How to avoid crap souvenirs, and get nice ones

Apr 17th, 2005, 07:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 9
How to avoid crap souvenirs, and get nice ones

I want to avoid as much as possible buying "crap" souvenirs (little plastic pyramid keychains). The only thing someone suggested to me was buying pillow covers made by the bedouins. Is that it?

I want something authentic and something that will last (not food).
pethicta is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 12:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We found it difficult to find "authentic" in Egypt. A lot of hokey trinkets probably made in some other country. Egyptian cotton linens and clothing are one thought. My teens also liked anything with Arabic writing on it.

We bought a supposedly alabaster vase, that when we put water in it at home was obviously paper mache. Also bought a supposedly papyrus thing - that is probably made of old gum wrappers from China.
gail is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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I'd go for papyrus. While Gail, unfortunately, didn't get authentic papyrus, the real ones are wonderful and come in all sizes. Mine have been framed and hold up quite well. If looking for these, do not buy any that have lots of gold on them, or sold in plastic sleeves (10/USD$1... take my word, are not real) outside some tourist sites.

If you post an email address, I can send you the name, address and little map for how to find, a great shop in the Khan el Khalili Bazaar.
Apr 17th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 37
I would get some nice professionally made local pottery. They are so inexpensive as well.
ralf005 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 06:28 AM
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Depends a lot on just what you like. There are several shops in the Khan that sell copper and brass ewers and assorted work many of which are very, very nice. Be prepared to spend a little to get them but you won't find work of this quality in US.

If you are in Luxor and like Egyptian sculpture, there is a shop at the Sheraton that sells, along with tradional junk, some of the finest Egyptian sculptures I've found. It's worth a visit just to look. These are not inexpensive either, but the owner of the shop keeps his source secret and you won't find them elsewhere.

You can also find some decent silk carpets. They are not collectibles quality, but nice none the less. And, of course, there is jewelry; it's hard to find 18 and 21 carat gold in the US at affordable prices. In Egypt, if you're good at bargaining, you can acquire gold jewelry at little more than the going rate for bullion. Be sure you check the prices before you go so you know what to aim for.
Apr 19th, 2005, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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I don't know what you're looking for in terms of "authentic" - but these are the types of things I take home for gifts (mainly from the Khan) -

Inlaid mother-of-pearl - boxes, crosses, chess boards, bowls/plates, picture frames, etc - look for inlaid stuff that changes color when rotated since plastic just looks white

Camel bone - carved boxes, statues, figures, ornaments

Blown glass - Christmas ornaments, perfume bottles, etched eggs, decanters and glasses

Silver - jewelry (charm bracelets, etc), letter openers, key chains, engraved serving platters, picture frames, fellucas (sailboats), angel ornaments, etc

Bedoin items - face veils, perfume bottles, lamps

Copper/Brass - Egyptian cookie cutters, and other misc kitchen-type items (decorative only)

Applique - pillow covers, wall hangings, table runners, tree skirts, etc

Asfour Crystal - all sorts of Egypt stuff (pyramids, obelisks, etc)
Grcxx3 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 11:36 AM
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Dear Sandi,
Would love the information on where to find papyrus,pls send info to: [email protected]. Also, in terms of sculpture when you say expensive, are we talking $80 or $8,000. I would love to get a nice piece of egyptian sculpture for my house. Does anyone have any experience with shipping such items home? Just got my plane tickets yesterday!!! Woo-Hoo!
Thyra is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 03:47 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Sandi - Thanks for all the info you have shared. I, too, would love to have the address/name of any shops you know have good quality. Please send to [email protected] and thanks again.
Conlet is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 04:33 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Not sure where you're from, but remember to check your country's import laws before you buy things. Many items using bone or tusk, or made from endangerd species are illegal to transport and will lead to headaches at the airport.
CactusScot is offline  
Apr 30th, 2005, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 159
You can buy authentic papyrus at Dr. Raghab's Papyrus museum. They'll even demonstrate how it's made - and yes, a lot of vendors sell "banana leaf papyrus" so be careful. Alabaster is also quite nice - I have a large, heavy vase that cost me about $6. I also have vases in onyx, ceramic and brass (so I'm into vases!) For something really nice (with the price to go with it), head to Le'Orient Bookstore at the Nile Hilton and pick up some genuine David Roberts lithographs of Egypt. The owner can even have them framed for you.
DejaDeb is offline  
Apr 30th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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Be careful if you have the shop ship anything home - because other than disputing it on your credit card, you have no way of returning it - goods can not be un-imported.

My mother found this out the hard way when she purchased a carpet in Morocco. What arrived at her home was not what she had bought - and it was defective in addition. She even telephoned the shop in Morocco to complain. Eventually her credit card company credited her back the money - but I have also heard similar stories in other countries.
gail is offline  

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