There are 2 jade markets here in Taichung City; the first one is the breezy and expensive Taichung Jade Market in Wenxin Rd, and the second one is the Old Jade Market near the train station. Like many traditional markets here in Taiwan, the old jade market is sheltered by alleys and tents, making it invisible from outside. You would not expect that a single entrance leads you to a maze of alleys and stalls. It is dark and drenched with rain water, there is a faint smell of incense and gutter, and you feel that you are transported into the yesteryear. Old men sitting on chairs, chatting or smoking cigarettes, while in the more secluded corners middle-aged prostitutes waiting for anybody who perhaps in need of their services (for ethical reason I do not post their photos).
Talking about price, things in old market are much much cheaper than in Taichung Jade Market. Perhaps it is because the quality of the stones is not as good as the one in Taichung Jade Market, there one jade pendant can cost ten of thousands dollar, while here most are less than NT$10,000. Most people come here to buy the stones as accesories, not as investments or prestigious gifts. Unfortunately we arrive at 5 p.m. in a Typhoon Day, most of the stalls are closed already. But even though only several stalls remain open, the air of nostalgia lingers still on the atmosphere. The market has been around for a long time, the wrinkles on the faces of the prostitutes can tell how long ago were their golden days. Even with the rapid growth of the city, the old jade market will continue to add more wrinkles on its face, deep inside the dark alleys surrounded by incense and gutters.