Favorite thing you've brought back?


May 3rd, 2005, 04:44 AM
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Pinelakemo: What color is your "zanzanite"? I am a gemologist and have never heard of that gem. Checked the web and can't find any reference. Curious about color.
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May 3rd, 2005, 05:19 AM
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Oh and of course I have some cute beaded Xmas tree decorations from South Africa, a strange set of teaspoons with beaded handles and little clay people faces on the handle ends, a lovely carved wooden rhino from a Masaai village...

I've bought stuff as presents too such as a cute beaded purse, small soapstone carvings, watercolour prints and more.

I just got back from Peru (I know it's not in Africa!) and I am so delighted with my ceramic painted plate and also my lovely black and white glazed vase with a rather modern pattern on it.
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May 3rd, 2005, 05:43 AM
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Ruby, I presume that Pinelakemo is referring to "tanzanite".
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May 3rd, 2005, 08:28 AM
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I am guessing that it is a term applied to zoisite in its original color before it is heat treated to become tanzanite. I later found one other reference on the net to zanzanite..but only one and it is from a cutter in India.
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May 16th, 2005, 07:01 PM
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I have two gorgeous ebony head carvings from Nigeria and two indigo-dyed pieces of fabric with tribal markings. I love my chunky silver "Berber" necklace. I also have the South African ostrich egg. I love and wear my fleece that says 'Selinda' and my Little Vumbura cap. I have a carved river stick from Zambia with the ancient Zambezi river gods on it. I found that carved animals at places like Pier 1 were triple the price you could buy them for at African markets. My huge regret is that I saw at the Livingstone Airport a GORGEOUS carved head of a San male, complete with headband and necklace and deeply wrinkled face - and I didn't buy it! BAD BAD ME. I'm still p-o'd, it was one of a kind.
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May 17th, 2005, 08:43 AM
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Hmmmm....sounds like I'll have to leave some room to bring ome items back . We don't tend to buy alot of souvenirs, but I did come back from Brazil with several items of jewelry and it sounds like that might happen again. I definitely want to look for some verdite earrings. How much should one pay for something like that so I make sure I don't get ripped off?
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May 18th, 2005, 08:00 AM
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I can't remember how much I paid for my verdite earrings. They're simple studs, so I'm sure they weren't very pricey. I would guess you can get them for anywhere from $10 to $100, depending on the metal used, and the quality of the workmanship, as well as the amount of verdite. If you shop around a little, you'll probably get an idea of the prices. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.

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May 18th, 2005, 09:10 PM
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Favorite souvenirs???? There are so many.....

South Africa - painted Ostrich egg, batik table linens, beaded jewelry and napkin rings, antique wine-related items (my husband is a collector)

Kenya/Tanzania - beaded jewelry and Masai items (necklaces, headpieces, "bell pulls"), my sons are still made beause I wouldn't let them buy spears!, and interesting fabric. A friend of mine bought 1 meter lengths of 10-12 different fabrics and then made a quilt out of them - a beautiful memory of her trip. The soapstone carvings are wonderful - but heavy. I live in Egypt - so I bought mine here so I didn't have to transport them - same with the wooden giraffes.

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May 19th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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I'm back from my trip - and I bought quite a lot! Some baskets (the Botswana ones are best), a couple of wooden bowls with giraffes painted on the bottom, malachite necklace and earrings, hematite necklace and studs, a copper bracelet at the ferry crossing from Botswana into Zambia, and a carved hippo, elephant, rhino and, my favorite, an African chieftan. Oh, and some elephant wall hangings made of metal - quite unusual. Found them in Kasane. My roommate on the trip bought a fabulous mohair blanket in Cape Town, some gorgeous placemats, and a pillow cover. This trip was the closest I've ever come to having to pay duty!
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May 19th, 2005, 04:49 PM
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For me it was an oil painting of Mt Kenya, paid $25 for it at a curio shop and $400 to get the perfect framed once I got home (obviously not fair to the artist). Hangs over the fireplace & the family room looks amazing. Can't help but think of how wonderful Kenya was & that I want to go back.

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May 19th, 2005, 04:55 PM
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On my last trip to Satao Camp in Tsavo East one of the employees knew how crazy I was about elephants. He took a piece of black cloth and using oil paints painted a Mama elephant and her baby on it. Then he rolled each end and inserted a small stick of bamboo so it could be hung. He did such a fantastic job that I truly cherish it.

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May 20th, 2005, 02:55 PM
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i just got back from South Africa and Swaziland, and my favorite souvenir is a really well made 7" soap stone carving of a man sitting with his arms around his knees. that's the best explanation i can think of. my other favorites are a few painted fabrics i will frame. i can't believe anybody would buy soap stone carvings back in the US though! why spend $10+ and buy from a generic store in the US when you can buy directly from the artist along the road in Swaziland for $2 and know the name of the person who carved your souvenir? Even my 7" carving I mentioned was the equivilant of less than $7. it was the most expensive souvenir i bought.
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May 21st, 2005, 05:12 AM
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1. Zulu Baskets from South Africa. They are all beautiful works of art, and the large ones fascinate everyone who sees them. We shipped a large box back separately, and that was truly a monetary adventure, but the baskets are worth it.

2. Faithful Hound red wine. Great wine, great name, great story!
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May 22nd, 2005, 12:14 PM
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I was curious about the story and so I found out: http://www.winemag.co.za/content/onl...age.asp?in=522

Very nice.
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May 23rd, 2005, 01:07 PM
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Too hard to choose one favorite from South Africa -- several favorites are:

1. A family of ceramic elephants in various sizes ranging from 3 inches tall to 12, with a crackled grey and brown glaze and geometric patterns carved into the glaze. The 2 baby elephants just fit underneath the mama elephant. These sit on our mantel and I look at them every day and think of South Africa.

2. A gorgeous carved wooden mask painted bright blue and earth tones, which also hangs over our mantel, complete with "hair" made of hollow wooden dowels threaded on strings.

3. A blue-dyed cotton tablecloth with elephant-shaped block prints and geometric patterns on it. Tall blue taper candles with geometric patterns that match the tablecloth.

4. Various ceramic glazed bowls, plates, and cups which we use every day.

All of the above were purchased at various little places we stopped while driving around the Cape Peninsula one day. We also loved the wine we bought while driving around the winelands.
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May 23rd, 2005, 06:34 PM
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I love my Ardmore Studio pitcher from South Africa. It has raised relief flowers and leaves on the body and a zebra on the handle. The bottom is signed by the Zulu women who made it and painted it. I emptied out my backpack, stuffed everything into my suitcase, and carried the pitcher alone, wrapped in bubble wrap, for a week and a half through South Africa and Zimbabwe. And I'd do it again in a minute. Next time (which will hopefully be soon) I may spring for shipping home, although after the price of the ceramics from Ardmore Studios, I may not be able to.
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May 24th, 2005, 04:27 PM
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In Cape Town, I went to an art center and bought a beautiful wood block print on handmade paper. I bought it from the artist - really cool. I carried it home, had it framed and while I am at work it reminds me of a terrific trip and great people.
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May 28th, 2005, 06:30 AM
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From many years of travel to sub-Saharan Africa, I've acquired numerous pieces and most of my favorites are those with a story behind them. Here are several: Masai shield and spear (bought in Arusha thirty-eight years ago); Makonde carvings (bought in Dar es Salaam on honeymoon thirty-four years ago); floor runner of vivid unique color scheme (commissioned from the Lutheran mission at Rourke's Drift, RSA, about twenty years ago); "the good eye," a wooden emblem that the fishermen put on the bows of their dhows in Lamu, Kenya (gotten in March, 2005). My advice: buy fewer items of greater value that have meaning to YOU. ZZ
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May 28th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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Zambezi - I think you are right about buying fewer things of greater value. As I look back over the years of my various trips, there's usually just one or two things I particularly value - it's not always because of the dollar amount - but picking something special is what matters. Sadly, I'm afraid my favorite souvenir from my recent Africa trip would have been the wooden statue that was stolen from my suitcase. But I also got some animal carvings, a basket, and a hematite necklace that I think I'll enjoy immensely. Fewer is better. (Although I like to come home with lots of gifts for friends, too - but again, I've gotten to where I try to pick something special rather than a tacky souvenir.)
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May 30th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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Althom1122: You remind me of one of my very favorite purchases, which I elected not to mention in my original response. It was a roughly carved human figure of about fifteen inches in height that I bought from a local man who came to the mission house where I was staying upcountry in Liberia nearly forty years ago. I gave it to my sister, who displayed it in her law office until someone broke in one night and stole nothing but that carving. I can still "see" the young Liberian who cradled it fondly in his lap as we traveled by bush taxi back to Monrovia. ZZ
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