Holiday flower market

A lot of Taiwan’s sights are located in spare spaces: hidden underground, beneath overpasses, in some really unlikely spots. You might easily drive, ride, or walk by them without notice. The Taipei “Holiday” flower and jade markets are no exception. I stumbled onto the flower market when I walked down the wrong side of Jianguo, trying to find the main Taipei Library.

Greenery Galore!

Inside the market, the first thing you notice is the fragrance of a million flowers and flowering plants. There are blossoms of every shape, size, and color. It’s like a wacky kalidiscope image, bursting at the seams. The market stretches farther than I can see and I wander along, simply amazed by it all.  The Taiwanese love their greenery and you can see why – so many options. Bonzai galore, one even taller than me (and that’s saying something!). Water plants (lilies, lotus) for dish gardens and outside fountains. Pots, saucers, rocks, gardening implements and garden furniture. Herbs, fruit and citrus trees, strange insect-eating plants, orchids galore all being misted from above to maintain their health (I guess the intense natural humidty isn’t enough, but I must say the mist feels good). Vendors pass out samples of their teas and various drinks made from herbs, and lots of, well,  I’m not really sure exactly what the ingredients were, but most of it was delish! So many choices but finally I settle on a bunch of sweetheart roses (20 stems for 50NT) for less then 2.00US. Of course the bouquet is beautifully wrapped, the stems inserted into water for the trip home, and then placed into a long plastic bag to protect it on its journey on public transportation.

Bougainvilleas

Day market

I’ve been promising myself to brave the heat and humidity to visit the day market, in the same space occupied by the night market (go figure)! The day market is where you’ll find fresh produce of every shape, color, and size,  plus flowers and “lucky” bamboo – it’s everywhere, fish and seafood, meats (ugh), and rice and grains.  (At night, you’ll only find cooked/prepared foods.) I ended up with fresh grapevines (they smell strange but taste wonderful in a salad or stir-fried), basil, gold kiwi, honeybells (tangelos I think), guava (bah-luh) , both pink and white flesh ( they smell heavenly), and white roses with greenery – all for under 500NT (16.00 US).

Guava and flowers from the Day Market

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