In a world where 65 year olds have no wrinkles, where Photoshop magically gives adult women the 18 inch waist Scarlett O’Hara dreamed of, and spell check makes us all appear more clever than we really are, you would think I would be used to the idea that nothing is as it appears.
Still it’s a bit of a shock to see signs in store windows here in Bali announcing, ANTIQUES MADE TO ORDER.
Reminder, trust nothing unless you buy directly from the craftsperson (or in the case of antiques, someone who attended the McKinley inauguration.
So I bought this bag in Beijing from a woman dressed in traditional Tibetan garb, the hat, the draping, the skin darkened by years without sunscreen. The only one of its kind in her booth. A ratty looking booth in an open-air market. Price, about $20 USD after a respectable negotiation, good for her, good for me. Not a designer bag, but designed by someone and good looking. Hand stitched. Deep enough to carry my tech stuff. Not exactly directly from the craftsperson, but not too many people in the food chain making money off of the crafts people. Good deal.
I get to Bali and my friends Larry and Rai Collins take a look at the bag and say, nice bag, we bought some for friends in Thailand last year.
Not Tibet? I ask?
No. Thailand. $6.
Okay. $6 - $20, not too bad of a mark up. Who knows how much the ladies got for all that hand stitching. More people in the food chain than I would have liked.
So, yesterday we are in a juice bar having seriously healthy carrot/apple/ginger juice and what do we see hanging for sale? One of kind? Hand stitching and all?
Or is it?