Chris was feeling a little nauseous on our second day (maybe from the night market food?) so we took it easy in the morning. In the afternoon we took our first trip on the MRT and went to the National Palace Museum. The MRT is a light rail train that uses a card for payment, similar to many in the US. What’s especially nice is that you can use the EasyCard for the MRT, buses, and at quite a few chain stores in most major cities in Taiwan, plus some tour buses in remote locations. Often, you get a 10% discount if you use your EasyCard.
The National Palace Museum was huge and full of tourists from mainland China, but we enjoyed exploring. We saw the bell of Zhou (Zong Zhou Zhong) and cauldron of the Duke of Mao (Mao Gong Ding) that were used for ceremonial purposes and contain some of the longest ancient Chinese inscriptions. They’re one of the major sources historians have used to study the evolution of character design.
There’s a teahouse on the top floor of the museum that has food and drinks and a great view, despite being a little spendy for Taiwan. It was a good place to sit down and rest and give Chris a break.
We saw a beautiful carved jade Bok Choy with a grasshopper on it, similar to others we’d see later in the trip. It must be a common design. I’ve seen one in Seattle’s Asian Art museum as well, but the one in the National Palace Museum is definitely very high quality.
We were amused by a statue of an auspicious deer covered in spirit fungus. There were a few things that looked kind of lumpy, and the English translations claimed this was a coating of spirit fungus. This is apparently a kind of mushroom called Lingzhi that has been used in Chinese medicine for a long time, but I’m not sure why it’s depicted as covering things in statues and artifacts. You can buy a black fungus drink at 7-11, but I haven’t been brave enough to try it yet. I’d add a picture, but my phone seems to have lost most of them 🙁 I’m still trying various things to see if I can get them back, but for now I’ll have to use the ones Chris took.
We went out for Japanese food with Nathan and Yushan that evening, and it didn’t disappoint. You can get a rice bowl with a good amount of sashimi on top with tea and miso soup included for about $7 USD. Luckily, one good night’s sleep later, Chris was feeling much better and our trip was back up to speed.