Subject: When in doubt - buy it (was Handbags in NYC)
Ziners, In response to the messages about handbags in NYC Fanny wrote: "I personally want a Via Veneto bag, but my pocket book is saying no." I have one, which I purchased in Italy many years ago at a bargain basement price, and it always attracts attention. I also have a briefcase (bought in Canada) that draws comments - bought it on sale. But this leads me to the messages I often read on travel sites - if it's local and you like it, buy it.

We've just returned from two plus weeks in France and stocked up on simple items that we know we will use and which will remind us of our trip. Ten bars of olive oil and lavender soaps for 12 Euros at the market in Ile Sur la Sorgue (the best market in France). I checked a local store here in Toronto and EACH bar costs $5.50 CA (Euro is currently at $1.60 CA)! Souleiado linens at a fraction of the price one would pay in North America are also a bargain. The problem is that travellers become inured to these purchases because they see them everywhere but we have to remember that these are local and we won't see them at home. We are using bottles that once held fine limited edition Italian olive oil bought in Spoleto for oils that we buy locally.

We have a copper and rosewood table bought in Morocco, and personally inscribed with my name, about 30 years ago. We carried it in our backpacks throughout our six-week trip in the Iberian Peninsula and muttered daily about the weight. We paid about $25 CA - I saw it a local department store in February duirng an "Escape to the Sun" promotion in February for $200.00. I felt doubly good about this - one because we had made a good bargain (actually we probably paid too much but the stories of the bargaining kept us going for a while) and second because every time we look at and use it, we remember our trip.

So now my motto is, if I like it, if I can afford it, and if it will remind me of my trip, I buy it. Two small things I always buy are postcards and tea towels. Postcards are great because the pics are taken by professionals and the tea towels are used daily so my kitchen is a constant reminder of trips I have taken. Lucy, Toronto