Sunday, November 9, 2014

Kaohsiung Jade Market

I had such a busy weekend. I proctored another round of SATs on Saturday, which was good because it gave me a chance to grade some major assessments I gave students in science. I will finish those this morning and that will be a HUGE work item off of my list. I got home around 3:00 and did household chores until the power went off around 5:30. This is the first time this has happened and after a few minutes I heard this electric doorbell sound. I opened my door thinking it was my neighbor checking if I had power. Since I haven't even seen the family across the hall yet I would be surprised if they did this but you never know. It turns out it is the building PA system. The doorbell sound went off again and they gave an Chinese. For all I know they could have told me to EVACUATE THE BUILDING or RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. I was completely clueless as to what to do and there is no one I can talk to in the building that speaks English, even the security guards.

I opened my windows and poked my head out to see if anyone was running out of the building in a panic. Nothing. Well that's a relief. Still no power. So, I decided to go get some groceries down the street. I walked down the 11 flights of stairs and what was strange is that some floors had power and others did not. What? 
As I was walking to the market I realized that if there isn't any power when I return, I will have to lug my stuff up to the 11th floor. Maybe this isn't such a good idea. While grocery shopping, the power went off there too! Complete and utter darkness and I'm at the back of the market. As I fumbled for my phone the emergency generator powered up and lights came on. I figured I might as well finish my shopping so I did and the power came on just as I was walking to the check-out counter.

Even if there is an emergency in this country, I'm not sure I'd understand whatever announcements or directions those in charge would be giving. Let's hope I'll figure it all out in time.

Yesterday I still had lots to do at home but joined some friends and biked to the Jade Market. This isn't very far from my house and it's considered one of the Must Go To places in Kaohsiung. This market, which is the largest of its kind in Taiwan, is the place to go to find jade, ivory, wood carvings and jewelry, stones, crystals and basically any jewelry making supplies you can think of. Outside the market is a huge tented area that is set up as a huge flea market where you can find anything and everything your heart desires.
 Books, all in Chinese of course...
 Dishes and pottery...
 Furniture and other housewares and decorations

 Statues and ornamental sculptures...

This looked like an area where food would be served later in the day.

Like many things in Taiwan, it was a bit overwhelming. There are so many people selling things and so many buying them and I can't tell good jade from bad so giving me a flashlight and magnifying glass to check out the product does me no good. Also, it's really hard to figure out how to navigate things when there are strings of beautiful beads everywhere. Do you buy the string of beads and make the bracelet yourself? Do you bring is somewhere else to have it done? Do they make it on the spot for you? It's a bit confusing and I couldn't find anyone who spoke English to help me so I concentrated on the ready made things that were for sale. I figure I'll drag one of the Taiwanese people that works at KAS with me another time. i guess they like to bargain with items and price, which I wouldn't be able to do and I wonder if they would overcharge me as a foreigner.

Rows and rows of items being sold both inside and outside the main building.
 They sell the natural rocks and jewelry made from all of these as well. 

 I didn't realize that jade comes in so many different colors variations. Beautiful!

Here's a little video that gives you a glimpse of what it's like and you have to understand there are many more areas than the one shown here.

We went around 11:15 so next time I plan on going when it opens because it may be a bit quieter at that time. I'll also have someone with me who can negotiate and navigate it all. If anyone is interesting in anything jade, send me a message. I'll get it for you.

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