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!

The hills of Taichung, part 1

I took a taxi to Taipei Main Station, loaded with the honey liqueur I’d purchased for my hosts. Inside the station, I followed the TRA signs thinking I’d find a manned ticket booth; the last time I was here there was a manned ticket booth. This time, I must have entered on a different floor (there are at least 3). The only ticket booths I saw were for the HSR. Maybe they would have sold me a train ticket but I didn’t want to wait in line and ask. Finally I did ask – an entrance attendant. I said the word “Yingge” and she pointed towards a set of escalators and, after swiping my Easy Card, down I went. I know Yingge is south of Taipei so, just to be sure, I asked a lady standing on the platform. She asked someone else, who asked someone else, who….you get the picture. Soon, there was a crowd gathered around trying to *help*! Luckily, this time, I did select the right escalators (out of hundreds) and got on the train. 30 minutes later my friends picked me up in Yingge and we headed, by van, to Taichung.

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