Monday, July 25, 2011

#017 Best Cheap Trip Around the World

This weekend I went to check out Eyes of the World Imports, which is rated as the "Best Cheap Trip Around the World."

This place is located in the Linen District, which I think is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of town. The area is also the home to Big City Coffee, the Linen Building, Donnie Mac's, and The Modern Hotel and Bar. I especially love it because it is easy to get to (right off of Front street) and there is always plenty of free parking. Eyes of the World is located almost directly across from Donnie Mac's -- in fact, you can see it from the restaurant if you are sitting outside on one of their trailer trash couches!

I was excited to check this place out, because normally quirky stores are excellent places to get gifts for people. However, the store fell flat in my mind. Right when I walked in, I noticed a sign that asked guests to check in backpacks and large bags, which is completely understandable. However, they asked for my purse. It wasn't even one of those giant bags that have become so popular. I would say my purse was of medium size, and I think I was slightly uncomfortable my entire time in the store because my purse was sitting behind their counter.

I think the best way to describe this store is stereotypical. I was expecting treasures and exciting things from random parts of the world. Instead, it was your standard hippie fare, overpriced sunburst mirrors, lots of incense, and Tibetan prayer flags. The website boasts about all their hemp products- hemp lipgloss, hemp clothing, hemp clothing.  The clothes were the usual earthy, tie-dyed type designs with no real structure and "one size fits all." That kind of stuff can be awesome, but not when it is $20-$40 dollars! I liked reading some of the stories about the items around the shop, but most of the cool jewelry and items are locked up in glass cases, so it is hard to get much of a glimpse at them anyway.

I think I might be spoiled here, because I grew up in the Seattle Area, and we had the Ye Old Curiousity Shop, which is the most amazing "treasures of the world" type store you could expect to find. They have mummies, magical pianos, two headed animals, you name it.

However, Eyes of the World did have some interesting home d├ęcor items, like sunburst mirrors, tea sets, and salt lamps, but they were too expensive for me to be intrigued. You can get similar items at World Imports or Urban Outfitters, and for a much better price. For instance, the tea sets were cute put some were over $50 dollars! I did like this little blue dishes they had that were 30%, but even at that price a full set would have been spendy to assemble (about $2/tiny little plate). If you eat a lot of sushi at home and have a use for cute little saucers, then I would totally spring on that. I couldn't really justify it.

To sum it up, this place reminded me of those turtles with the bobbing heads you can get in Mexico (if you have ever gotten one, you will know what I mean). I even thought about those bugs that come in a little container and you pop it open and it looks like their legs are moving. When you first go to Mexico, these seem like the perfect souvenir and you buy a bunch for your friends. Then, as you get older and travel more and start paying attention, you realize any crappy gift shop sells those dang turtles and bugs in a container. They aren't anything special and they certainly aren't a good representation of Mexico. Hopefully that makes sense -- Eyes of the World is one of those stores where you walk in thinking its unique and end up finding out its just the same old "trendy" items masqueraded as worldly.

There are a few things of note -- this may be a good place to get incense, as they had a lot of selection. I also found myself wishing I had bought a satchel of lavender they had near the front entrance...I might meander back if I am enjoying a coffee at Big City or some custard at Donnie Mac's, for that lavender and for not much else.


Lauren Hairston said...

Ugh I hate when places want to take my purse! How are you supposed to feel comfortable shopping somewhere like that?

Have you been to World Market? I mostly go there for import food and some kitchen stuff, but they also have home stuff and some cute (and reasonably priced) decorations during the holiday season.

Kelsey said...

I know Its so odd. I have always wanted to go to world market and have never made it... I'll have to see if there is one here! I also didn't realize they sold some food. Sounds like my kind of place.