First Friday at the Fagatogo Market

First Friday at the Fagatogo Market

Fagatogo Market

Last night with Ian at First Friday.

I brought Sutton (my camera) along because since I started the Moments page on my site, I’ve been feeling motivated to photo journal more.

Adobo at First Friday | Nerelle | American Samoa

We arrived at the Fagatogo Marketplace a little past 7:30pm.  I was surprised at how dim it was in there – most of the overhead lights weren’t working anymore, and they had one big floodlight on the ground that kind of made it feel like a dark busy alley. It gave off a slight ‘black market’ type of vibe.

Really loud music blaring from grainy speakers outside.

Glimpses of bright fabrics through the shadows.

The smell of fried food.

Fresh produce lining the floor on cardboards.

A low hum of chatter – people exchanging cash for goods.

We hadn’t eaten dinner yet so we headed straight for the Filipino food table and got a chicken adobo, rice, and lumpia plate for $4.75! Then purchased a couple of niu for $2 each.

Walked over to the parking lot by DMWR and sat by the Pago Harbor.

We watched the moon come up from behind Mt. Rainmaker. What a sight.

And I swooned at the moonlit ripples in the pitch black ocean.

I like going to First Fridays at the Fagatogo Market.

There are handicrafts to peruse (I bought an intricately handwoven pale for only $10! I plan to wear it on my birthday coming up in a few weeks!), different dishes to try (Filipino food, Mexican food, and Samoan food), and entertainment (usually an array of local church groups or small bands).

I snapped this photo of styrofoam piled up in the trash because it made me kind of sad. We had a styrofoam plate from our dinner that we added to the bin and I kept thinking I should have brought my own tupperware and my zero waste kit. Next time.

The market’s entertainment for the night was a small carefree band with an electronic piano. If you know island jams, you know da kine.

These 3 dancing kids were the real entertainment though. They were so unashamed dancing out there, and made a lot of us laugh.

We left close to 9pm, and offered to drive one of the market vendors – who was a friend of my parents – home to Nu’uuli since we lived nearby. We chatted all the way home.

It was a good night.

You Need to visit Ubud Art Market

You Need to visit Ubud Art Market

About the Ubud Art Market: 

Locals call it Pasar Seni Ubud. It is one of the most popular markets in Bali, and is a must visit if you enjoy shopping and handicrafts. The traditional art market itself is located at:

Jalan Raya Ubud No.35,
Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar,
Bali 80571, Indonesia

It’s open from 8am to 6pm. The Ubud Art Market is a street maze of shops and souvenirs, and if you look hard enough and bargain, you just might find some amazing hidden gems.

What you’ll find:

// Sarongs – We call them `ie lavalava in American Samoa. Probably the most versatile piece of material ever, I love sarongs. You can find mandala prints, elephants, batik and ikat designs in every color and pattern imaginable.

// Penis things – I’m not kidding here. Lots of penis made of wood (yes, it’s punny) that pay tribute to the old practice of penis worship. I don’t know the details of the practice, but you can find huge penis bottle openers and incense holders, which might make a funny and functional souvenir.

// Jewelry – Ubud is known for its talented silver smiths, so you can find silver jewelry pretty much anywhere, and even take a silver making class! I don’t usually wear jewelry, but I couldn’t resist this sterling silver wave shaped ring I bargained for only 40,000 rupiah (~$3USD)!!

// Clothes – Lots of great cotton, linen and even silk garments. Ian bought a blue cotton batik shirt with coconut shell buttons, and I got a 100% silk batik robe which makes me feel so luxurious.

// Bamboo straws – Sustainable and makes great souvenirs to take as gifts for friends. I fell in love with these straws when we had dinner at La Pacha Mama, and was so stoked to find them at the market.

// Bags – Who doesn’t love bags? The rattan roundie bags from Bali are especially popular these days (you might have seen them on instagram). But there are so many different bags to choose from. Straw and canvas totes, cross body bags, clutches, leather purses, backpacks, yoga mat slings… am I missing more?

// Homeware – Dishes and bowls and cups, and candles and cushions and home decor. There is a lot of really beautiful handmade homeware that are perfect for decorating your home.

// So much more – There’s a plethora of fun and interesting trinkets and homeware and decorations. From keychains and koozies to handmade baskets, paintings, toys, and home goods–the Ubud Art Market is a bargain shopper’s heaven.

How to Haggle:

Ask how much, but only ask for the price if you really want to purchase it. The vendors expect that you will haggle so they’ve marked this up by a lot. I’ve found it works best to my advantage when I start asking at only 30% of the ask price. Think about how much you’re willing to pay for it, and consider the time and resources it took to make it. Be fair and always ask with a smile.

*Pro tip: Go to the market early in the morning because vendors believe that their first sale is a sign of a good luck, so they will often offer you the cheaper “morning price”when you’re haggling.

How to Deal with Impulse Spending:

I wanted to buy so many things! I already know that if I ever become a homeowner in the future, I am coming to Bali just to shop for all the cute things to fill my home! On this trip though, I came prepared to resist the urge of spending money on material things. Call me weird but I actually Googled photos of the Ubud Art Market before my trip just to see what I might want to buy and I thought about whether or not I wanted it or needed it. It was actually super helpful. I asked myself: Would I use it? Do I really want to travel with it? For so many of the kitschy things, I probably would get buyer’s regret. Plus, I was determined to make it through this trip with just my backpack and duffel, so my mind was made, and I only bought 6 things I could easily travel with.

What I bought:

1. Silk batik robe. I loooooved this purchase. One of my favorite garments to date and it was in my favorite color, green!

2. Rattan roundie bag. You can probably tell by now from all the photos that I was obsessed with these rattan bags. There were dozens of different shapes and sizes, and if I was to mail a box home, I would have definitely gotten a bunch more.

3. Incense. Ever since my trip to India, I will pretty much only buy sandalwood incense because the scent reminds me of that time of my life, which I loved.

4. Bamboo straws. I love buying things that support environmental wellness, and these eco-friendly bamboo straws were perfect for traveling souvenirs.

5. Sterling silver ring. There were so many to choose from, but I honestly didn’t even want to get a ring until I saw this very simple wave-shaped ring. It was too cute to pass up.

6. Wooden magnets. One of those kitschy things I said I wasn’t going to get, but ended up getting them because they were cute (picked out the flip flops and surfboards shaped magnets) and super cheap.


What are some of your favorite markets?

And if you could choose, what would YOU buy from the Ubud Art Market?