Catania Fish Market

We spent some time in the city of Catania while in Sicily.  Though short it was full of action and the kind we like: adventure and food!!

Private tour guide helped make most of our tour. Will tell you more about that next time ­čśë┬á

We love local markets, seeing the live local culture in action is just priceless…


A short walk from our hotel, the Catania fish market was waiting to welcome us. It was like heaven for us, the variety of days catch – all sorts of fish, shellfish, octopus,… lively stall keepers shouting for their goods… ┬á

At the skirts of the fish market the vegetable and fruit stalls and accompanied by olive and cheese tables. ┬áMaking sure the shoppers will have a pick of the best for tonight’s dinner!

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Takuapa Afternoon Market

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You can’t visit Thailand and not check out the local markets. We have specifically found out the area local markets to get a better flavor of how people live, eat, and shop here.

Half an hour from our resort, Takuapa market beckoned… The main street is converted to a local market, lined by stands on both sides. The market is visited by as many locals as tourists. The entrance is dominated by fruit and food stands….

Locals helped us decipher some of the food — they are really gracious and kind. However some of the foods still remained a mystery such as the ‘angry birds’ skewers.
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We don’t know the name of this amazing desert but we decided to call it ‘fluffy coconut pillows’ after eating 3 plates of it. Watching how they were made was as good as eating them, a must have!
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Another coconut desert:
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Grape like fruits, perfect for the hot weather:
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There was some serious deep frying action of pork, duck, and chicken — the chicken was delicious.
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These large terra-cotta jars held some type of a drink. And people drank them with the cups shown in front or in nylon bags. Our regret is that we did not try it. Don’t do what we did – go for it.
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Latter part of the market is stalls, stands and little shops for all sorts of clothing. Majority of which I geared towards locals, but you might surprise yourself and find something as well. G and I found fisherman’s cotton pants at a stall for 100 baht; delighted to find something cultural that we can wear too.

Bargaining Tips: paying the first price will ensure you overpaying. So even if you are not the bargaining type, offer a lesser price. Do not insult the merchant by offering a ridiculous price e.g. for 400 baht do not offer 100, starting at 250 is a better route. And keep remembering that what you are paying is a fraction of your currency, you are still saving a lot.

Local markets are a delight and a great way to see and learn about the culture. Get out there and explore!

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Food & Culture Hunt at Khao Lak

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We took a short trip to Khao Lak center to check out the food and shopping scene. It is a long strip lined on both sides of the street with restaurants, and shops. This area was devastated by the Tsunami and one can still see the damage and people trying to recover. Very humbling to be here and be at Thai people’s hospitality.

Shops are not that interesting as they are filled with chackies, nick nacks, and knock off designer bags and clothing. But the scene is colorful. Tip: go in the late afternoon, it is cooler and there will be more restaurants that are open.

Hand carved soaps:
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Things that crack you up:
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And of course McDonalds: as disappointing to see, but also it is funny…
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Lunch at a sidewalk restaurant: morning glory veggies and spicy seafood dish (remember to ask for the rice). Fresh black and green peppercorns were the hit of the dish! 4 people, 4 dishes, 1 large beer, 1 fresh coconut juice = 700 baht ($23.54).
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Per G’s friend Iris from Taiwan, we stopped at a 7eleven to look for ‘birds nest drink and seaweed snacks’. We found both and more to try:
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Birds Nest and Collagen Drink: we drank both right away… both are made from some fruits, no added sugar. We suspect we would have to drink a whole bunch to see any effect. Was so fun and surprising to try them.
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T-8 days to vacation!

We are super excited about our trip. Packing and planning is mixed in with our expectations about all the amazing seafood we want to eat, visiting temples, and snorkeling we might do. None of us speak the language where we are going – so exciting. Can you guess our destination yet??

Travel packing is an art; we have travelled a lot and still trying to get it right. So here is our breakdown and tips:

B @USA: limiting shoes to 3 is my personal goal. Sticking to it!! taking 2 small suitcases (one is a cabin size). My packing obsession is ‘rolling’ – yes I roll everything, it has transformed how I pack. Less wrinkles and makes better use of space. Still trying to decide: 1 or 2 bikinis??

Y @SWEDEN: Every where is white in snow and no sun. We have just few days left to our trip to the sun. This is a “must have” when you live in such a climate. Just now excited, nervous, and very busy with my studies. Can’t wait to de-stress with my sisters on the beach.

Girls, to tell the truth I haven┬┤t started packing yet but in a little side of my mind I┬┤ve packed everything. I love your packing style “rolling” its just perfect… and definitely two bikinis.

Excited about what we might find at our destination; organic lotions, hand crafted fabrics, who knows what else. Last requests please! I can bring some snow if you didn┬┤t get any this winter.

G @TURKEY: I try to be very minimalist when it comes to pack for beach vacation; for this beach and relaxation vacation my goal is traveling with cabin size suitcase and big handbag only. I just bring my fancy Tory Burch flip flops, my bikini and 3 casual dresses 1 cover up for beach,1 t-shirt and short, my sunglasses <– this is very important!

For the long flights, I will wear my Keen sandals and leggings t-shirt and cardigan and 1 shawl which I can re-use when we visit the temples. I only need a big handbag to put all of these clothes in and few gifts for my sisters in my cabin size lagguage. Since I learned from my sister to roll the clothes I can’t stop, it’s very useful – I swear by it.

Almost all rolled up…
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