Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jianguo Holiday Flower and Jade Market

We arrived in Taipei at around 1am when buses to the city were no longer operating. Taxis are too expensive so we chose to sleep at the airport (Terminal 1). However, my companions were hungry so they went to Terminal 2 because Terminal 1 is still under renovation and there wasn't a place to buy food. When they came back, they told us that we'd be more comfortable sleeping in Terminal 2 so we took the Skytrain. Better indeed. Terminal 1 chairs had armrests so we couldn't lie down! On the other hand, there were couches in Terminal 2 where a lot of people were also sleeping. No worries about our luggage because Taiwan is a safe place. I woke up a few times because of the carts' noise but I was pretty much okay with the amount of sleep (and energy) I got.

But maybe if I'm ever sleeping in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport again, I wouldn't go for the couches at the Arrival Area. I'd just go for the normal chairs without armrests at the Departure Area because it's very silent there.

So we left the airport and rode a bus to Taipei. Had breakfast at 7-11. I had onigiri, of course! I love onigiri!

Breakfast: Yakult (NTD10) and onigiri (NTD25)! How Japanese T_T
I also bought an EasyCard to make public transportation a lot more convenient. Just one card instead of having to buy individual tokens for the MRT, tickets for the gondola (cable car) and putting coins inside the bus. There's a deposit (NTD100) and a processing fee (NTD20) if you return the card in less than five months (or was it three?). But then an EasyCard entitles the user to 20% discount (!!!) on MRT rides! So if you spend at least NTD100 on the MRT, you will breakeven with the processing fee. I computed our fares beforehand so I knew that it'll still be better to get an EasyCard.

My EasyCard

And then we walked to the hostel.

Foggy, cold morning. Taipei 101 looked creepy on our way to the hostel.

Yay less fog!

We were just supposed to leave our luggage at JV's hostel but the staff, Nina, told us that we can already check in (maybe because the rooms were already ready). Great! I'll post more about our hostel soon!

We took our showers (ugh my hair can't go for 24 hours without shampoo) and then went to Jianguo Holiday Flower and Jade Market. We walked from the hostel to Liuzhangli MRT station (15 minutes), went down at Daan station (just one station away) and then walked for another 15 or 20 minutes.

The Holiday Flower Market was huge (or rather, long). And there was SO MUCH flowers! If I could, I would have brought home a pot of flowers or a cactus. But I can't so I took lots of photos instead.

Wujuju Siberian Husky. There are lots of cute dogs around Taipei


The markets are situated under a flyover. In the Philippines, it would have been an area for informal settlers.

some exhibit at the flower market

We couldn't decipher what it was at first (Sir Christian even said "carabao"). It's actually a dragon. Just a week before Chinese New Year!

These cacti are super tiny

And then, we went to the Holiday Jade Market. I was too amused by the market that I actually forgot to take photos!! Stupid. Sir Harold, Sir Romeo and I bought identical jade stud earrings for our mothers for NTD1050 (~PhP1575). The lady said that the setting was white gold but I'm not yet sure if it really is white gold. But I'll know soon enough. After buying jade, we immediately left before we found something much better than what we got. LOL

On the way back to Daan station (we had to pass by the flower market again), we saw another market, Artists' Corner. It's a place for arts and crafts! I saw stalls with painted ceramics, clay pots, handpainted clothes, calligraphy and handpainted postcards and posters. We didn't stick around for long because the stuff were too expensive! I saw this small painting of a peony on a 3 inches by 10 inches cardboard and the lady said it costs NTD300 (PhP450). Grah. Pretty but too expensive. I'll probably get sad looking at all those pretty yet expensive things if I stuck around.

SO AWESOME. I want the lanterns and the chinaware huhu.

Would I recomment the flower and jade market? Well, Nina said that the jade market is still the best and least expensive place to buy jade so unless you really intend to buy jade (like me and my companions), you'd be better off to other places. Fortunately, for us, the jade market is just one MRT Station (and minutes of walk) away from the hostel and we also had some time to kill before going to other places. Or if you wish to just look at handmade products, it would be great to go to that Artists' Corner. Just be sure it's a weekend because they only operate during weekends (hence the word "holiday").

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