October 12, 2011

Wacky World of Souvenirs

So even though we aren't scheduled to head back to the U.S. until March, and fingers crossed hopefully even later than that, I like to start thinking about what fun things and mementos I want to take from each place we've lived. I have beer steins and glasses from Germany, seemed like a no brainer. And we will definitely be sporting the dirndl and lederhosen for as long as I can tell.

But what to bring back from Finland?? As mentioned in my last post, gotta pick me up some Marimekko goods and make a keepsake or two fashioned out of their wildly bold fabrics. I wouldn't mind some kind of fur, maybe a small bedside rug. Don't hate me 'cause I don't hate fur. I do hate the mistreatment of animals though. That's obviously a subject for another time.

When I googled "Finnish Souvenirs" a few weird results came back. And it got me thinking...what are some of the weirdest souvenirs out there?? I'm not talking about those cheapy, generic souvenirs that might as well have been made in China, not Mexico. Although I do love all those naughty ones out there. Ah, nothing says 'Hey look everyone! I got wasted south of the border.' like a this little treat from Cancun. Kid friendly, too!
Sorry, buying something in 2001 does NOT make it vintage. You can purchase it here: eBay


So I did a little internet researching, because I can't really afford to travel around the world in search of tacky souvenirs. Although, wouldn't that make a great show?! I would be perfect for that one. Travel Channel, call me!

Here are the weirdest of the weird, or maybe just what you wouldn't expect, authentic souvenirs from around the world that I happened upon

This is a long one, but you are going to love it!

I'll start locally. When I googled Finnish Souvenirs, classics like glass products, such as Iittala and Arabia, and reindeer products popped up. But so did a company called Fiskars. They make scissors. And the website was trying to convince me that I should bring back scissors to all my friends and become the coolest kid in school. I don't know about you, but if some one went somewhere exotic and brought back some scissors, I might be pretty disappointed.
Scissors make a good weapon when you are mad at someone for giving you scissors (source)

Ever heard of Cheburashka?? Nope, well then you have obviously never been to Russia. But with those crazy visa restrictions to get in AND TO GET OUT (no really, have to have a visa to leave, scary), I don't blame ya. This adorably fur-matted creature was created in 1969 and is basically the Soviet Mickey Mouse. But at least if you brought back at Cheburashka figurine or doll, it might have some value. Avid collectors search worldwide for rare and unique dolls.

I kind of love him (source)

Speaking of adorable, who doesn't love Guinea Pigs?! I just love their big ol' faces and eyes. So cute! Apparently Peruvians are pretty fond of the little guys too. That is, once they have been deep fried and are served with french fries.  

Warning, you can't 'undo' the next photo. 

Wow. (source)
I'm sorry I'm not sorry. Relive the tale of you chowing down on one of America's favorite pets by bringing home a stuffed Guinea Pig for your family to enjoy for years. Or until the pelt rots and all the hair falls off. "Our pet's heads are falling off!"

Pretty bird, pretty pretty bird. (source)

Oh art lovers, how you love roaming the world in search of those awe-inspiring masterpieces. Rome is surely at the top of any art enthusiasts list. And while you are there, why not pick up a priceless work of art. After all, it looks great in your pants. When we went to Rome a few years back, these were just becoming all the rage. So tacky....yet the hubs may or may not have a pair. Is this NSFW?? Sorry.

Guess what famous Michelangelo statue's naughty bits are under there! (source)

Ok, the next one comes from Beijing and does NOT involve killing or eating any beloved animal. When you think of China, you think of the giant panda. While those dang-ged trade restrictions have you backed into a corner when trying to export a live Panda, they are loosening up on the restraints they have on shipping Panda Poop. Yep. Panda Poop. A breeding base for pandas in China is turning dung into a for-profit business by shaping the excrement of that adorable creature and turning it into odor-free souvenirs. Who doesn't want a bookmark or a door stop or even a panda figurine made from poop!?!?

Man, that souvenir looks like shit! (hahahah, I am laughing so hard at my own jokes) (source)

I'll say it again. Panda Poop.

Just had to make sure we were clear on what we are talking about here. You can further read about the process here.

While you are in Asia, why not hop on down to Cebu in the Philippines. Not only is the town known for its generous and beautiful people, but also for purses that are able to breath in both water and air. For some reason or another, a popular item here is the frog purse. Just imagine how styling you could be with one of these at the club! Ladies, you know you want one. Dried out frog carcasses with zippers for mouths. Isn't that like the exact definitely of haute couture?! No?

'OH I just can't find anything in this dang purse' (source)

While this next souvenir was intended to do a world of good, it can seriously be a danger to your health. After the tremendous volcano eruption on Mount Marapi, Indonesia, volunteers and activist began collecting the remaining ash, bottling it, and selling it worldwide to raise money for those affected by the volcano. Good plan, right?! That is, until you read the warning label on the bottles. "Warning! This ash, contains hazardous material such as silica which is very sharp which can puncture the lung tissue." Yeah, I'm not exactly sure I want to remember my trip to Indonesia by spending a few days in the ICU.
Um. No. (source)

A friend of mine actually brought this next one back from Mongolia to share with her 'friends'. I quote the term loosely, because we weren't that good of friends after she tricked me with "this really yummy, awesome Mongolian candy."  :) It was Aaruul, a curdled milk, dehydrated and thoroughly dried in the air and hot sun that is beyond popular in Mongolian culture. It basically tastes like you found some old cheese in a hot, garage refrigerator, and even though it was 100 degrees outside and the cheese was months past its expiration date, you decided to put it in your mouth. Super yummy.

Oh god kid, don't do it. DON'T DO IT! (source)

And last, but certainly not least, a trip to the outback wouldn't be complete without some kangaroo sightings. And now you can bring back a piece of that adventure AND get to those hard to reach places. That's right, a kangaroo back-scratcher. Those tiny little claws get right in there to relieve the itch.

It'll get those itches, mate! (source)


I know some of ya'll have been to these places, and you can argue that they aren't the most popular souvenir, you can argue their authenticity, but you can't argue their ability to make one awesome blog post, right!?


Have any to contribute? Ever seen, or worse, received, a really bad and tacky souvenir?!
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  1. i love this post, it is all over the road... and the cooked chicken is driving... you have a good eye for this stuff, in fact you have two.

  2. Not sure what horrified me more, Guinea Pig for dinner or misreading and thinking you picked up a baby as a souvenir on Mongolia. I'll go with the Guinea Pig every time.

    And darn you with these NSFW photos I just can't stop clicking on. I need to read your blog in a Dark Room with the shades drawn. Oh the addiction.

    I have a post scheduled for Friday that mentions you. Soon the entire planet will know of you if my plans succeed. Mooohhahhaahha.

  3. This is an awesome post! It makes me feel really boring that I only collect shot glasses...guess I have some work to do.

    But guinea pigs for lunch?! No thanks. They're wayyy too cute. I have hard enough time eating a cow.

  4. I already have the scissors with the orange handle. i had no idea I was so worldly!

  5. The rotten cheese? Seriously???? Oh man, that's wrong! As is panda poop and visas to leave Russia. When I got married MMG came with a back scratcher that looks similar to the one above. It's like a dried crocodile leg (claws and all) I think it would kill someone before relieving an itch. Sick. I think it's in the garage somewhere.

  6. HAHAHAHAHAHA I am dying right now. I saw once on one of those Dirty Jobs type shows the people whose job it is to go track kangaroo poop to sell as souvenirs in Australia. Craziness. But really - BLOWN AWAY by the fried guinea pig.

    You must have had a hay day googling all of this!

  7. omg the really had that for sale? damn

  8. And I was just thinking "How can I stave off being hungry right now?" The crazy thing about Guinea Pigs and Peru is that they actually dress them up, parade them, judge them, then fry them up and eat them.

    If I wasn't a vegetarian before I found that out last year, I would be now.

  9. haha..omg! those frogs are just too much!!!I think marimekko seems like a better choice..lol

  10. lol
    I like the glass. :D

  11. What about a frog purse (zip closure for the mouth) that you could carry your panda poo and kangaroo scratcher and snack of guinea pig around in. Souvenier problem solved!

  12. OH man... Scissors! Gee thanks... haha. We watched a show a few weeks ago on the Food Network. Forget the name, anyway, the guy went to Mongolia and had to eat those curdled milk treats. They just sell them in bins at the market apparently... He was not impressed. Ick.

  13. @iZombie - haha, what a great analogy. Perfect for my mind 99% of the time. Thanks man!
    @SFlaGuy - and to think, my father in law ate one while he was there. For reals! No, no mongolian babies as souvenirs...yet. Oh, thats bad. Well hey hey, I will be checking ya out then, even if the evil laugh scares me :)
    @Jessi - well thanks! Haha, no, shot glasses are good too. I was just being silly.
    @TriGirl - so worldly. You probably speak Finnish and don't even know it, lol
    @Rachel - Soooo, so gross. Blech! HAHA, no way, you totally have one like that/?! I am super jealous. Too funny. You have to find it!
    @Alex - ewwww, totally a dirty job job. Thanks for liking the post so much, it was really fun googling and riding.
    @Tony - thanks! I will try to find a good link for you. Maybe even with a commission for myself, lol
    @Tony - damn is right, so is gross, haha
    @Joshua - oh no, haha, I really had a feeling that would happen. I KNOW! Ever seen that south part episode with them, that is all I could think about. So weird, but hey, it is what it is.
    @Mrs K - For sure!! Besides, they totally would clash with the Marimekko. haha.
    @My 2 Pesos - (love the name, btw) Haha, you would.
    @Marie - sounds like the best outfit ever. But heck, what if we show up wearing the same thing. Now THAT would be embarrassing ;)
    @Kassi - And you know if those foodies don't appreciate the weird stuff, it is really weird! haha.

  14. oh my gosh, that's hilarious! I can't even believe some of these are out there! But I'm actually gonna get me some panda poop, for realz

  15. I've actually seen those dried out frog purses before... in a little shop in Cozumel. EW.

  16. Umm..wow, I'm speechless. I'll stick with miniature spoons and keychains :) Fiskar scissors ARE awesome though, jus sayin

  17. I ate guinea pig in Peru! It is pretty greasy. O would totally take a pair of scissors or some super hip Japanese pens.

  18. haha Fiskars sells in America and I actually have some sitting right next to me so that might not be very exciting to bring back scissors that are widely sold here. A frog purse though...that's a whole different story.

  19. hahaha oh my god the cheburashka is so cute! I want one!

  20. @Natalia - then you got to blog post about it, for realz, haha.
    @Kristin - ewwww, and you didn't get one!?! What is wrong with you?! haha, jk
    @An Irish - they are great scissors, not great souvenirs ;) Haha, I will stick with those regular ones too!
    @Kyria - that is what my hubs said too. Too funny! I will have to check out the Japanese pens!
    @Jordan - oh yeah, they are worldwide. But you could get the 'real deal' here! lol. A very different story for sure.
    @Meri - I want one too. Going to be on the look out in the flea markets here.

  21. I found you on the Thirsty Thursday Blog Hop and subscribed via GFC as masugr. Hope you can stop by http://mywildcrazylife.blogspot.com and follow back!

  22. Hi! I am a new follower from Thirsty Thursday blog hop! If the pretty bird, pretty pretty bird was in reference to Dumb and Dumber, that's hilarious! Seriously some of the souvenirs made me a little queasy! But I do like your blog :)

    If you'd like to follow me back here is my link:

    Have a wonderful Thursday!

  23. Soviet Mickey Mouse looks like he's seen some hard, hard times.

    Also, I'll say it -- I'd try fried guinea pig if it was in front of me. Then again, I watch too much Travel Channel (I'm looking at you, Andrew Zimmern) and would totally watch you if you got your own show.

  24. Oh, wow. I was shocked by the guinea pig pics...and then came the panda poop! I can honestly tell you this has to be the most unique blog post I have ever read! :-)

  25. Oooh that last one is creepy. Finnish Fiskars. Say that 10 times fast.

  26. LMAO... go for Marimekko.. although you can probably get Marimekko 1/2 the price in the states. Love you blog!

  27. You're funny! New follower from Thirsty Thursday :)

  28. Hi! Following you from a blog hop!:0)
    Hope you visit me and return the follow!

    Btw if you like please join the Treasure
    Trove Tribune! I think you will enjoy

  29. I think I may be speechless.

    Nah. Glad that feeling passed quickly. Thought the guinea pig did leave me at a loss for words. That's one of those pictures that make me say, "OMG."

    And then my husband, who was killing video game zombies, was all like, "What?"

    And I was all like, "Fried guinea pig."

    Then he had to come over and see the picture. Yep, this was one of THOSE blog posts. Just too good not to share. :)

  30. @Mywild - thanks for stopping by
    @Elizabeth - heck yes it is! Haha, love that you knew that. Thanks for stopping by from the hop, actually reading my post, and letting me know you did ;)
    @A Beer - seriously, do they not have brushes there either?! I think I would try it too, I mean, I've had squirrel, can't be that different. Well thanks, now just to convince the channel ;)
    @Jan - haha, I'm sorry! Just when you thought it couldnt get any worse, right?! Thanks, what a compliment!
    @Copyboy - super creepy, right?! Who wants that?? Oh, no biggie, just murdered a precious kangaroo to scratch my back.
    @American in Norway - haha I KNOW! I was looking up the prices yesterday, and was shocked at how much better they were in the US. Maybe I will just buy them back at home and pass them off as true Finnish ones. Thanks for stopping by!
    @Jen - Thanks for stopping by as well!
    @Tanya - thank you for stopping by...
    @Katie - Haha, you?! Never. YES! Always good to get the whole family involved. Glad you both liked it Katie ;)

  31. I bought elephant poo products in England last year. As Christmas presents!

  32. Haha! But I can top the Aussie one - or maybe it'd make a dynamic duo with the kangaroo paw scratcher! How about teaming it with ... wait for it ... a coin purse made from kangaroo testicles???!!! No, I'm not joking!!! Yes, we love our coat of arms critters downunder ...

  33. I would take panda poop over frog carcasses any day! LOL

    But with these options, I think you should stick with Marimekko!

  34. If you like fried guinea pigs, you'll like Madventures. (google it)

    A great Finnish souvenir would be to get a proper handmade puukko from a blacksmith. Might be expensive, though.
    A cheaper one would be a mosquito swatter, maybe even a complete set.
    Nah, I don't know.


Whoomp, there it is!