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Stuff to Give Away in South America

I will try here first.

What does one take to other countries as souviners to give away? This is usually for kids but maybe adults too. Pencils and erasers? Stickers? Cigarettes? I have no idea, but it would be a good thing to find out.

Perhaps posting to the legions of touring and cycling list will help although they scare me sometimes. People yelling at each other and calling each other stupid for posting incorrectly. That's a great way to make friends. And let's not get into the factions. Mountain bikes vs. horses is one that is currently going on - endlessly it seems.

But really, I have gotten some great info from these sites and expect nothing less than more good info to sift through.


I just responded to one of your forum posts. I'll reproduce it below in case you don't see it but if you are new to south america, want the archaeology scoop, and want to know how things really are there, i would be happy to help out. I just ask that you give me a few tips on my possible first long distance bike ride (europe).

Small back story:
I am an archaeologist who works in Bolivia at a major site called Tiwanaku (don't miss it if you are biking through, shoot to be there on the June solstice and you will have quite a treat). I am thinking about embarking on my first bike journey because of someone I met in Bolivia. We were working one morning and an american walked up and said "Hey...what IS this place." He had been biked all the way from California and had turned into the village of Tiwanau to spend the night on the way to la paz. When the sun came up in the morning he found he was at a huge monumental ancient capital with big temples and pyramids. I thought "this is something I could get into!"

Don't bring gifts. That is something silly to carry. Just bring money. Adults will love you if you pay for a round of beer and children will love you if you buy them some candy.

These kids have nothing so anything (including pencils and erasers) will be loved but it just seems like too much to carry. Even small villages have little tiendas where trinkets like that cost only a few pennies thus your locally bought gifts cost less, dont take up space in your bag, and have the same effect. If you meet a group of kids that you like, walk them all over to a tienda and buy them some crayons and some Nestle Sublimes.

Actually you will find that in the andes the main mode of transport is bicycle. Adults will want to look at yours (and consiquently you should keep an eye on it just in case. Since they dont know you they might not hesitate to take it from you, though most people in the andes are quite honest). If you are in a village on market day (usually saturday and sunday), i reccomend buying awesome decor for your bike. You cant beat "EL TIGRE" mudflapps and seat covers with tassles.

Feel free to email me if you want to know more about that part of the world.


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