Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Exotic Wallet

Walking through Goa, India, my friend Deon decided he needed one of the leather wallets at a small store on the main street near Siquerim Beach. Little did either of us know that we were about to encounter one of the world's truly unique items.

While Deon perused the selection, I wandered over to look at the knock-off items on a back shelf. Ookley sunglasses, Doir purses and Calvin Kleen colognes were all remarkably cheap. I was laughing at the spelling when Deon called me over.

He had a wallet in his hand, and I asked him if he was going to buy it.

"I need you to put it in your pocket and sit on it."

I stared at him, trying to figure out if this was an oddball negotiating tactic he needed my help in.

"I need to know if it's comfortable to sit on," he persisted. "I'm wearing a swimsuit, and I don't have rear pockets. You've gotta sit on it and tell me how it feels."

I laughed and did as I was asked, then pondered whether I was level before finally deciding I was and told him it was "probably OK."

That wasn't good enough for Deon, who wondered why I'd said "probably."

I rolled my eyes, took the wallet out of my pocket, set it on the chair and told him to sit on it and pretend it was in his pocket. He did, decided it was OK, then offered the seller half of the asking price.

This was when we found out just how desirable the wallet was.

"No sir," the vendor said. "You must pay full price. This is special wallet."

"What's special about it?" Deon asked.

"It is real Italian camel leather," the vendor offered.

I looked up and frowned. "Real Italian camel leather?" I asked.

"Yes, yes. Finest quality," he answered.

"Where, if I may ask, does one find camels in Italy?" I really wanted to know.

"You must not have been to Italy," he said.

"But I have. Twice. And my sister lived there for three months," I said. "And I never saw a camel."

The seller, unfazed, told me very seriously that I had simply not visited the right places, and had I gone to the spot where there are camels, I would have come across Italian camel leather.

Deon made the seller promise him that the wallet was really made from Italian camel leather, then negotiated a price and bought it. I think he paid something like $5. I'm really not sure if the seller was blatantly lying, or if he truly believed that his wallet was made from leather harvested from slain Italian camels.


Rodrigo said...

oi não sei se falamos a mesma língua mas quero te dizer q são bela as suas fotos um abraço.....

Rodrigo said...

esta no nome de Rodrigo,mas é q estou usando o endereço de meu esposo,meu nome é clé abraço