Flower and Jade Market
--By Tracy Perkins Translated
by Ann Li
Taipei sometimes gives the
feeling of a place of endless grey. For those
who are limited to the confines of the city,
the need for beauty can be a constant ache
of the soul.
Just when you think you can't
survive the sight of another dirty, tiled
building with rusty cages around the balconies,
where stained y-fronts and singlets on hangers
sway in the breeze, you discover, in the heart
of the city, an Asian wonderland that delivers
on your pre-arrival fantasies- the Weekend
Flower and Jade Market!
Both are on JianGuo South
Road. The Jade Market stretches from RenAi
Road almost to ZhongXiao East Road and the
Flower Market from XinYi Road to RenAi Road.
It's hard to know which end to begin at. One
is an earthly paradise, an Aladdin's cave
that spills over with the opulence of pearls
and precious stones taken from the heart of
the earth. In the other, you drift along on
a cloud of scent between lanes of bonsai trees,
banks of flowers and orchids so lovely they
simply take your breath away.
This is beauty to take home
and keep. A string of pearls you'll love for
life goes for as little as NT$1000, while
a delicate potted orchid costs only NT$100.
The little white one I bought six weeks ago
still looks lovely. If you shop for flowers
that are in season, bunches go for NT$50 to
NT$100, so ring the changes as each season
comes around. Or take home a Siamese Fighter
Fish. These little companions can be had for
as little as NT$20 and are easier to keep
than you think.
Even if you're completely
broke or just aren't the shopping type, it
costs nothing to spend an hour or two strolling
through and your weary soul is guaranteed