Gangshan South Flea Market 南岡山站跳蚤市場
On the way to the train station the first day we arrived, we saw a poster for a flea market that was taking place that weekend in conjunction with the opening of the Gangshan South (南岡山站) train station. It sounded fun so we made a note to go. We took the train to the new terminus station that Saturday and headed down to the market that was taking place in the adjoining car park. Sadly, there wasn’t a lot of interesting items (unless you like them used plushies and faded sheets). We were thankful for the food area and busied ourselves with fish ball soup, the most awesome ai-yu passionfruit drink and snacks for the family.
Tummy 4-0 Wallet.
Ruifeng Night Market 瑞豐夜市
That same Saturday evening, we went down to the Ruifeng Night Market. We were hoping to get a locker at the station so instead of keeping our stuff at the Hanshin departmental store (where we were), we lugged all our shopping bags – by then, our decision to get 10 packets of crackers at the morning market was looking more and more like a misstep – to the station only to find all the lockers taken. We circled the area for a bit like darn hawks, but everyone seemed to be just arriving for the night market. If you’re coming from the Kaohsiung Arena station (巨蛋站), take exit 1. If you see a line snaking up the escalator, steel your heart because it’s going to be much much worse at the market.
The sister said that Ruifeng is the market that locals go to, and by the crowds we experienced that evening, it was definitely true. We had spent the first two days in the city wondering where everyone was and had more than a few conversations about how empty the trains and streets were. It certainly felt that all the missing people somehow ended up at Ruifeng that night.
Unlike most night markets in Taiwan, the Ruifeng market doesn’t just run a single street. Instead, it is made up of rows and rows of stalls. The variety of stalls is somewhat similar, but gosh, the scale of the market is pretty amazing. We gave up squeezing through the crowd after being run over by a pram, and headed to the second half of the market (where the crowd hadn’t reached, yet). We ate: iced feng yuan, chee cheong fun, and the super value-for-money seafood porridge.
Ruifeng 7-3 Liuhe. Talk about arbitrary scoring.
I love convenience stores in Taiwan and Japan. We went into one at least once every day. We visited the same shop five times. Maybe tourists get extra thirsty. Maybe these tourists don’t get the same variety of products (true), the same level of service (true true) or oden and tea eggs (true true true) in the convenience stores in their own country. On the third point, the 7-11 at UE Square does have oden, but it just seems rather dismal (this girl wrote a helpful blog entry about it here).
Convenience stores 99-0.
Rody. To make up for the small fortune we were spending at the Family Mart stores, we collected rewards stickers. You get a sticker for every NT50 (I think) spent, and you can use these stickers to exchange for items. Items such as these adorable Rody toys. Unfortunately/Fortunately, most of the items were already out of stock.
And 7-11 has the most adorable mascot. Designed by the Japanese advertising giant Dentsu, OPEN 小將 is an erm, “universe/galaxy puppy” (宇宙小狗). His headgear, apparently, was designed to be reminiscent of the Taiwanese aborigines’ traditional costume. OPEN 小將 has a nemesis, a girlfriend, his own animation, a song by Mayday, and well, a whole slew of merchandise. It works. I dined at the theme restaurant and I now own a OPEN mousepad.