Before becoming a favorite home décor item, wooden molds like this one were hard at work creating cones of brown sugar in Mexico. But as I found out when I tried to get one home on an airplane, a sugar mold isn’t just a great souvenir; it turns out one person’s Mexican sugar mold is another’s bludgeon.
Too large for my checked luggage, I affixed a rope handle and then slipped it only the belt of the x-ray machine. In a pre-9/11 world, little thought would have been paid to my travel find. But with post-9/11 goggles on, security told me that it would not be allowed as a carry-on. “It could be a bludgeon,” I was told.
Luckily, I had plenty of time to get back to the check-in counter and check the mold through to my final destination. However, with a tight connection, you can kiss that puppy goodbye. USAToday travel writer Laura Bly’s recent travels sidelined a precious memento. Read the saga here.
Heather bought this bracelet a gift shop near Waikiki Beach in 2004.
This silver bracelet with starfish charms is no ordinary piece of jewelry to its owner Heather Gooch
, co-owner of Gooch & Gooch
. Not only is it a fond memento of her trip to Hawaii in 2004, it also became a source of comfort on her flight home.
“I’ve always been a nervous flier,” she says. “When I saw there were ten starfish, I realized it was the same as a decade of beads on a rosary. I could say the rosary discreetly on my way home on the plane without freaking out other passengers.”
Purchased at a gift shop near Oahu’s famous Waikiki Beach, the bracelet’s charms are inlaid with mother of pearl.
“I wanted something nice,” Heather remembers. “This was a once in a lifetime trip and I wanted something nice to remember it by. I still wear it six years later. If there’s an important meeting that I have to go to, you might find it on my wrist. Truth be told, I see it as my good luck charm.”
Cost: approximately $12
Can’t get to Hawaii? Here are a few starfish bracelets you can order online:
The Elsa Peretti Starfish Bracelet from Tiffany & Co. for $1,195.
Sterling Silver Polished Starfish Link Bracelet for $25.19.
The pearl starfish bracelet from Island Bangles for $45.
Because the Taiwanese name for radish, “caitao,” sounds like the word for “good luck,” radishes have long represented luck at temples, elections and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
But what’s the story with the radish in the sumo loincloth? Is it a cartoon imported from Japan?A good luck charm for wrestling matches? A Google search turned up nothing but a recently released Mandarin film called “Radish Warrior.”
This particular sumo-wrestling radish is intended to go on a car license plate, thus the nut and bolt on its backside.
The item was purchased on Jan. 19, 2009, in Taipei. It was a gift for a friend who likes personified fruits and vegetables.
Cost $80 TWD or $2.50 USD