Friday, November 25, 2011

Functional Souveniers

We LOVE functional souvenirs almost as much as we hate chotchkies. Basically all those little figurines become clutter and junk as soon as they enter the home. But we still occasionally like a way to remember a place besides our pictures. So for your next trip, here are some ideas of functional souvenirs:

Clothes- rather than a T-shirt with the place name sprawled all over, go for something you will actually want to wear and then you're good to go. Some of our best purchases: a fleece jacket and wool hats from Nepal. And our custom-made T-shirts commemorating our China trip.


shirts commemorating our Nepal trek (we still wear them, though not at the same time)

Jewelry- this is one of the best! If you buy something you like, you'll actually use it. D has a dozen earring from various trips that get used frequently. Plus they carry that extra little memory of the place they came from. Classic: Indian bangles worn at our wedding!

photo credit: Noah Shahar

Music
- nowadays this may be obsolete with iTunes and all, but we still love getting our hands on a local CD. Recordings from the Indian Bahai, the Sikhs in Amristar, and Tibetans of McLeod Ganj still get played on our iPods. There's nothing like a little Churi Churi to get your mood uplifted after a long day.

Homegoods- things for the home that you actually use are great! They serve a subtle reminder of the trip and make great conversation starters. Likewise they are not just takeing up storage space. Our faves: a tie-die tablecloth from Southern China, and candlestick holders from Rajasthan, and curtains from Mumbai.


Yangshuo tablecloth


The little stuff- it's only functional if you actually use it. But a nice keychain is a fun reminder of vacation days. A shot glass, if you actually drink shots. A pen, if you don't lose it. A notebook if it doesn't go unused.

So next time you're traveling, skip the figurine/ snow globe/ randomly shaped gadget, and go for something you can use! Your memories will stay with you and your souvenirs will have a purpose that doesn't involve paying for overweight luggage.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dia de los Muertos: Panamerican Style

Just like in previous years, the Guadalajara Centro Historico was adorned in skeleton statues for Dia de los Muertos. This year they were sports themed to celebrate the Panamerican games. The beautiful November weather meant the downtown was full of people admiring the statues. Here are some of the best statues, with a few gratuitous Centro picture thrown in the mix:

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Panamerican Games: Fanfest

In addition to the sporting events, there was a fan fest set up near downtown for the public at large to celebrate the Panamerican Games. A large screen showing various events was set up, along with booths selling Mexican handicrafts and distributing tourist information. Each night there were musical performances, which we had to forgo due to our new bed time. However, we did make a short visit to see the set-up.

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handicraft shopping

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large screen: gymnastics going on

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enjoying the stroll

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walking away

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Panamerican Games: Pelota Vasca

So we wanted to go to an event, but didn't have the foresight to buy tickets early. This means that we were left with: Pelota Vasca (Fronton, or Basque Pelota). Basically two teams of two people hit a ball against a wall using a wooden racket.

It was cool for about a match but we actually enjoyed the break between matches more, when we got to see the 3 mascots come out: Huichi (for the Huichol people that are indigenous to the area), Gave (for the agave that makes Tequila here- see more HERE and HERE and HERE), and Leo (for the lion on Guadalajara's coat of arms).

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entering the stadium

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the mascots come out

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Mexico vs. Uruguay

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it got a little loud for Little N

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game in action

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Panamerican Games: Roses

An artist from each country participating in the games, decorated a rose sculpture. They are located around the city around the various venues and tourist areas. Here's a small selection:

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British Virgin Islands

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Netherlands Antilles

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Venezuela?

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Puerto Rico

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Haiti

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Panamerican Games: Cycling

The men's cycling was a pretty neat event. The course ran very close to where we live, so that we could go home in between laps and watch the other segments on TV. It was a beautiful sunny day and lots of people were out to watch the event. At one point a Mexican rider that had a flat tire, had a hissy-fit when the first team car drove right past him. Also a Chilean rider was pretty near the front but didn't end up winning.

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leaders

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peleton

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waiting for the next lap

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stop!

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Mexican rider having a hissy-fit because the car didn't stop

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eventually the second car arrived

[Sidenote: after the incident we went home to watch the rest of the round on TV
and saw the incident again, unfortunately the cameras missed us by about 2 feet,
so we still haven't made our Mexican TV debut]

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with the neighbors, watching the race