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RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED…HANDBAG?

Maybe it was the Christmas thing, or maybe it was because I started writing this entry on an airplane as I was eyeing the bag across the aisle from mine. It was quite unusual and….hairy. Or perhaps it’s better described as furry. Whatever. It was distinctly animal that much I knew, but what animal exactly? Was it horse, goat, albino zebra? I decided to find out!

*Oh, and speaking of Christmas! We’re taking a break for the holiday. Please come back and visit us in 2007. We’ll be back January 2nd.

Maybe it was the Christmas thing, or maybe it was because I started writing this entry on an airplane as I was eyeing the bag across the aisle from mine. It was quite unusual and….hairy. Or perhaps it’s better described as furry. Whatever. It was distinctly animal that much I knew, but what animal exactly? Was it horse, goat, albino zebra? I decided to find out!

I leaned across the aisle and inquired to the woman who toted it. The conversation went something like this:

Me; “I can’t help but notice your um,” I knew I shouldn’t say I’ve been ogling your hairy purse – that would sounded weird – so I opted for, “your uh, furry purse. What is it?”

Passenger: “Oh thanks,” she gleamed. “It’s reindeer.”

Me: “As in Rudolph?!”

Passenger: “Precisely. It’s from Norway. Reindeers are about as common there as cows are here.”

Me: “Harrumph….Really? That’s reindeer?” I’ve never actually been this close to a reindeer before. “Can I touch it?”

It was soft if you brushed in the direction of the fur but prickly if you went opposite to it. Some of the hair was longer than others like it came from the mane or…. I didn’t want to think about it too much because that made me think about how much it really did look like a bag made out of Bambi.

I asked how much it cost and she said it ran about as much as a nice leather bag would here, around $200. So while it wasn’t a great bargain it did provide her with a pretty unique purse and perhaps a more unique kind of bragging rights upon her return.

It made me think about a different kind of shopping. Shopping for items purely because they are exotic. You might not have bought the item at home but you’re inspired to because it’s such a unique memento, and often a great deal. Perhaps it’s a handmade camel coat from Mumbai. An ostrich wallet from Santiago. A rabbit shrug from Buenos Aires. It might not be why you travel, but what you bring home helps to make for a memory. If not Rudolph…then what?

Tell me the most unusual item you’ve brought home from a trip.

*Oh, and speaking of Christmas! We’re taking a break for the holiday. Please come back and visit us in 2007. We’ll be back January 2nd.

amy_ziff

My name: Amy is my name, but I'll answer to Ame, Ames or Aimee.

How I earn my keep: My beat is travel, but my passion is collecting stories from people I meet on the road.

Hotel I could move into: Must I pick only one?! The Palacio Duhau a Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires tops my list. For the stunning restoration of the palace and tasteful new tower that create a thoughtful intersection of old and new. Every public and private space captivates. I'd move for the grand Alvear entry as much as for the manicured garden. For the wine and cheese tastings, the dulce de leche, the art gallery, the flower shop and for all the careful attention to detail that went into creating a hotel that is transcendent. If I were to pick a hotel that most felt like me, it would be The Inn at the Manor in the Cotswolds. Oh, I could definitely live there curled up with a book in a leather chair in the bar or outside among the English wildflowers. If I wanted to live in a land far away, the Ngoro Ngoro Crater Lodge would make a unique home with a view of the crater floor from every room (including the loo!), sumptuous beds, endless roses and the most unusual neighbors - massive water buffalo who won't bother you if you stay close to your Maori guide.

If I won the lottery, I'd live in: A historic farmhouse with an enormous barn and hundreds of acres tucked into a small town in New England or a Malibu beach house with stunning views and the surf just steps away. On second thought, winning the lottery means I could jet from coast to coast and enjoy them both.

Favorite way to get around: By foot. Whether in the city or country, I find the best way to get to know someplace is ambling around to discover and sample the distinct sights, sounds, smells, and tastes a place has to offer.

View that took my breath away: Looking toward the sky in Arusha and watching black and white Colobus monkeys scramble among the treetops, jumping from one tree to the next, floating through the sky like a primate version of Superman. Monkeys know how to have a good time!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: The place I visited last. What can I say? I'm fickle.

Follow me on twitter @amyziff

Comments

Tony
Reply

Most unusual item? A wood carving I bought for $50 (I probably overpaid) in an open air market in Montego Bay, Jamaica circa 1976.

It was about 3′ tall and depicted a mother holding a child with both of them looking away from each other (still not sure what THAT was supposed to mean).

It was also made more memorable by that fact that, after I bought it, I stepped on a sea urchin and broke off 11 needles in the bottom of my foot. I must’ve cursed that wood carving a hundred times as I hobbled my way home on one good foot a few days later.

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