Like most people, I like to have souvenirs of my trips away from home.
I remember when I went to Spain in the 70's, I brought back one of those glass drinking vessels that the locals used to pour alcohol into their mouths from a great height and that we tourists would pour all over ourselves in an attempt to copy them.
When I went to Paris I brought home a little bronze miniature of the Eiffel Tower.
From Austria , a wall shield with some sort of crest on it.
From Ireland, loads of tat with shamrock motifs.
And so on and so on. Not exactly anything to impress the neighbours, or even me come to that.
Mugs with logos, pens with country names along the sides, letter openers with city names, little figurines in national costumes.........you name it, I bought it.
When I was working and going to America for the traditional 3 or 4 weeks a year, I was visiting every state and got a key fob or a cigarette lighter from every one. This was quite bizarre as I've never smoked and so the lighters have remained in a big plastic bag ever since and are probably bone dry now and useless for all practical purposes.
Every inch of my fridge/freezer was covered with magnets from all over the place and opening the doors would involve a good work out.
I dare not add up the cost of all these souvenirs but I'm sure they'd easily get me a return flight to Hawaii or a Caribbean cruise.
And are ANY of them on display in or around my house now? Not a one. Well ok the magnets are still on the fridge/freezer but that's just because they're better off where they are rather than in another plastic bag.
Today I visited a friend who had been to China late last year.
Did he bring back a cuddly Panda ?
Did he bring back a mug with Shanghai on the side ?
Some rubble from THE wall maybe ?
His souvenir was a full size replica of a terracotta warrior !!
Holy excess baggage, Batman.
This 'big boy' weighs in at close to 400 lbs - that's the warrior and not my friend, btw.
I asked him to pose with his Chinese takeaway for the sake of scale and as he's not a midget either, I'd have to think the warrior is a full 6ft tall.
Now THAT'S a souvenir.
And the funny thing is, not only is it different from any of MY souvenirs in size, weight, cost and WOW factor, but in one even more amazing way...................
It doesn't have MADE IN CHINA stamped on it anywhere. Go figure.