Saturday, October 25, 2003

dispatch from taipei, 4

In the hotel room at about 8 in the morning on Sunday (I presume that Blogger is printing the time/date as they are in Madison when I send these posts). Yesterday we went to the National Palace Museum, which might be the most stunning museum I have ever been to. The Museum contains artifacts that were preserved in mainland China for thousands of years and were moved to Taiwan during the evacution in the late 1940s. Among the most famous of these artifacts is a jade cabbage, which we were not able to find while we were walking around (it was easy to get lost and/or disoriented in the museum, despite the fact that many of the signs were in English). We did see such marvels as a bowl made from the skull of a Tibetan lama, et cetera..

Later in the afternoon we went to the Jade Market, which is kind of like a massive flea market where, as the same suggests, much of what is being sold is made from varying qualities of jade. I nixed the idea of getting anything particularly expensive. I did have the triumph of successfully bargaining with one of the vendors however. For people who don't speak Chinese, when you point to an item and indicate that you want to know what it costs (me, I say, "How much?), they type the number into a calculator and show you. The vendor typed in 150 (about $4.25) and I reached over to the calculator and typed 100 instead, and she nodded. So a tiny whitish jade pig is now mine, likely to be given away at this present to some family member who does not read this weblog.

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