Dong Xi’s, Choch-Keys, junk, Dust collectors, trophies…whatever you call them… they are the items that you bring home as little mementos of your travels. The tradition is as old as time: Romans picked up Egyptian Obelisks…Greeks a golden fleece…hundreds of US midwesterns….I heart (insert town). Souvenierring is a time honored tradition. One of my favorites is exhibited above. My prized Whirling Dervish! My wife keeps hiding it as he continues to show up on various “highly visible”-her words not mine– places. I cherish my dervish. It really spins! I remember the tiny shop in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul where I discover this treasure. Tucked way back in vast dark passageways, was this little family selling metal wares. I tried a little Turkish, they a lot better English, and the result was an emigrating Dervish (and a lighter wallet).
Why do we do it? Why must we bring a piece of our travels home? Do we worry that we will forget the sights sounds and smells of _________? I really think so. I think that in our soul, we hope that one day when time creates a great chasm between the now and then, we will find the Dervish and it will bring a smile and a rush of memories to mind.
Sometimes these items represent a victorious negotiation. Perhaps a memorable shopkeeper or locale? Not sure some items will qualify…my I heart NY t-shirt never really spans the distance like my Dervish.
What is your favorite item? What reminds you of your adventure?
One of my favourite souvenirs is also quite practical, I love my CKA St Petersburg scarf that I picked up at an ice hockey game. It has brought me a lot more enjoyment that the Thai wall-hanging that I discovered was stuffed with seeds when I arrived at Australian customs. That was nearly an expensive mistake!
I bought a turkish rug…you know, magic carpet? It was 20 years ago and I remember the experience like it was yesterday. I still have the rug, it has moved around a lot and now resides at my sister’s house. Last year I tried to bundle it up and bring it back to Italy but my luggage was overstuffed from 2 months in Canada and it was just not possible! I still buy trinkets now and then but much smaller ones now : )
In Peru, I bought a pair of sandals made out of tyres for about 60p. I’m wearing them now, 8 years later. As I have a reputation with my girlfriend for spending too much money I do enjoy pointing to them and simply saying “60p”. My arguement is somewhat undermined if my much more expensive, broken blowpipe is within view.
as far as chotchkies go, your dervish is pretty damn cool. i’m generally pretty good(?) about not bringing stuff home i think, but i do have a brass coil (just a single) from my research with kayan women :)