South American souvenirs are different from things you’d pick up in the Caribbean islands or in Europe.
For one thing, there were fewer shopping opportunities than on other trips I’ve taken. The area in and around the Patagonia is wide open country, with ranches and very few commercial centers.
And I had no idea what many of the things that were sold were! For example, a number of stands sold these sock-monkey-type dolls that I’d never seen before, and woven and crocheted items. No made-in-China manufactured items here!
Other shops sold gaucho cowboy clothes (ponchos and wide pleated pants, hat and boots); while they were interesting to look at, I couldn’t find any practical purpose for them unless you’re going to work on a South American ranch… or to an elaborate Halloween costume party…
And shops sold plenty of penguin and sheep-related items.
In the end, I bought several colorful plates that reminded me of the artwork graffiti found on buildings and walls in Valpariso and Santiago, some magnets from a sheep ranch we visited and from Ushuaia — the end of the world, a stuffed penguin (to remember the hundreds of real ones we saw), a ceramic plate from Punte del Este, Uruguay, one of the ship’s photos of myself posing with two crew members in penguin costumes when we went ashore, and a South America tee-shirt. It was the first time I saw a tee-shirt advertising not just a city, but an entire continent!
No matter what you buy, the souvenirs you bring back have special meaning because they always remind you of the great time you had exploring the world!
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