Recently, during a long and uneventful bus ride through the savannas of West Africa, our trip leader sought to alleviate boredom by asking “What’s the most widely sold T-shirt in the world?” Alas, the game didn’t last long; it didn’t take me long to figure out that it was the iconic image of Che Guevara in his signature beret. It’s a well-known fact among travelers that wherever you go, if you’re paying attention, you will find Che staring out at you not only from T-shirts, but from books, decals and mud flaps as well. That this occurs in Latin America, where citizens presumably have some historical context, is not surprising. That it occurs in places as geographically and ideologically removed as Ethiopia and Sri Lanka is remarkable, and worthy of more exploration than time and the lack of a common language have usually allowed.
There was once a very enjoyable and original web site called Che Spotting devoted to just this phenomenon, publishing traveler-submitted photos from all over the world. Sadly the site now is now abandoned, leaving me with the random assemblage posted here.
And a question for travelers: Who’s the runner-up?