Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Market Scene in Catania

Last Saturday, my friend Hope and I finally got to the Catania market, thanks to Mike, another colleague and friend who has lived here for several years. He goes just about every Saturday morning and has a perfect routine.

We met him at 7:45 and drove into the city, arriving at one of his favorite parking areas in less than half an hour. Catania is a city, and it sits right on the water. Before shopping, we had to have cappuccino and “una dolce” (a sweet) at the elegant Bar Kennedy near the market. Apparently Mike goes there regularly, as the waiter greeted him with much warmth and fuss. The warm ricotta-filled pastries were delicious and not too sweet.

Mike then oriented us and we agreed to meet at a designated place and time. The market, which is actually open every day, is Sicily’s answer to a shopping mall. It was all outside, under temporary awnings, but went on and on and on, around corner after corner. It had a little bit of everything you could want: fresh fish, meat, produce, cheese, clothing, leather goods, jewelry, carpets, spices, and more. Ladies underpants for one Euro ($1.20) and bras for two, Turkish carpets for 100-, Italian shoes for 10-, watches for 3-, grapefruit-sized peaches for one Euro per kilogram (2.2 lbs.), and “bargain basement” items for a Euro or two.
Hope found a beautiful silver and amber bracelet, and I ended up with a carpet runner for my hallway, a cheap watch, peaches, and a showerhead. We could have done much more “damage” with more time! But, hey, we can go ANY Saturday. We live here!


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