Sunday, June 16, 2013

All Things Weird & Wonderful: Fuhe Bridge Flea Market

The best way to display watches on your arms is to do it with a seashell
up your butt.


The best post on flea markets in Taipei has already been written, so I won't make this much of an informational post. The information is already out there.

Instead, I'll post a few pictures and write up my own experience at Fuhe Bridge Flea Market, which I went to on Saturday morning with my friend June.

To get to Fuhe Market, you can take a free shuttle from MRT Dingxi, but it's super slow and doesn't come often. I'd say just take a cab to the Yonghe side of Fuhe Bridge and follow people as they walk toward the river (it's next to the riverside park).


We decided to check out Fuhe Bridge Flea Market, figuring that if we liked that one, Chongxin Flea Market could be our next stop. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, although I have my eyes out generally for a few coveted items:

1.) A real wood folding table, preferably vintage, that folds up almost completely (about 20cm is all I can spare when it's folded completely) in a medium-color wood (not too dark or blond) without too much heavy lacquer or varnish

2.) Vintage Taiwan Beer drinking glasses - the small kind you get in the 100-kuai stir fry restaurants. I have a pair of new ones, but I would love some vintage ones

3.) A bigger Yixing teapot - I have two tiny ones. I saw a lot of good contenders and may go back for one.
4.) A vintage ceramic plate bearing the stylized character (often looks like one of these)

5.) Cool beaded things of not-high value or production quality I can take apart and turn into my own jewelry items

6.) And I'm pretty much always on board with vintage scarves, jewelry and purses

Someday, someday, I might also come across the right size and weight of carved Chinese wooden door panels/screens in a style and wood I like, to have installed on either side of our Japanese tea room. Not holding my breath for those, though.


While I didn't see those specific items at Fuhe Market, we did come across a lot of cool items. Not just secondhand appliances and electronics (although there were plenty of those, including some electronics you could unironically call "vintage"), but also interesting antiques, like the kind you might find at Treasure Hunt or in the Jianguo Weekend Market.

Treasure Hunt, while fantastic and well-curated, tends to be expensive, and Jianguo Weekend Market tends to be full of fakes - if you want a vintage item to decorate your home, I'd say you're better off here. The people who shop here seem to mostly be old thrifty folks and people buying to resell. They won't be fooled by fakes. You can bargain - June says "anything over NT300 is fair game for bargaining".

I picked up one not-too-vintage Art Deco style purse (looks like something Jordan might've carried in the latest Great Gatsby film) for NT150 and didn't bother bargaining because it seemed like a great price.

And you can get your hair cut. No joke.


You can also find vintage items that are totally cool, but aren't found in antique stores. Clothing, sometimes (really inspect every item you are interested in before making an offer), old signs, old Datong fans that apparently still work, vintage and secondhand musical instruments (for the Western ones, don't look for great quality - most are student models).


Two things you can be sure of are these:

1.) If you've ever encountered a shoe thief in Taipei (one used to - and still might - target my building, which is why our shoe basket for any shoes that are actually worth anything is just inside our door, not outside of it), then your shoes probably wound up here or at the other flea market. Most - maybe not all, but most - shoes sold here are absolutely stolen. The vendors don't do the stealing, but also ask questions.

2.) If you've ever recycled any item that wasn't just an empty plastic bottle - be it an old clock, an old computer, an old chair or even an old phone - by giving it to one of the old ladies with a cart who hang out around garbage time, it almost certainly ends up here or at the other market.

Scary Discount Soldier Babies!


You can also find toys - some old, some vintage, some horrifying:


I WANT THIS OLD DATONG FAN. It would totally match my guestroom and is just the right kind of vintage. I didn't feel like lugging it to my private class today, and I am definitely on a budget this month, but I saw many models of this fan at the market. If I can find one that works, I will certainly buy it, clean it up, and put it in our guest room (one wall is the same "Thai teal" color - it would look great).


I kinda like the one on the right, and I might go back for it or something like it, if I can justify buying yet another thing to hang on my wall (there's already quite a bit of wall decoration going on at our place).


...but maybe not the handcuffs.


...or the creepy forehead-eye book.


I did find cool beads, but didn't buy much as I plan to go back with a bigger spending budget soon (this month will see me paying for my Delta Module 1 and my one-on-one Chinese class). One guy sold vintage aboriginal beads that looked to mostly be the real deal.


This market is also popular with tea enthusiasts, who will come to buy good leaves, or participate in auctions for the best Yixing teapots. I don't think I will really consider myself local until I participate in one such auction and nab one such teapot. Soon, my precious. Sooooon....


You have to go early - 9am is a good time to show up - and in the summer, be ready - it's hot. Like asphalt and no shade hot. There is also a food market, and there are a few stands selling quick local meals (there's a breakfast place across the street from the walkway to the entrance, too). There are people selling cold drinks. I downed an entire iced sugarless tea in 20 minutes and was sweating so much I didn't even need to pee. And I did get a sunburn.


I also came home with some red lentils to make daal, and June bought a purse and a cute hat. We split a necklace made of beads that look like red and black dice, because we'll both use them.



So many cool plates, but no Long Life plate.


cathy said...

!!!! I had no idea such a place existed! I've attempted to find a flea market in taipei before, but I always just seem to find myself in the normal street markets. Hooray! I'm so grateful to you and your blog.

slapstickgenius said...

Thank god, this Taipei market probably also has compact cassettes and eight track cartridges!