Sunday, September 30, 2007

What did you bring me?

In the land of pink houses, pink beaches and pink shorts shopping is de rigueur. I wandered aimlessly though up-scale jewelry stores, high-end clothiers, perfumeries, and liquors shops searching for something to take home. Nothing seemed right.

As I went in and out of the stores, I pondered. Why are we compelled to buy souvenirs? What is the perfect souvenir? What would remind me of this place? Is the souvenir something for me or do I want the guests in my home to comment on it? Is there an expectation from folks at home that they will receive something? Is it about the experience or culture of the place?

I gave up buying and gifting T-shirts years ago. I don’t like little bric-a-brac with the name of the locale on it (dust collectors, as my mother would say.) I usually look for something that has a cultural component. Music. Specialty food. Art.

In this, I found Bermuda disappointing. I heard no local music-the radio played top pop US hits. The food catered to the US palate-nuf said. I did go to some galleries; there is art on the island, but none of it (with one exception, a print) spoke to me.

So, I came home with 2 small rum cakes (1 for the office and 1 for the freezer), a long-sleeved shirt from Dolphin Quest and a five-dollar Bermudian bill.

I have traveled a lot around the world. Maybe I am jaded. When I leave the country I would rather have a “foreign” experience and not feel like I have never let the US. Must we export our culture to other places? Sigh.

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