice have already showed the flocks of pigeons and shirtless, napping tourists who’s boss.

Mayflower Hotel Gift Shop Cashing in on Spitzer Scandal

Coffee mugs are selling out. Mayflower mints are going by the case. And “[t]here has been a rush on the Mayflower’s luxuriously soft white terry-cloth bathrobes,” writes Ylan Q. Mui in the Washington Post. The price tag on those robes: $69.99. Ouch.

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What Types of Travel Gifts Do You Recommend That Are Space-Friendly, Practical and Yet Meaningful?

Vagabonding traveler Rolf Potts answers your questions about travel

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