Rolf Potts has an excellent story on Why we buy dumb souvenirs that is well worth a read and a chuckle.
So what's the dumbest souvenir you ever bought?
In my case it was a 3kg lump of lava from the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands -- unfortunately I purchased it towards the start of an eight month trip and had to carry it the entire way.
I've still got it -- buried in the bottom of a cupboard somewhere in my my parent's house in Sydney.
What does a 3kg lump of lava look like you ask?
Oh a big rock more or less...
The dumbest souvenir I ever bought was a model of a pedicab made out of bamboo scraps and discarded popsickle sticks. I think I paid 10 baht for it. Buying it had nothing to do with wanting a mini pedicab made from scraps and everything to do with liking the person who was selling it. On your travels you see so many people out there just trying to scrape out a living selling whatever they can. The fun is to stop and chat with them, part with a little pocket change, and be richer for the experience.
I left that mini pedicab in my room at my guesthouse for the next person to enjoy.
While in Libya once, I had a street tout hassle me for so long to visit his perfume shop that I finally agreed. (I don’t usually give in) It all looked kosher, I even agreed on a very reasonable price for some pure Jasmine Oil, It smelled fantastic!
I carried this little 1 ounce bottle of oil for a further 20 or so countries over a year and a bit. Once home, I opened it, it was vegetable oil! He got me good! I was quite amused....
Happy travels, Tim