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Souvenir time

As I enter my last week in Kiwi country, I am in the market for cheap, light and good (in that order) souvenirs. It would be nice if they remind me of NZ too. I am almost finished  unless I get some final great bargains. My sis asks for a key chain. A few of my friends have asked for All Blacks stuff, which is quite expensive given that they are all made in China. Here’s a list of things I am taking back home (saving one), unless Air NZ decides to impose the 20kg baggage limit!

  1. My favourite happens to be the picture postcard. I have ended up sending more than 20, including 4 from Australia and even one from Fiji. The destinations have been equally varied too – Madras, Indore, Bangalore, New York and California. The maximum postcards are predictably to Thoothukudi. At 2-3NZD (1NZD=30INR), these are the cheapest since they are of zero weight to me!
  2. The next best things to postcards are the key chains. There’s a pack of 12 of them, with a kiwi toy and the letters NZ written. At 5.5NZD, I plan to get one before I leave. I’m saving money for that 😉
  3. At Dunedin, I had been on the Cadburys World factory tour, one of 3 such tours in the world (the others being Tasmania and Birmingham in the UK). I am not a big fan of chocolates, but I cannot resist having tasty Dairy Milk and a few samples after smelling chocolate so much in the hour-long trip. I also buy a pack of Cadburys Roses and Favourites at 23.5NZD for the consumption of my collegemates and my family because they are cheaper and they still remain the first choice of gifts from overseas (huh). The bag still is full of the pleasant chocolate smell, which I’ll probably release in Bangalore. All you chocolate lovers, you will adore this tour!
  4. All Blacks merchandise is another favourite souvenir item. For those who don’t know, the All Blacks are the BEST rugby team who play well most of the years but end up losing the World Cup every time! NZ is crazy about them as are rugby fans. The clothes are all China-made, but retail at atrocious prices (30$ or more) just because of the All Blacks logo or inscribed words. At a lucky sale on Queen Street, I get a girls Tshirt at 5NZD for my cousin and a few male undies at 10NZD for 3. Undies as souvenirs! I hope someone likes them. Foreign lingerie is hot in India, I am told.
  5. The west coast of NZ is famous for jade or greenstone (pounamu). On my ride down there, the bus stopped at Hokitika – the heartland of jade – so that we can make our way around the many carving factories and indulge ourselves. The prices of jade jewellery at Hokitika are much cheaper than anywhere else. Call it on-the-spot shopping, I end up buying a jade ear-ring, a paua ear-ring and a paua keychain at Westland Greenstone Ltd. Paua is a shell native to NZ. All this cost me 31.6NZD. Of course, the most expensive jade ring (at 20NZD) is a surprise for my sis!
  6. I have been looking for nice things that my niece Madhu can use. I got an Xmas teddy (China-made again) at 5NZD (at the same lucky sale), a set of 3 baby suits at 10NZD and a teddy socks at 3NZD at Warehouse, NZ’s discount store, all for her. Maybe, I shall get a kiwi stuffed toy too.
  7. I walk around the famous Victoria Park market in Auckland, looking for bargains. My price stops at 5NZD on the higher side. Unable to find any, I wander back to Queen Street’s 2-3-4 dollar shop, which unfortunately does not stock any souvenirs and is meant for the local shopper. On the way I chance upon a Norsewear sale. After finding the prices of merino wool stuff ( the finest, breathable) way above my budget (with sox above 30NZD), I had given up on buying them. And to think in the first place, they have all these sheep and you expect them to sell wool cheap! I had never heard of Norsewear before that. This sale had scarves, beanies and socks between 10 and 15 NZD, all of good quality Merino, possum fur and other wool. This has to be my best bargain and I feel so excited that I spend 47.5NZD on a merino scarf, a merino beanie, an alpaca beanie and a merino socks valued at 115NZD.
  8. I get a couple of Tshirts (no Kiwi association) at 5NZD=150INR each from the third-time lucky Queen Street sale. I am forever indebted to my friend who showed me the shop. Though it is cheap, it is still a FOREIGN thing. Now I know the trick of gift shopping abroad to take back to India. 😉 Shame on me! Here I happen to meet a few Tamil students (the cool Kovai yenungo accent) who also shop at Indian prices in the middle of Auckland’s CBD.
  9. As for me, I get a track suit at 150INR=5NZD at the lucky Queen Street shop and pinch an All Blacks undy from the pack of 3. Of course, I have a free Tshirt from Taupo Bungy and a free bottle from Skydive Wanaka, apart from all the priceless memories. Not to forget, my exchange coordinator gives me a Silver Fern keychain.

A missing souvenir is the Kauri wood item. Though I had stopped by the Kauri Museum and the Ancient Kauri Kingdom, I was in my second trip only that time and was all about enjoying myself that I never shopped then. In any case, Kauri items are very expensive (pens at 30NZD). Never mind, all the shopping has made my trip complete 🙂

Categories: NZ
  1. sk
    9 December 2006 at 4:47 am

    Wow Sparkie,
    What have you brought for us? :–D
    Also thank you for postcard, it was beautiful, your handwriting too :–D

    And yes, mosttt stuff in US also is Made from China, Made from India clothes are atrociously expensive.

    Cadburys Factory Tour sound enticing!

  2. 10 December 2006 at 8:28 am

    sk, you should drop into abi’s home in jaya nagar. and thanks for appreciating my handwriting :-D, much better than you-know-who’s!

    i know you are a dairy milk couple. a chocolate whirlpool/mount is a highlight of the tour.

  3. A
    10 December 2006 at 9:20 am

    Nice :-)! Souvenir shopping is fun :-)! Can I also get a stuffed toy kiwi please *bambi eyes* – okay, okay, I shall not compete with your little niece :-D! Eppo kelambara back to des?

  4. 10 December 2006 at 2:09 pm

    A, i repeat what i told sk. if you come over to bangalore, you can get a sheep keychain. oh, as for my flight, can you wait a little for my farewell post please? 😆

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