Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Chinese Holiday Market

The weekend market is underneath this long elevated highway
Jianguo
Rows of flower stalls
The Chinese gods seemed to have favored me. I wanted to visit a weekend market when we were in Taipei. But because I was with a teacher group and with limited time, I thought it would not be possible.   I placed the idea at the back of my mind, till we arrived in Taipei the wee hours of a Saturday morning. 

Orchids
Nymphaea and Nymphoides
As soon as the airport car service turned for Dandy hotel in Daan district (where we stayed in Taipei) the view of the long line of plant stalls came into view. The hotel was literally a block away from Jianguo Holiday Flower Market. I was already scheming in my mind how I would get to visit it, even if I had to sneak pass my co-teacher companions. But the proximity made it easy to do so a day after we arrived, but it did not go undetected. I did not need to make it a secret from my travelmates, as they were surprisingly enthusiastic to even come to Jianguo. Which we did after breakfast on a Sunday.
The highway of plants below a real highway
Aquarium plants
You could only visit Jianguo on weekends. On ordinary days, the holiday market is just parking space under a very long fly-over.  But in the early hours of a Saturday the plain covered concrete space transformed into a horticultural fiesta, about one kilometer long.  just imagine the long line of plant stalls, dispersed with food and other specialty items - shopping galore!  

Carnivorous plants
Nepenthes
The market as expected was crowded on a Sunday.  The stalls were fully stocked with interesting plants, accessories and to my delight other Chinese crafts. Though the species sold are not exactly the plants I am interested in (most are flowering and bonsai varieties) they still had a lot of specialty greens like carnivorous and aquatics. They were arranged in neat rows and they appeared very green and healthy.  The bright colored flowers also seemed very attractive.  The bonsais looked spectacular in the large terra cotta jars.  The presentation of the plants would really entice you to buy, buy, buy.  But this time I was more keen on buying some of the intricate woodwork and pottery (but everything that I liked had expensive prices and my limited budget hindered me, sigh).  

Bowl water gardens
After an hour of haggling I finally found 2 items I liked which I could afford.  But for a change these were not plants but miniature clay teapots.  I wanted to go back for a terra cotta pot but because the market was long and big, I could not locate the pot stall anymore.  I gave up after another 30 minutes of trying to find it.  But it is okay because it will give me a reason to aspire going back to this place.  I would definitely go back to Taipei and visit Jianguo again.  Hopefully I would have more time and a bigger budget, so I could surely get my fancied pot next time.   
Orchid species
    

2 comments:

dr magsasaka said...

I am green with envy. The orchids though appear to be all hybrids, not species.

metscaper said...

I suspected but can't read any of the Chinese characters.