Feed Your Wanderlust with Flea Market Finds, Part One

Indulging on delicious cuisine, meeting people, exploring new places, opening your eyes to other cultures and going on epic adventures are probably the top reasons why we love to travel. They’re certainly a few of mine. But there’s one other reason that keeps popping in my head whenever I’m planning a trip or choosing my next destination: SHOPPING!

Visiting a new country means a fantastic opportunity to buy indigenous, artisanal wares that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in your own country or city. You don’t know how many times I’ve started obsessing about a country all because of an Instagram photo (of a beautiful rug from Marrakech, a colorful bag from Cartagena or a darling hammock from Nicaragua.)

Often, when I’m not traveling, I keep myself sane by means of retail gratification (aka shopping!) Luckily, our flea markets here in Los Angeles are bubbling with products imported from Mexico all the way to Ghana, and it’s the perfect place for me to feed my wanderlust without having to leave home and spend a few thousand dollars.

Here are some of the imported, artisanal wares I found on Sunday at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena:

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Colorful baskets from Ghana – These normally cost about $45 at the market.


Purses from Colombia


Simple yet elegant umbrella from Thailand – This one was massive and only cost $175.

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Singing bowls from Nepal – The medium sized ones are $35 to $45 dollars. These are great for meditation.


Pastel pots from Mexico


Lanterns from Morocco – Some of these had bits of rust, but their designs are intricate!


Baskets from El Salvador – These are great for beach picnics or grocery shopping. The medium sized ones are about $55.


Moroccan-inspired rugs and poufs


Fabrics from South Asia

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Fabrics from Ghana – These are from $35 to $45. There were a few different vendors selling the same stuff, so it wouldn’t hurt to haggle.


Rugs and tapestries from India

Rose Bowl Flea Market is a monthly market that takes place every 2nd Sunday of the month at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. General admission starts at 9am. Tickets cost $9 per person.

Quick Tips:

  • Bring plenty of water, as water is not cheap inside the market.
  • Wear a hat and cool clothing, and apply plenty of sunscreen. It gets pretty hot after 10am.
  • Bring plenty of cash. Many vendors accept credit cards, but they might charge an extra fee. Most of them prefer cash.
  • See something you like? Shop around first. There are many vendors in the market that sell similar stuff, and you’ll probably find a better price elsewhere.
  • Bring a cart, if you plan on making several or large purchases.


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Marvelous Magnets in Alluring Marrakesh

Spend a couple of days in Marrakesh, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the small yet vibrant city, and you’ll understand what attracts thousands of travelers to this tiny part of Morocco. Visit the former imperial city, and revel in its lively culture and these five unforgettable family-friendly attractions.

Riad Si Said (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

Stay: Enjoy traditional Moroccan accommodations in one of the many riads in Old Medina, where many of the city’s attractions are located or within walking distance. Some, however, are better than others. Book a stay with the super affordable and highly rated Angsana Riads Collection Marrakesh. The brand owns a number of riads located within the old city, including Riad Si Said, which offers complimentary breakfast, a pool and spacious suites dressed in traditional Moroccan furnishings.


Central Souqs

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Marrakesh’s Central Souqs (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

What is Marrakesh without its bustling marketplace that offers families endless shopping opportunities? Right in the center of Old Medina are the city’s Central Souqs, whose maze-like streets and alleys are teeming with shops that sell everything from Argan oil, local spices and ingredients for that night’s dinner to beautiful clothing, Moroccan poufs, gorgeous rugs, colorful footwear, metalworks, ceramics, musical instruments and lanterns. You can spend hours simply getting lost and bargaining for goods to take home.

Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque
Koutoubia Mosque (Flickr: Adam Axon)

The mosque’s minaret, which has stood guard over the city since the 12th century, is the first thing you’ll see as you enter the city from the airport. Koutoubia Mosque remains a holy place of worship and may not welcome non-Muslims through its doors, but it’s still one of Marrakesh’s biggest attractions. Visit in the early morning when it’s a tad cooler, walk its beautiful grounds and take that opportunity to get some photos in. Later, grab some pastries at Patisserie des Princes.

Djemaa el-Fna

Djemaa El Fna (Flickr: Tom Walk)

Marrakesh’s main square, Djemaa el-Fna, is one of the city’s best and most vibrant attractions. It’s worth of a visit in the daytime when local sellers of juices, potions and food are starting to set up shop, but it’s best to visit when the sun goes down and the whole place transforms into a venue for many street performances. Djemaa el-Fna boasts musicians, bellydancers, circus performers and even the last remaining storytellers. The food and juices look enticing, but make sure to do your research first and watch the vendors as they prepare that orange juice for you.

Koutoubia Gardens

Energetic may be Marrakesh’s core personality but that can be overwhelming to new visitors. Take refuge in the Koutoubia Gardens, nestled behind Koutoubia Mosque, where palm trees and orange trees offer a much-needed quiet break. Have a lovely stroll here, or grab coffee and quick bites from Café L’Arome and enjoy them at one of the park benches. The gardens also offer great views of the minaret so remember to bring your camera with you.


Also in the center of Old Medina, Mouassine is much like the Central Souqs in that it offers plenty of shopping opportunities for local goods and products. The difference is Mouassine has brought in new sorts of sellers, shops and cafes, fusing the old with the new, cool and chic. Visit souqs that sell beautiful leather goods and textiles and shops that sell stylish clothing. Later, take a stroll around Bab Doukkala and walk around the Bab Doukkala Mosque complex.


(Originally published on MiniTime.com)

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