Yingge take 2

I met up with 3 friends at Taipei Main train station, headed to Yingge. I have been wanting to see the Ceramics Museum; Yingge is famous for it’s pottery. One 30 minutes train ride later, we were walking with our hostess (my Melaleuca upline) to the museum. NOTE: despite the fact that rain was predicted, it was a balmy day. Not a cloud in sight, slight breeze, mildly warm. The museum is a gorgeous, modern glass-and-cement building housing a beautiful display of Asian celedon ware.

Admission is FREE, as are the guided tour headsets. We started on the top (3rd) floor and made our way down the sloping ramp, looking at gorgeous and amazing anatique vessels in every shape and size glazed in colors ranging from a delicate robin’s egg blue to a deep jade green.

Old Street map painted on ceramic

No trip to Yingge would be complete without a visit to Old Street, a pottery buyer’s dream come true! On the way from the museum to Old Street, we passed a street merchant selling his paintings. (Hadn’t we seen the old white man with the long beard on the train from Taipei?)  After looking through his art work, I selected three modern-style paintings – and began bargaining! I ended up with all three  for 1500NT (50USD). I asked to have them signed by the artist (who had gone walkabout) and was asked to come back for the signed paintings “later”. Okay, so here’s one big difference between Taiwan and the US: in the States, the artist and his helper would have been long gone (with the art AND my money) by the time I returned a few hours later. Not here. My art was signed and rolled up, ready for me to take home, have framed, and hang!

Election time in Taiwan

This weekend Taiwan holds elections for the country’s president and vice-president. I don’t know much about politics here; I purposely try to stay neutral (read: uninformed). It’s safer that way. I figure: whatever this country is doing seems to be working.

The enthusiasm of the Taiwanese for voting is epic. Folks literally fly BACK to this little island from all over the world just to vote. No absentee ballots. Then there are the banners. No little ugly plastic rectangles stuck into all of your neighbor’s lawns. No. These banners are colorful 6′ tall flags on even taller poles bearing the beaming faces of the candidates, spaced evenly along the street medians along with the national flag. And get this, Taiwan’s president may soon be a WOMAN. No kidding.

Busses and MRT cars all over Taipei (and presumably all over Taiwan) carry photos of all three partys’ candidate pairs, smiling  with fists clenched, held high, in apparently victory.

"vote for us!"

Small trucks, draped with giant banners of one set of candidate likenesses, slowly troll the streets, sharing the candidate’s canned thoughts via loudspeaker.

The Taiwanese are so mannerly, I doubt any of the potential presidents mount any type of “dirty” campaign. I know that one party is called the “blue” party and one is the “green”. One is pro-unification (with China) and one is for independance – but I don’t know which is which. And I don’t know what the third party is….Happy voting Taiwan!

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…