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Old 15-07-2012, 08:44   #1
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Welcome to Bartertown

Had to make the Mad Max referece. Do you carry anything to barter with? Both with locals along the way and with other cruisers? I have heard tale of some people making beer, some people bring alot of extra toothbrushes. BUT what is really used / where / why?
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Old 15-07-2012, 11:24   #2
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Re: Welcome to Bartertown

That's a moving target related to destination. It's a fine line between being a patronizing Western rich bastard and a welcome supplier of small items not otherwise easily obtained.

Cubans used to welcome T-shirts back in the day, for instance, but I understand that the market economy is developed enough now that this is no longer the case.

Isolated islands in the Pacific welcome pens, pads and pencils, esp. coloured pencils for art. Other places love the cheapo reading glasses we can obtain for $3 each at surplus stores. Hand those out and make friends with every villager over 45, even if they only have a Bible to read. Perhaps especially then (small print, after all!)

We intend to separate the idea of "small gifts for the headman to distribute" from actual barter items. We feel that if we spend three unthieved weeks in some South Pacific lagoon, hauling a Honda 2000 ashore and drilling beams to reroof a nursing station or a schoolhouse roof is going to get us plenty of local karma, whereas simply showing up with "stuff" is a little too easy.

Same principle as having a decent watermaker. Handing out five gallons of really clean water in the dry season makes friends.

So it's a case of research before you go. The same goods or services offered may be very welcome in some places, and gravely insulting in others. I would endeavour to listen, to keep humble and to look as low-rent as possible to deter theives who are going to be after more than toothbrushes.
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Old 15-07-2012, 11:41   #3
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Re: Welcome to Bartertown

Thanks for the quick reply and I am not looking to "buy" my way.. just curious as to peoples experiences and suggestions. Obviously where you are going and where you are coming from can influence this greatly, but I welcome the wide range of experiences.
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Old 15-07-2012, 12:25   #4
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Re: Welcome to Bartertown

Six months ago while sailing through Vanuatu and the Solomon's (the outer or more remote islands) I found that flour, sugar and rice where in great need but most of all - soap/shampoo/toothpaste. The kids loved the Gummy Bears the boat was stacked with after the owners bought a ship load by mistake and I gladly gave them away as they took a third of our storage space. I guess toothpaste is now on top of their list.
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Old 15-07-2012, 12:39   #5
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Re: Welcome to Bartertown

When Connie and I started out Tee shirts and Playboy Mags were the big thing !! LOL now we try to bring toilet things "shampoo, tooth paste, fancy soaps" Connies fresh bread has been a biggie most every where we have been !! also her fudge and sticky buns have been a big hit with kids everywhere we have ever been just a couple of thoughts
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Old 15-07-2012, 13:56   #6
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Re: Welcome to Bartertown

Any problems with customs' duty? Or does the nice gentleman from Customs get a gift for Mrs Customs languishing at home....
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Old 15-07-2012, 14:37   #7
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Re: Welcome to Bartertown

I've only had customs "shakedowns" in first world nations, and they don't bribe well.
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