Travel Talk

Published on February 19th, 2013 | by Ann Rickard


Travel Talk – Crap Souvenirs?

WE’VE all bought at least one appalling souvenir in our travels but I believe I could be named World Champion Crap Souvenir Buyer.

A few years ago I spent hours in one of the tailor shops in Hua Hin choosing hot pink and silver material to have made into a cheongsam. I looked fetching when I wore it Hau Hin (if I may modestly say so) but my friends in Noosa where I live didn’t appreciate the cheongsam fashion statement in Hastings St.

In Sicily, in a cafe at the foot of the volcanic Mt. Etna, I pondered over the range of souvenirs made of black lava from Etna’s last eruption. “Should I go for the black lava statue of a rearing horse?” I asked my hovering husband, himself a sucker for an exceptionally crap souvenir. “Mmmmm….I prefer the lava elephant,” he replied before he spied a black lava Madonna and became all confused by choice.

In Fiji it’s quite possible I bought every shell necklace, bracelet and picture frame on the islands.

In Bali I bought “silver” than turned green the minute it hit Australia. In Thailand I bought large kneeling wooden ladies in typical Thai greeting that give my guests a shock at the front door.

In France I bought Provencal tablecloths that don’t quite look “magnifique” in a tropical Queensland setting.

The list is endless.

Perhaps my most prized souvenir was bought in the Philippines a long time ago. A small naked wooden man wearing a barrel. When the barrel was lifted, up popped confronting proof that the small naked man wasn’t so small after all. I had a lot of value from him, mostly watching the expressions on my friends’ faces when they lifted the barrel.

The worst souvenir purchase I’ve encountered was proudly shown to me by an American visiting Australia – a kangaroo paw bottle opener. I was horrified – until I saw his kangaroo testicle cigarette lighter.

Restraint is my souvenir motto from now on.


About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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