|From National Palace Museum|
Or at least that's what James' mom told me this gate said outside the National Palace Museum. Being illiterate makes me feel real dumb. Reading is fundamental. But learning seems insurmountable when you're starting from the ground up and the language is unsimplified Chinese. After a week, I can recognize four words: "on," "off," "exit" and "Taipei."
On to happier subjects: Today we went to the National Palace Museum, one of the largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts in the world. We saw lots of old pots and paintings, and a very special cabbage figurine.
What the Mona Lisa is to the Louvre, the hope diamond to the Smithsonian, that's what this jade bok choy is to the Palace Museum. I had to mow down a horde of Japanese tourists to get within a foot of its glass encasement. And I can now attest, it does very much resemble a stock of cabbage, only shinier. Just as stunning and almost as hard to get within spitting distance of was the meat-shaped rock. This work hardly needs further explanation: It's a stone that strikingly resembles something I would like to eat for lunch. These are the two most famous works on display at the Museum. A society that treasures a vegetable figurine and a rock that looks like a piece of steamed pork has its priorities straight. I appreciate that.