At the beginning of May I traveled to Peru to visit my Compassion Child. I knew beforehand we would have time to shop the local Peruvian markets, so I planned accordingly. I traveled with a specific amount of cash and was only willing to buy things that fit my small budget, were of good quality and people could use. No cheesy touristy junk that would just get tossed into drawers (you know exactly what I mean!). Although, I did break and buy some touristy llama magnets and these t-shirts for my mom, dad, sister and best friend (that fit totally awkward and wish I had not bought them!! – lesson learned).
Here are a few items that I did buy:
Woven Cylinder Basket (used as pencil holder)
Hand Carved Wood Garlic Masher
My awesome Peruvian Printed Kicks! I adore the patter and bold colors.
Felt Decorative Ball Strands
We traveled to two different markets, one in Chiclayito called Catacaos and the other in Lima. The one in Lima had much more textiles like items such as rugs, clothes, shoes, wall decor and knit items. It was set up like a flea market with sales people at individual booths. It was neatly kept up and had concrete floors and a roof. The market in Chiclayito was a street market with different vendors that set up and down the street on blankets along with several indoor shops. They offered more wood items and leather goods to buy like purses and shoes.
At both of the markets, all of the prices were fair-game, with the exception of a few higher end booths. We could bargain for anything and everything. The catch was that the majority of the sales people spoke Spanish and I knew my broken Spanish could not talk down any prices. Luckily, there were several people in our tour group that helped us out when it came to negotiating prices! I was able to talk the prices down way lower than they would have ever sold here in the U.S.
Eventually, I got comfortable enough over the course of the tour and used some of the Spanish I learned in highschool to get to know some of the sales people and also to talk down some of the prices where I felt it was fair. And it was pretty fun trying to bargain with the salespeople. Most of the items in Chiclayito were dirt cheap, and I felt like they were worth so much more than they were being sold for, so I paid whatever price they asked. The Lima market was marked way up but that’s because it’s extremely populated with tourists and located in a huge city.
I tried to only buy items that were handmade. The exception here might be the shoes, but I’m okay with that because they are totally awesome and were a huge hit with my tour group when I wore them for the first time!
- The Pineapple (which is Pino in Spanish) Xylophone is for our foster baby Ella. When I got back from Peru, she was only 9 months and I knew a noisy toy would be the best and most practical item she could actually (right mom? 😉 ). I also bought her an adorable knit dress which I will show later in another post. Cost: around $10
- The woven basket with the lid only cost $2.50. So cheap! I should have bought many many more and handed them out as gifts to my co-workers. It fit’s all of my pens, pencils, and scissors perfectly. Plus the colors pop against my white bookshelf.
- The hard-carved Wood Garlic Masher. My mom has yet to use this but it is displayed nicely on our TV stand for everyone to see. The lady who sold this to me made these herself and signs each one individually. I love that extra personalization! And it only cost $5!
- The shoes were $15. Not the best quality (you can see a little glue where the sole and material were attached together) but they were the only ones in that color and pattern that I liked and I knew I wasn’t leaving Peru without them! I had scoured the internet before my trip and knew these existed, so as soon as I spotted them (with my shopper hawk eyes) I ran and claimed them to be mine. It’s way to hot to wear them now but once it cools down a bit, I will be rocking these more often!
- One of my favorites and the last item is the Decorative Felt Ball Strands. They were $10 for 3. Not bad. I spotted these the first time we went to the market in Lima but didn’t end up buying them until we flew back into Lima on our last day. They were also my last purchase in Peru before we took our bus to catch our flight home. I knew I wanted to hang them on my shutters in my bedroom. I really like them and the extra color they add. Every time I wake up, I am instantly reminded of Peru and my little Compassion girl! =)
One Item I do regret not buying is a rug. They had so many beautiful woven rugs with the prettiest colors and prints. Plus, they were only being sold for about $35-$60, which is not a bad deal at all. Maybe this will be my excuse to go back and visit my little girl, Anali, of course!
Items bought but not shown: Wooden Spoons and Forks, Child’s Woven Knit Dress, knit llama key-chains for my little nieces and nephew, patterned picture frame, t-shirts, and a Starbucks mug. DIY post with the spoons coming soon and also a post with some of the remaining items. Stay tuned!