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The Worst Latin American Souvenirs


They say travel expands the mind and stirs the imagination. We generally agree, except in one area: souvenirs. Whenever people go abroad they buy the same old tired ass souvenirs. What is a trip to New York without buying your aunt Sylvia an “I Heart NY” shirt? It isn’t entirely our fault, as most shops in any given tourist area all sell the exact same junk. You can advertise anything as a “handicraft” from a small painting of a landscape to a weed pipe shaped like a Rasta dude’s schlong and someone will buy it. You could go further afield and look for some truly unique gifts, but you are on vacation after all, and that sounds a lot like work. Besides, your poker buddy Cesar will love that ashtray shaped like Belize, right? Here is a top 5 list of crappy souvenirs from Latin America.

“Che” Guevara T-Shirt

The iconic image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara has adorned more shirts than the Ralph Lauren polo guy and the Izod alligator combined. Ironically, an image of one of the world’s most famous Marxists is a capitalist cottage industry. It’s not just t-shirts, either. Wallets, bags, posters, bracelets, and other goods are emblazoned with Che’s scruffy face. It is must have gear for the teenage kid that wants to piss off their parents or college students pretending to be communists for a semester before becoming finance majors.

Racist Weed Pipe

While we here at Tu Vez do not advocate drug use, we know some of you out there may sometimes toke up. We’re sure it’s for your glaucoma or whatever. Whenever you go to a market anywhere in Latin America there will be weed pipes. Many are your standard glass or ceramic pipes. However, an alarming number of these chronic receptacles are racist caricatures. How many pipes do you see with lazy sombrero wearing Mexicans, black-faced Dominicans, or little Andean Indians? Lots. Why are the manufacturers often encouraging you to smoke narcotics through these stereotype’s erect penises? What the heck is going on in the weed pipe manufacturing industry in Latin America?

“Traditional” Dress

This one appeals mainly to middle-aged women. Listen, we know it must be hard being from some boring suburb in middle America. We also understand that that the native dress of Latin America may seem exotic and flashy compared to your clothes from JcPenney’s. However, if you don native dress, at best you look like a pathetic poseur and at worst like you are making fun of the natives. It doesn’t help you “fit in”. You stick out like a turd in a punch bowl. You are a 5’9 ft white woman with red hair that weighs 250 lbs. No one is about to mistake you for a Quechua maiden.

Hair Braids

There is nothing that says “lame white woman that went anywhere near a beach in Latin America” than those stupid hair braids. Last time we checked, the only white woman who ever looked good in braids was Bo Derek in the movie “10”. You WILL NOT look like Bo Derek. On a pretty island girl, some tight braids with a few beads and cowrie shells looks exotic and sexy. On most American women, it looks like puffy pink marshmallow had a dirty mop stapled to it.

Life’s A Beach ___ Shirt

Life is hard, it is not a friggin’ beach. Especially not in most places in Latin America. People have to work their butts off just to make enough to pay the rent. It’s nice that you have the disposable income to go on vacation, but don’t make it seem like life in Cozumel, Costa Rica, The DR, Puerto Rico, or wherever you went is all laying on the beach and Jimmy Buffet songs. Your t-shirt slogan is misleading. The only people who live that “life’s a beach” lifestyle is people on vacation. The rest of us work for a living.

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