No-one goes to the Canary islands just to shop but come evening a consumer fanatic such as myself has only one thing on her mind. Hot country equals shopping opportunities after 9pm. It’s the only thing guaranteed to get me away from the buffet…
…and on to wherever I can get my hands on yet another pair of Havaianas. I think there are still one or two colour combinations I don’t already own and much to my boyfriend’s disappointment I fully intend to plug that gap.
I’m only in Gran Canaria for a few days but so far I’ve found just the usual resort-shopping selection of holiday wear plus some some nifty location-appropriate hippyish threads in a shop called Natura that I fall in love with on the spot, encouraged by a 70% rebajas – the one word in Spanish that never leaves my vocabulary.
So when some leather goods, pottery and assorted souvenirs turn up at the sometime evening pop-up Fedac market under the lighthouse at Meloneras, just a stone’s throw from my hotel, my pace quickens, my blood pumps that little bit faster, and before I know it a small ceramic owl, a leather bracelet, two more tiny pointless I-know-not-what-they’re-for boxes and a hand-made and painted vase are mine. The owl is a last-minute addition, saved only from market life by the stall-holder’s leisurely gift-wrapping pace during which time I crack under the owl’s beseeching gaze.
I’d actually read about Fedac in the Lonely Planet before leaving and had it pegged as the best place to shop in Gran Canaria (do you think I hadn’t researched the shopping possibilities? You don’t know me at all!) and was intriqued to see this government-sponsored selection of quality handicrafts made by traditional methods and sold at fair prices.
My shopping radar wasn’t quite locked on it though because I noticed that the permanent stores were in Las Palmas and Playa Del Ingles, neither of which I had much intention of venturing to during 40 degree days, so I resigned myself to a life without another locally-made holiday-handbag – much to the delight of my boyfriend, no doubt. Then I realised that the mountain had come to Mohammed in the shape of the market – and if they build it, I will shop (much to my boyfriend’s…oh you get the picture).
Animal figurines and girl/boy shopping clichés aside, I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by the standard and variety of goods on offer at the Fedac market, and if I was generous enough to buy souvenirs for everyone back home, which I’m not, I’d have picked them all up here. For one awful moment I thought I was going to have to buy and ship home a wooden cabinet, so intricate and beautiful was its workmanship, and my friend narrowly avoided succumbing to more hand-made wooden items from the same craftsman she forced us to walk away until the shopping mist had lifted and sense had been reinstated. But we both brought little owls home so we can’t be that sensible now can we?
Fedac stands for the Foundation for Ethnography and the Development of Canarian Artisans and actually has two stores in the capital, as well as one in the tourist office in a lovely building in Playa Del Ingles.
61 artisans participated in this market which was the fifth Craft Fair of Faro de Maspalomas, but the markets do pop-up at various times and places around Gran Canaria. For more information ask at the tourist office or visit the Fedac website.
The next confirmed craft fair is at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, between 6 to 9 December 2012.
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