Madagascar was great for souvenir shopping. We visited some amazing craft workshops and the markets were not so bad, either.
I loved the kitchen utensils, pots and pans that I saw at so many market stalls, and the colourful fabric stores. There were spices galore, unusual pickles, and jams made from exotic fruit. We drank many a glass of flavoured rum, but a bottle of that would definitely have been too heavy to carry. I saw beautiful big, handwoven baskets, raffia rugs, straw hats, and silk scarves. The wood carvings were stunning, especially some of the sculptures and carved furniture. I could have bought embroidered linen for the whole house, not just for one table... There was so much talent and incredible craftmanship - and at prices that made you want to bargain to double them, not half them. I am ever so happy when I find a great deal, and I know that prices for tourists are higher than prices for locals, and that you're expected to discuss the price down a bit, but when you can buy a pretty spacious handmade shopping basket that I know somebody spent a few hours to weave for £1.50, I cannot find it in my heart to say that's not a fair price.
Here are photos of some of the things we brought back besides vanilla.
Trivet Made From Bottle Caps And Wire
Handcarved Baobab Tree
Handcast Aluminium Miniature Pots
They may sport a 'Made In China' stamp on the bottom,
but all the little roadside coffee shacks were using them.
I bargained this down from 2500 Ariary (or 75p) to 2000 Ariary (or 60p).
I'm that hard!
Clay Zebu & Clay Lemur
Made by some local boys we met at one of the National Parks.
Handcarved Miniature Christmas Manger
Bird Sculpture and Bowl Made from Zebu Horn
Handmade Antaimoro Paper Cards
This type of paper and technique is typical for Madagascar.
Small Wood Marquetry Box For Me
Detail Of A Handembroidered Table Cloth
This table cloth shows scenes from everyday Malagasy life.
The embroidery is so intricate, the image is the same on both sides,
not like when you look at the back of my cross stitching!
Some semi-precious stones
We were given these as a souvenir in a jewellery workshop.
The pink one is rose quarzt, but I cannot remember the name for
the blue stones. I believe the guide said that they are typical for Madagascar.
The Lamba is the traditional garment of the Malagasy people.
Women wear them as headscarves, dresses or skirts,
and men as cloaks or toga-style. They can also be used as blankets, curtains,
table clothsor as a baby sling. They often come printed with a proverb
of some kind. The green one depicts a fishing scene with boats and says
'Women deserve respect' (I should think so!), and the blue one shows
a map of Madagascar and says 'Made well in Madagascar'.
Milk, Dark and Lime & Sea Salt
And finally, a top tip if I've ever heard one. It's what our guide Eric suggested for our more delicate souvenirs. Just fit them in a plastic water or soda bottle, which will protect them from being squashed in your backpack or suitcase.
So simple, but I would have never thought of it! We bought a scroll made also from Antaimoro paper, which we are leaving in its bottle casing till we can get it framed. It made it safely back to the UK without a crease!
© Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)