Saturday, March 5, 2011

Confessions of a travel "thief"...

OK...I admit, I like to bring back souvenirs when I travel.
As a travel writer I know that this might get me into trouble, but I decided to share SOME of these travel tales with you, my readers.
I have never tried to put a TV set or a painting into my luggage.
 The former are usually old and small and the latter often so UGLY that they are not worth the trouble.
The exception to the painting were the prints in the elevators at the Southern Sun in Maputo.
I did try to buy a couple but unfortunately they were not for sale...
and they are STILL in the elevator unless the management has changed the decor!

I tend to bring back "No Smoking" signs...why I am not certain as I am a non-smoker,
but I liberate them none the less.

I also bring back the "Do Not Disturb/Make up the room" signs. 
This sign was taken from a hotel in Addis Ababa.
I really liked what I saw of the city and this is a reminder of the fact that I do want to return...
BUT not to this hotel!

This piece of metal I found in a cemetery in Auckland, NZ.
In fact I had forgotten about it being in the bottom of my backpack and it was picked up on the scanner when we left NZ. 
Customs did allow me to keep it but they did say I would have trouble in other airports...
not  a SINGLE airport picked it up after that.
I had visions of being arrested in Hong Kong,
 but they were more interested in how much toothpaste I had in my hand luggage

I figure I don't want to leave the local hotels out, so this one was taken from a real "dive" in Pretoria. The hotel, situated on the edge of the CBD was not the greatest, but the sign interested me.

This piece of tin is over a hundred years old and came from a British/Boer battle site near Bloemfontein...I have no idea how it found its way into my pocket!

Several years ago I worked on a music festival in Congo Brazzaville.
 When it came time to leave we discovered that the aircraft was overbooked.
This meant that we would have to stay behind and catch the next plane...
we decided to go out for lunch and I discovered this sign on the gents toilet door.
Now I know why I carry a multi-tool with me...
Skulls and bones are my favourite item to bring back from game reserves.
However, more often than not the ranger is not keen to stop and allow me to "collect" items for research purposes.
That is the reason there is a REALLY great Buffalo skull
still lying at a reserve near the Kruger National Park.

But that does not stop me collecting while I am out on a game walk.
I figure if I can fit it in my pocket then no-one will miss it.
It  means that I sometimes have to walk for hours,
 constantly checking my pockets to make sure that the item is not crushed or broken.
And I have to pack it carefully for the return trip home.

Lastly there are items that I bring home that have just been collected.
Sea shells, feathers and driftwood fall into this category, as do coins from foreign countries.

The Peacock feathers are kept outside our front door so that the "evil eye"
 can ward off harm that could befall either my wife or me.

These porcupine quills were found near a railway track close to the town of Groot Marico.
The actual carcass was missing(I presumed it had been dragged away by the train
 or taken for food by the locals)

Lastly, there is this bolt that I discovered on the side of a railway track outside Kimberley.
It was a freezing cold morning and the luxury train we were on had stopped so that we could photograph a colony of Flamingos.
Perhaps I have now blown my cover and I will have to stick to bringing back soap and shampoo in future.
But just how many shower caps does one need?

All images are the copyright property of  and may not be used without permission
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