Category Archives: Taitung

Fuli to Donghe

Road 23 crosses a national forest and there is barely any car. I swing with the curves of the road and caress the surface of the beautiful mountains. From time to time, some wild animal comes to my sight and some unidentified waterfall appears in the distance. At the end, while descending, a strange sign gets my attention. It means “Danger: Monkeys?”. I did not know that there were monkeys inTaiwan and, for a second, I thought it was a joke. But after some meters, some monkey families show up playing nearby the road. They don’t pay any attention to me, not many cars disturb their joyful games. I take some pictures and continue towards the sea.

Chenggong is my next step, the fish market brings back the smell of the Ocean. Huge fish are put on sale while the fishermen start to enjoy a beer or some street food in the tinny food stalls of the port.

I must rush before it gets dark. Sansiantai is not far, and I cannot miss the chance to visit it. Some buses with tourists from Mainland China make it a bit crowded and noisy. But, finally, I get alone and feel how the sea pull the round stones in Pebble Beach, a bit like an earthquake feeling. Later, I cross the 8 arches bridge and walk the island in circles as if it was a Tibetan pagoda. The waves reach smoothly the shore. It is the ritual of every evening; the local fishermen pick up their catches and go home. Night approaches with its dark veil.


Tea tasting in Luye

Lienji Tea House is a beautiful place. “They pay a lot of attention to the presentation” told me a local. And, yes, the lace looks welcoming, traditional and full of knowledge. But, there was nobody to explain me about their awarded teas. In 2 days I stayed in the guest house I only saw a person who asked me for the passport and then disappeared. The room did not have key, and for 2 days nobody showed up in the house. So, I had to move to another place for tea tasting.

The Luye Visitor Centre has a tea shop attached. There I found Jack, a guy doing an alternative military service, who offered to translate the explanations about local teas. The lady in the shop show me their best teas. Unluckily they cannot show me the plantations since it has been already plucked and now they are roasting some varieties. She seems ready to show all her stuff, and start with a nice smooth Fulu Oolong Tea. The oolong can be found everywhere in Taiwan, only that here has this particular name. So, if I want something very local I should go for the Fulu Red Oolong tea. That is a fully fermented oolong whose brew has a reddish honey like colour. The flavour is quite strong compared to the previous Fulu, and has some floral notes. Miss Fu keeps the water only 40 seconds on each brew and tells me it is important not to make it too long, since the fully fermented can become bitter easily. These leaves can provide 7-8 times tea.

Last, but not least,  she shows me the Golden Tea (Jin Xuan). It can be found in other plantations around Taiwan, but they got a silver award and are proud of this last season product. Golden tea is half-fermented and has a milk after taste. It becomes immediately my favourite, and keep chatting with them about here and there, Spain and India, Taiwan and other daily life stuff for more than expected. They bring lunch and we stay together a bit more. And suddenly, I pay attention to a different box. The woman says “This is Kucha, have you ever tried?”. The famous Kucha, the bitterest of the teas. She prepares a bit for me, insisting that the bitterness can be controlled and that will cool down the body. And it is true, her brew is not that bitter (and has almost no colour), but the flavour still is not really nice with some resemblance to liquorice.

The next day I go to pick up some teas I decided to buy and they bring Buddha’s Hand tea. They are roasting it and they want me to try. They prepare one from the previous year and then brew the one they are roasting. I can feel the new one is not yet perfect, by the flavour and the face of the owner. “They would not dare to give to the clients like this”, tells me Jack, “but you are a new friend”. It is a nice gesture from their side. It was a great company and a lot of knowledge about tea.

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Unboring Taitung

Lonely Planet guide says about Taitung that it is a laid back undeveloped area with very local flavour. I don’t really know how was Taitung in 2006 when my guide was published, but at the moment it seems quite vibrant and lively, if you want with its own style. From the sea side bars to open air concerts, stylish cafés and all the elements of a modern Taiwanese city. After some days of mountains and sea shores, it was nice to have a touch of urban life. And, by chance, I ended in a super cute café, Cheella Café (395, Xinsheng Road) where I had super yummy cheese cake in a cosy atmosphere. A real good work of business, with lovely music and very kind waiters.

Later, I went to a local singer concert in Tie Hua Music Village, close to McDonalds in XinSheng Road. It is an interesting approach to a open air night club, with good prices, good music, good crowd. The singer was quite famous, apparently, and most in the public new her music. It is the second time in my life I see a singer crying while singing one of her songs. Really shocking, but in a way it shows how close to her music is she. As soon as the concert finished, I decided to go back to Luye, since the road was long and dark, but I loved the touch of city life of this southeastern cute capital.

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East Rift Valley

From Yuli to Luye, the road is wide and comfortable. We are back in the world of 7elevens and petrol stations, but it is the concession of the mountains for a while. Taiwanese grow rice and anything possible in this amazing valley walled between the Sea Range and the Yushan Mountains. When I reach Luye, I realize I forgot the small map of the guest house and I go to the Town Hall to ask for the adress. After a long discussion, one civil servant takes his scooter and drive me to the guest house where a young guy has been noticed of my arrival. The place looks beautiful and the plantations at the sides of the hills announce another interesting tea stop in my itinerary.

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