DemosNews: Travel Gifts
Travel Gifts
By: sakurachan

It’s often a dilemma what to bring and what to carry back as casual gifts, preferably something distinctive to the locale. My favorite when going abroad these days— of smart American design, small, unbreakable, beguiling mechanically, eminently usable, and an ongoing source of delight—is a little eyeglass case from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It’s handsome to look at, with broad stripes of Bauhaus grey and black, but the real pleasure comes from its lithe motion. The case yaws open as expected, but then each half continues to roll, curved back upon curved back, until the tones reverse, and their connecting ‘hinge’ glides smoothly, magically, to the opposite edge. It’s rather like the Jacob’s Ladder toy that we enjoyed as kids: when you flipped the top wooden square, all the others attached to it by long ribbons flapped upside down sequentially too—clackity, clackity, clack.

I always tuck five or six of these glass cases in my suitcase to pass on spontaneously. Because they’re low key and inexpensive ($10 a pop), there’s no pomposity factor. You can hand one to a favorite dealer at lunch, or a colleague, or a dear friend. Everyone is tickled by it, and begins playing with it immediately, intrigued at the effortlessly flowing motion.

As to gifts arriving from abroad, I received a wonderful one yesterday. A friend visiting Seoul went to the best ginseng purveyor in town, Shinsegae, (where else would such a specialist exist but in Korea!), and bought a lovely presentation box of their best dried powder infusion, ‘Red Ginseng Koong Joong myung cha’. Just reading the ingredients is a trip: ‘Red Ginseng extract, Ssanghwa extract, red dates extract, licorice extract powder, Acanthopanax senticosus extract, Liriope platphylla extract, Artemisia capillaries, Chinese matrimony vine extract, leaves of Japanese persimmon extract, ginger extract, peanuts, red dates slices, pine nuts, paeonia japonica, Szechuan lovage, angelicaegigantix, cinnamon… Add to that the revered shape of ginseng root itself, like a little human being with two legs, and the strong belief that its essence imparts great vigor to the body, and this is a treat that digs deep into Korean culture. Tastes fabulous too!

So what are the little favorites that you bring or come to you?

© 2022 sakurachan of DemosNews

November 24, 2007 at 5:13pm
DemosRating: 4
Hits: 1364

Genre: Away (Reviews)
Type: Creative
Tags: MoMA, eyeglasses, ginseng, jacob’s, ladder,

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