On the first of three flights that would eventually bring us home yesterday, Studley and i groggily navigated US Customs declaration forms.

“Exposure to Livestock”?  Taking the easy cheap shot, i pointed at him and said “i think i have to declare this, since we’ve been bunkies for the week”.

“Are you transporting any vegetables?”  His turn for the cheap shot, as he started to write my name in the blank.

“Did you purchase anything?”

Scratching my head and other bits, i was momentarily vexed. Could not think of what i’d bought.

daisyfae: Did we buy anything this week?

Studley: Four litres of liquor at the Duty Free shop on our way out of the country… but that doesn’t count, right?

Spending a week on a quasi-tropical island, and between the two of us, we’d not bought a single souvenir. No t-shirts. No gee-gaws or knick-knacks.

daisyfae: Doesn’t that seem weird? We spent money… Rented scooters on the non-dive day… Ate pretty well… The hotel bill included the dive shop costs for Nitrox…

Not that there weren’t ample opportunities to shop, despite the fact that Bonaire is a small enough island that there are no traffic lights.  Some of our fellow dive buddies spent money in the shops.

As we wound our way through three airports on Sunday, it was apparent that others had been busy.  One couple had gone to great lengths to transport a 4′ long wooden carved iguana. They had tucked him into a backpack, with his head poked through.  A strategically placed sock on the head for protection, it looked like a baby in a pappoose.

They also schlepped a large, wooden carved sun thing of some sort. i never saw it, but knew that it was too large to fit in the overhead bin of any plane we rode homeward. They probably spent several hundred dollars on the carvings – and from what i could see of Baby Iguana, it was more kitsch than art.

A few of the gents in our group bought jewelry for wives and daughters. Most folks at least bought a souvenir t-shirt or hat from the dive shop.

Studley: No. i don’t think we’re weird. We just don’t buy shit.

Over the course of my last few adventures, though, i have picked up a strange habit. Trying the local brew wherever i land, i’ve started peeling the labels off beer bottles.  They can be easily flattened and stuck inside my passport.

This has become my souvenir collection method. Whether or not i could locate all of the beer labels i’ve collected through the years is an entirely different matter, however.

Bonaire made this a bit challenging. Part of the Dutch Antilles, this little island (as well as the sister islands of Aruba and Curacao) import virtually everything from the Netherlands. We were stuck with a very limited supply of ‘local’ beer.

Studley:  “What’s your local beer?”

Cute Barmaid:  “Amstel, Amstel Bright, Heineken”

daisyfae:  “No, we want something brewed in the region. Something unique. Something the folks who live here drink.”

Cute Barmaid:  “Yes. Amstel, Amstel Bright, Heineken”

So we bought “Amstel Bright”, which is the Dutch version of Corona – served with a lime wedge. And about as disappointing.  But there were labels to peel…

Not so easily discouraged, we eventually found ONE Venezuelan beer! “Polar”.

Unfortunately, there was no label to peel.  It’s printed directly on the glass.

Whatever… i still didn’t buy any souvenirs.  i took a picture.  Close enough.