“Pic of the Week”, September 28, 2018: Dubai’s Textile Souk

00 textile souk, Dubai (2)

Situated in the Bur Dubai, adjoining Dubai Creek, is the Textile Souk.  This is a pretty market district located within a restored traditional bazaar, its buildings and walkways shaded by a wooden roof (the shade providing welcome relief from the almost unbearable desert heat). There is a main central lane to the market, with side alleys leading to smaller shops.

Most of the shops are now operated by Indian (rather than Arab) traders and the merchandise sold varies from the colorful bolts of cloth (cotton, silk, some embroidered), dresses, blankets, slippers, and assorted Dubai souvenir items.  Bartering is expected and often lively.  Many of the shops have tailors who can sew you a dress or shirt and have it ready before you depart …

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.All Trips / Asia / Food / Sri Lanka

Exploring the Pettah Market, Colombo

00 Pettah Neighborhood Colombo Market 04-2017 (56)

I love to explore markets and walked a few miles to see this one — the Pettah Market in Colombo.  Situated in an older portion of the city, the market extends over several blocks in the Pettah neighborhood and caters to local residents, not tourists. In fact, I think mine was the only white face in the market.  The market was lively, filled with colorful produce and interesting smells, and full of conversation and bartering — as any good market should be.

The fresh produce was beautiful, featuring what was in season, notably pineapples, wood apples, papayas, watermelon and lots of different types of bananas.  A huge assortment of vegetables were piled on the ground or on low tables and a …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai / Food

A Visit to Dubai’s Spice Souk

13 Spice Souk

When you disembark from the abra (water taxi) that takes you across brackish Dubai Creek and begin strolling the streets of the older Deira neighborhood, you’ll soon enter the market district. A favorite stop here is the spice souk, which you’ll smell at a distance of several blocks before you even enter it. It’s a pleasant aroma, associated with beautiful and colorful displays. The spice souk adjoins the popular gold souk and, like it, is shaded by a high roof.

There are large piles of spices in front of the many shops in the souk, including cooking spices, frankincense, cinnamon, rose (and other flower) petals. You’ll find an assortment of dried fruit as well. One of the most popular spices sold …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 2, 2018: Shopping in San Telmo

00 San Telmo shopping

San Telmo is one of the more popular neighborhoods for shopping and dining in Buenos Aires.  The city, at its prime in the late 19th century, is now in what could most kindly be called a state of “elegant decay”.  There are a lot of old shops in San Telmo, which is especially well known for its antique market.  

My favorite store was one that sold these unusual leg lamps (see above), which brought a smile to my face as I remembered the famous scenes involving a similar lamp from the classic film, “A Christmas Story“.  A small craft market surrounded around one of San Telmo’s squares, great coffee shops and produce stands.

My wife and I spent the better part …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 24, 2017: Dubai’s Perfume Souk

00 Perfume Souk

Dubai has a number of market districts, including a perfume souk.  It’s located in the Deira neighborhood, not far from the gold and spice souks.  Arab perfumes are not the light flowery affairs you find in European shops — here the scents are spicy and quite strong, and tend to linger.  Arabian perfumes are oil based so they may leave a stain when sprayed on clothes, so be careful when using them. 

Of course perfumes from around the world are also sold in Dubai’s perfume souk and many shops will even custom craft a scent if you ask,  but the local fragrances are a specialty.  As are the decorative jars the perfumes can be stored in.   The perfumes are reasonably …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A Visit to Dubai’s famous Gold Souk

Gold Souk 08

While the image most travelers have of Dubai is of shiny new skyscrapers piercing the desert air (a fair impression to be sure), you can still find places in the city which date to the time before the construction boom that transformed the region.  Most of these sites of older Dubai are in the Deira and Bur Dubai neighborhoods which straddle Dubai Creek, the region of the city first settled in the 19th century.  A variety of markets can be found here the most famous of which is the gold market (aka souk).

You’ll be welcomed by it’s wood lattice arcade proudly proclaiming, “Dubai: City of Gold”!  While it is not enclosed or air-conditioned, the market’s roof provides welcome shade and …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Spain

La Boqueria: Barcelona’s fabulous Food Market

01 La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

One of the finest food markets I’ve ever visited, and supposedly one of the best in the world, is the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, usually just called “La Boqueria It’s one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist spots — so much so that group tours are no longer allowed inside.  You, the independent traveler, are welcome!  The market is just off the popular pedestrian mall, La Rambla, not far from Barcelona’s opera house. A iron gate frames your entrance to the very diverse and fresh selection of food items within.

The first mention of the Boqueria market dates to 1217, when tables were installed near the old city gate to sell meat. From December 1470, a pig market was …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Italy

Catania’s Fabulous Market

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Besides the sight of Mt. Etna looming not far away, perhaps the most famous landmark in Catania is its lively fish market, La Pescheria.  There’s more to the market than seafood, but I’ve never encountered a more diverse selection of fresh seafood anywhere.  And the operative word is fresh as much of the merchandise was still flopping and flipping about.  The fish mongers are a lively bunch, trying to entice everyone passing by to purchase their fish, which are said to be the best and/or cheapest in the market.

Given that it’s situated on the Gulf of Catania, it’s not surprising to find that seafood is so popular with the locals and a key ingredient in local cuisine.  You’ll find massive …

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