What Souvenirs Did We Bring Home From Sri Lanka?

February 14th ~ Back at our mountain cabin

Baskets to rest string hoppers on before cooking them

I’m almost done unpacking and suitcases have been put back into the cupboards until our next journey. After resting a couple of days, we are caught up on sleep and feel like our bodies are back on California time.

A huge pile of laundry awaits.

After downsizing a few years ago, selling our home to travel the world, and moving to our small mountain cabin, our wants and needs are minimal. On recent trips, buying souvenirs has been mostly limited to a scarf or small piece of jewelry, both of which pack easily and are used.

But this time I did break the rules and picked up a few tidbits that I thought would be fun to share with you.

Celon Tea

We visited a tea factory outlet in Colombo on our Tuk Tuk excursion. We got to sample several kinds of tea. I am becoming quite fond of putting milk in my tea in the morning. I asked for a recommendation of one I could use with milk and would be low in caffeine. This is what they recommended.

A wonderful blend of flowers

Fresh Whole Turmeric

I also bought the turmeric at the tea shop. I have used whole nutmeg for years that I can grate myself and thought this would be a nice addition to my kitchen.

Whole Turmeric

Folding Hat

The only hat I brought with me on this trip was a baseball cap, and I forgot it one morning. After looking at beautiful but too expensive blue sapphires and silk items at the shop next door, I instead purchased this folding hat for roughly $1.50. It came in handy.

Folds flat

When open. It also has a drawstring strap to hold it in place in the wind.

Ceylon Tea and Ylang Hand and Body Lotion

I found this at the tea factory stop on our tour. Since I had already purchased some tea earlier, I decided to give this a try. I found the fragrance very mild and it left my hands feeling soft and smooth. Karen thought it felt sticky to her, but I really liked it.

Nice light fragrance

Elephant Necklace

Another spur of the moment purchase. There are venders all over the place. I think I got this one for only a couple of dollars after making the 1233 step climb and surviving.

I love this and ended up wearing it for the rest of the trip

Coconut Spoons

They use every bit of the coconut trees. Coconut spoons are made from the coconut shell. I needed more cooking spoons. Decided on a set of three that had a nicer handle than most. I paid 800 rupees (just over $4) for the set and he threw in an extra small size in a cheaper version.

This is the nicer set that I paid roughly $4 for

This is the small cheaper version he gave me.

String Hopper Makers 

At our home hosted dinner we were shown how to make string hoppers. Our hostess made a thin batter and several of us tried our hand at squeezing the dough through a metal sieve onto a round woven base. If done right, they should look rather like a birds nest. The strings are then rested a short time before being steamed.

Karen and I both thought that this would be fun to try at home and perhaps make some very fine angel hair style pasta.

I found the first version, which was rather cheaply made (pot metal?). This was the traditional Sri Lankan style, but it only came with one very small disk.

Sri Lankan style string hopper maker

I was afraid that would be too tiny to make noodles in, so shopped further and found a brass version from India that had an entire set of different sized discs. I think this was the most expensive item I purchased on the entire trip. It was roughly $17.

Set of six cutting discs came with this string hopper maker

Elephant Dung Bookmark 

Yes, you read that right. One of our tour members told me they had found some notebooks as well as the bookmarks made from elephant dung in one of our hotel gift shops. Unfortunately I only had about five minutes to quickly take a look before it was time to get on our tour bus.

If I had more time, I probably would have purchased one of the diary notebooks as well.

All together my purchases came to well under $100 USD.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am thankful that in a small way we were able to help the economy of Sri Lanka and we came away with some memorable, fun, unique and mostly useable items. I know that each time I enjoy that cup of tea, rub the lotion on my hands, wear the necklace, grind the turmeric, cook or serve with my coconut spoons, attempt to make some noodles, or open a book with the page held by my elephant poop marker, I will think of our time in Sri Lanka and smile…

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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35 Responses to What Souvenirs Did We Bring Home From Sri Lanka?

  1. moragnoffke says:

    The hats look nifty.


  2. Darlene says:

    You chose your souveniers well. You simply can´t visit Shri Lanka and not bring home some Ceylon Tea! I have some elephant dung notepaper. So cool.


  3. Mike Alesko says:

    Joanne, it must be so tempting to buy so many things on your travels. I brought many items home from Gustemala and treasure them.


  4. Trish Hatcher says:

    I love seeing purchases and hearing the meaning behind them!! I still remember the stunning necklace you bought in Morocco!


    • Hi Trish, nice to hear from you! Sadly that beautiful necklace does not get out very often. I find that our life style now rarely means dressing up. But when I do have the opportunity to wear it, I still smile with wonderful memories.


  5. joliesattic says:

    Interesting stuff you got there. The last set of discs are like those for my cookie press. The rotating handle does not, so that’s interesting. I was going to ask what string hoppers were, but you answered that, lol.


  6. Paul says:

    I thoroughly enjoy reading of your journeys. Thanks for sharing them with us.


  7. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson says:

    I love that you don’t buy a lot of stuff when you travel. That’s what we try to do as well; the experience itself is the focus and maybe getting a few things that get later use rather than collecting dust is perfect. I’ve loved following your recent journey!


    • Hi Kathleen! From this last batch of goodies, the coconut spoons have become a favorite. They are so practical. And I have not taken the elephant necklace off. Oh, the hand lotion is another one getting good use. I too like getting things that will be used and enjoyed.


  8. Fran says:

    welcome home! I really enjoyed travelling along with you through your posts 🙂


  9. Barbara Yurick says:

    My friend purchased that had on our trip to Vietnam. I love following your posts and when I’m deciding on visiting a country with Gate 1 Travel I look at your posts.


  10. Barbara Yurick says:

    My friend bought the collapsible hat that you bought in Vietnam last month. I love following your posts and always look at them when I’m planning my trips with Gate 1 Travel.


  11. I was also wondering about string hoppers, but all was finally revealed. I’m sure I would have had a lot of tea and tea products in my suitcase coming back. Looks like you did quite well. I find the elephant dung products quite interesting!!



  12. Looks like you went wild on the souvenirs, Joanne. (Grin) Elephant dung is serious stuff. When I drove through East Africa in a VW bug, I would drive around it to avoid high centering. 🙂 –Curt


  13. Widdershins says:

    Excellent cache of loot 🙂 … love the hat. 😀


  14. I had had to google string hoppers – and string hopper presses – but I am really looking forward to hearing how you do making them! Do they compare with the original product?


  15. puddle-jumper says:

    Love seeing posts like this. It gives me some good ideas of useful things to bring home or gift when traveling! 👍


  16. snowgood says:

    I don’t think you can go wrong with a 1.50 dollar hat. I hardly ever go out without a hat, but then I’m always wary of a bird mistaking my head for a nest.


  17. Now after reading this i can’t wait to go to colombo
    Sending you all the love
    Hope you are safe

    Do read review and follow my blog.Your reviews are valuable


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