Sand, Sea and . . . Shopping?

Feb 21

I know it’s Un-American, but . . .

I hate shopping.
I loathe malls
Even Saks gives me hives if I’m not in the mood.

The thing is, I like things. The things you get if you actually Go Shopping. Which I hate.

Mustafa-Pat-BlogBut there’s one kind of shopping. I love: on the beach.

In Italy, men in straw heats come around to your beach chair with fancy purses bearing designer names. The purses, not the men. They all seem to be called Sadiq or Mustafa. The men, not the purses. The prices are far, far below what you’d pay in a store, but way more than the cheap knock-offs you can find on the streets (Canal, in particular) of New York.

These are gorgeous, well-made purses. You’d buy them wearing a bathing suit and sun glasses, sipping a cool drink. And wear them anywhere you want.

There is a catch, however, as there almost always is in anything so delicious. And that is that you know that these purses “fell off the truck,” or more likely in Italy, sneaked out the back way at the factory.

What a dilemma. You love these purses. You want these purses. You can afford these purses. They are a terrific investment because they’re classic and will hold up longer than you will.

HermesBagBlogAnd yet.

They’re not legit.
You are breaking the law.
So what.
Get over it.

Or not. Because as it happens, this pleasant pastime is now a thing of the past: the Italian authorities, when they’re not busy putting  bad boy Berlusconi on trial for consorting with 17-year-olds, are cracking down on all questionable commerce, and you’ll have to get your designer purses on Via Dei Condotti in Rome at astronomical designer prices, or settle for cheap knockoffs on Canal Street back in NYC.

But all is not lost. There is another way . . .

GrenadaYou can still shop on the beach, if you go to the Caribbean.

Okay, the shirts are not by Tommy Bahama, the pareus (sarongs to cover your thongs: as if) are not from Calypso, the hats are not exactly Borsalinos, the purses are not Vuitton, and the jewelry decidedly not by Harry Winston. But they’re colorful, they’re fun, they’re cheap. And they’re legal.

We just got back from Grenada (no, we weren’t invading), with suntans that begun to fade as the first arctic blast hit us at the airport — and suitcases full of dirty clothes made far less depressing by the bright-colored hat and pareu I got on the beach from my new BFF, Joan. She had hand made the hat over night after I admired the one she was wearing. Fun.

Inexpensive, unless you count the cost of the vacation . . . but who would be as mean-spirited to do a thing like that?


And my loot will come in handy this summer (when this endless winter finally ends) on a beach Down the Shore or In The Hamptons, where — along with the signs that say No Running, No Alcoholic Beverages, No Loud Music, No Driving (in case you wanted to park your Prius on the sand or something) — there might as well be one saying: NO SHOPPING.

Too bad about that.

I need some new beach towels. And a girl could always use a nice pair of flip flops. Just saying.



Photos by Lou Chisena

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