Tag Archives: flowers

Jianguo Flower Market

After sleeping until noon (Goodness! How embarrassing!), I took the bus into Taipei to visit the Jianguo Flower Market1. There were so many people! And I forgot to replace my camera’s SD card…so no actual photos of the mountains and oceans of people.

Three different types of orchids.

The three different types of orchids I bought.

Really…I think I was in heaven! Good orchids are really hard to come by in the U.S. at a reasonable price…but in Taiwan, they’re like weeds! Well, maybe a better way of putting it is that they’re like wild-flowers. The climate over here is perfect for orchid cultivation and so one can purchase a pot for about half of what they go for in the States.

Of course, I was immediately attracted to the non-Phalaenopsis plants, since Phalaenopsis orchids are the ones most commonly found in American florist shops. My main conundrum, however, was the fact that anything I bought today wasn’t going to follow me to China or the U.S., and so had to be a type that I could give away as a gift (i.e. colorful and gaudy). Unfortunately, my first pick was a little out of my budget: a gorgeous peach colored orchid with shimmery petals and a dark brown stem…which made me think immediately of cherry blossoms blooming in the springtime. Price tag: 650 TWD. I almost cried on the spot.

Then, there were a bunch of orchid sproutlings that promised an abundance of curiously shaped blooms that I found absolutely fascinating. Nix on the gift-giving though, too non-standard equals strange expressions when giving to elderly relatives.

I finally settled on a plant with dark purple blooms, something a little different from the fuchsia and white hybrid orchids that always seem to be so popular.

This photo really doesn't do the orchid's color any justice. I think I might have played with my camera a little too much and messed up the settings...alas!

This photo really doesn't do the orchid's color any justice. I think I might have played with my camera a little too much and messed up the settings...alas!

It was 200 NTD, and while there were others going for 100 and 150 NTD, I think in the end I got the better deal! I certainly got enough comments from the ladies standing next to me while waiting to cross the street and for the bus. “Very mysterious color!” said one woman and then she points out the leaves and stem to her companion, “You see, good stem and root system, too! 200 NTD? Not a bad price!”

The other two I bought were whims. At 100 NTD each, they are non-Phalaenopsis (yes!) with yellow and white blooms. A little smaller, but they should be equally bright once they flower.

Oh! I wish I could mail these back home!

Additional back-posts made: 02.06.2010
  1. A small piece of advice to anyone taking public transportation to the flower market: get off the bus before you hit Ren-ai and Jianguo St. Crossing #1. If you don’t, you’ll get hit with another 15 TWD bus fare because that’s where the bus line moves into the next fare zone. Whoops! []

Cherry blossoms and the attack of springtime pollen

This is kind of a back-post, since I made the excursion to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens last Tuesday back in April1. The weather did a flip-flop in the past couple of days, but the warm spell did force the cherry blossoms into peak bloom last week. They must all be fallen by now.

Cherry trees all in a rowCherry Blossoms

It was absolutely amazing walking beneath the sakura trees. Warm and sunny, I couldn’t stop sneezing and that destroyed some of the charm. (I must have been a pretty funny sight, trying to take pictures and holding my nose at the same time–oh dear!) I was–and still am!–intensely jealous of all the people who could spend the entire day out on the Cherry Esplanade.

Cherry Blossoms

I also couldn’t stop flashing back to a class I took at Vassar with Tsuchiya-sensei on Japanese Gothic literature. There was a story we read that featured sakura in full bloom with petals falling all around. Very eerie and very scary. And though I can’t remember quite what it was about, vestiges of the story remain so that I was delightfully chilled under the cherry trees.

Filtered by cherries

Well…at least, it was chilling until I started sneezing again2.


This weekend is going to be dedicated to cleaning out my rooms and making them presentable so that when my landlord shows them to the prospective renter, they won’t be scared away by the mess.  But I think I’m going to try making a second trip to the BBG (With an exotic cocktail of anti-allergy medicines of course!) for the remnants of the flowers.

Cherry Blossoms

  1. It always surprises me how quickly a month can sail by, though it I credit the fact that April was the month before a critical deadline in the office and so I didn’t really pay attention to anything but work for four weeks []
  2. I really really really hope I’m not affected by allergies this badly when I’m in Nanjing []

Tulips, papaya, ramen, ice-cream and friends, Pt. 2

The best part about Saturday’s excursion–friends and ramen! Poor A1 had already eaten soba during the day, but kindly put up with my exuberance for Japanese soup noodles, despite the warm weather.

Salmon Parrot Tulip

After meeting at the Cube in the middle of Astor Place, we walked a short distance to Ippudo NY, just off St. Mark’s Place, where I got myself an incredibly tasty bowl of Akamaru Shin–ramen in thick broth with red miso and slices of Berkshire pork among other vegetables.  I know I was hungry, but it was so good!  Kokuto on the Rocks!Rich soup and QQ ramen noodles…some of the best comfort food in the world!  (And as a side note, we were impatient for a strong cuppa and so, ordered a round of sweet dessert wine to start us off…sweet and full-bodied. I’m surprised my teeth didn’t start hurting with all the sugar in it.)  Dinner ambiance-wise, Ippudo is chic and modern.  Classic ramen-ya practices–loud announcements of guest arrival, food being served, guest departure, thank-you-please-come-again–gives it a whimsical touch, as if it hasn’t forgotten its roots with all its updated decor.  Of course, with all the history behind this particular chain of ramen-ya, forgetting is not likely at all.

Afterwards, J treated us to ice-cream, which we took to this little charming church-like courtyard, which was kind of creepy looking with all the stone slabs set into the ground.2  We borrowed bandwidth from the local unsecured wifi, then walked to Toy Tokyo, home to all sorts of blind box, anime, vinyl & designer Japanese toys.  I think I’ll be going back there again…


Right. So I realize that I haven’t written much about grad school…there hasn’t been much to report besides the massive cleaning and throwing-out-things I’ve been doing. A and I did briefly discuss the existence of proxy servers so that I could update lj from China–which reminds me that I need to get the Nanjing 365 feed added to lj.

I wish there was a Papaya King closer to my apartment.

Papaya King

For the Foodie:

Ippudo NY @ 65 4th Avenue, NYC

  1. Friends shall henceforth be known as “A” and “J” for anonymity. []
  2. But it wasn’t a cemetery.  The slabs had words on it that read something like “George Washington Vault…” []

Tulips, papaya, ramen, ice-cream and friends, Pt. 1

It’s 1AM in the morning and 72 °F.  Talk about unseasonable weather! And May isn’t for another five days!  Thanks to the warm weather, I spent all day yesterday outdoors, hiking the urban trails of New York City and enjoying the sun.

Author in the sun

Hanami–the Japanese tradition of appreciating the yearly cherry tree blooming season (花見)–officially started earlier this month, but because of NYC’s more northern latitude, the whirlwind finale hasn’t quite happened at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, my original destination for today’s excursion.  Due to overly complicated morning ablutions, I made it out of the apartment too late and decided to instead head into Manhatten for some lite window-shopping and the Tulip Festival at the West Side Community Garden.

My first stop was downtown, however.  I’ve been subscribed to Daily Candy for the past couple of months and in this week’s Weekend Guide for NYC the Spring Yard Sale at auto. caught my eye1. I realize that I have a serious weakness for…how shall we put this? Artisanal? Whimsical? Boutique-ish?  Uniquely crafted items. There were these three gorgeous, gorgeous square plates that had drawings of coral on them. But with a price tag of $90 a piece, it was a bit out of the spending range I’d placed on myself for the day2.  But I couldn’t bring myself to leave without some kind of loot and so I picked out three very cute birthday cards from fomato.

Heading uptown on the 1 train with a papaya drink from Papaya King in hand, I got to the Tulip Festival around 2.  I cannot begin to describe how beautiful the tulips in the garden were.  It was breath-taking!  There were  tulips of every shape and color!3

Cherry BlossomsHybrid TulipRed TulipsYellow Lilly Flowering TulipFringed TulipsTulipsPink Lily Flowering Tulips

Alas, the garden is faraway on the Upper West Side, or else I’d go visit it more often!

For the Foodie:

Papaya King @ SW Corner of 7th Ave. & 14th St., NYC w/ various other locations.

  1. I’m a sucker for the words “yard sale”. They get me all excited for rare and curious finds! []
  2. It’s truly a pity I can’t remember who the designer was.  All I can recall was the name “Peter” and a surname that started with an “S”. Oh well. []
  3. Pictures and Pt. 2 to come as soon as I sort through everything on my camera. []