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These posts are on the authentic local things to buy that we think make great souvenirs, from local handicrafts to regional produce, and will cover what to buy and where and how to buy it.

Masai Mara Take-Homes: Bargaining for Beads at a Mara Village

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My husband called me ‘the Queen of Shopping’ when we lived in the Middle East and I wrote on subjects like ‘Bargaining 101’. But no amount of years spent drinking tea with carpet sellers from Morocco to Dubai prepared me for bargaining for beads at a Mara village in Kenya. At the end of our visit to the ...

Cape Town Take-Homes: Traditional African Crafts

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Sprawled across several floors in a colossal Victorian building on Cape Town’s cool Long Street, the Pan African Market is a one-stop-shop for African souvenirs. You can spend hours browsing the warren of dozens of small shops selling traditional and contemporary tribal art, handicrafts, textiles, musical instruments, dolls, and jewellery from all over Africa, making ...

Buenos Aires Take-Homes: Delicious Dulce de Leche

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I have a confession: I adore dulce de leche, Argentina’s very special version of milk caramel. And this is really saying something, because I’m not the kind of person who obsesses over chocolate or gets cravings for sugary treats. Another confession: I’ve been known to spend three months in Italy and not lick a single ...

Rio de Janeiro Take-Homes: Brazilian Bikinis

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If you only take home one souvenir from Rio de Janeiro, make it swimwear – a pair of teensy Brazilian bikinis for her, and low-waist, hip-hugging, wide-brief sunga for him. In Ipanema, where we had our 'home away from home' in Rio for two weeks, there are countless swimwear shops with mannequins posing seductively in the chic ...

Rio de Janeiro Take Homes: Favela Finds

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Okay, so not everyone can afford to sponsor a child or make a donation, but it costs very little to purchase a small souvenir. Here's our favela finds, great souvenirs to buy while touring the favelas. If you’re visiting Para Ti at Vila Canoas or Rocinha on a favela tour, you’ll have a chance to ...

San Miguel Take-Homes: Mexican Chocolates

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These decadent Mexican chocolates and sweets don’t have the spice of the snacks I covered in my previous posts on edible souvenirs, Spicy Snacks and Supermarket Souvenirs, but they’re easily as scrumptious. The Aztecs grew cacao beans, which they fermented, roasted, and ground to make a bitter drink that was popular throughout Central America. Christopher ...

San Miguel Take-Homes: Spicy Snacks

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You can tell a lot about a culture by its food, especially its snack food – no more so than in Mexico where the snacks combine sweet, spicy and savory flavours in the most scrumptious ways. Naturally, that’s to be expected coming from a culture where its cuisine, rooted in spices, produces a rich, pungent sauce ...

San Miguel Take-Homes: Supermarket Souvenirs

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As we found that prices are more or less similar in San Miguel de Allende to Mexico City, we decided not to do a Price Check here. We still wanted to provide some shopping tips for those of you who are planning on settle in for a while, so we thought we’d roll it into ...

Mexico Take-Homes: Colourful Keepsakes, Practical Souvenir Ideas

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The markets and shops of Mexico are crammed with colourful keepsakes. After all the research I did for you in Mexico City on folk art and handicrafts and stationery souvenirs, I couldn't move on empty-handed. Here are some practical souvenir ideas from my purchases. Unfortunately, being on the road full-time, literally living out of our Samsonites, means I can't purchase ...

Mexico Take-Homes: Mexican Folk Art and Handicrafts

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Calaveras, alebrijes, muñecas… what’s on your shopping list? Mine always includes Mexican folk art and handicrafts when I'm here. If my story on Mexico City's Museum of Popular Art inspired you to shop Mexico, then here's a list of some of my favourite things to buy and my favourite places to buy them: Mexican Folk Art ...

Mexico Take-Homes: Stationery Souvenirs

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I’m obsessed with stationery. I seek it out and buy it wherever I go. Take a look at my purchases so far this year from New York, Tokyo, Venice, and Paris. Why? It’s a light souvenir (not as heavy as books for instance) and it’s practical. Yes, I actually use it. Sure, I do the bulk of ...

Austin Take-Homes: Hip and Homegrown Mementoes

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Lined with idiosyncratic stores with neon signs, Austin’s South Congress Avenue is a wide street with stunning views to the downtown area and the Capitol (bigger than Washington DC’s apparently) in the distance. It has an endearingly kitsch and kooky Tex-Mex thing going on that’s 100% Austin. Close your eyes and recall those classical Hollywood ...