100cc of pure fun up to Shanlinxi, and back.


If you know Taiwan the slightest bit, you are probably aware of the omnipresence of scooters on this island. They are everywhere — scaringly so, some will say. Not only does everybody own one but Taiwan is also a major producer of these two-wheeled contraptions, and good ones too! And, if you know the author of these lines a bit, you will know that I’ve been an adopter of this component of the Taiwanese lifestyle well before I became a resident of this island. Funny enough, since arriving here, I am without a scooter, and it hurts! With the beautiful weather we’ve been having in the central part of Taiwan this year, and the blooming cherry trees (and other flowering shrubs and trees) everywhere the symptoms of the Spring cravings are well in place.

This week, with everyone on the island on vacation for the Lunar New Year holiday, getting around by car has become impossible. The main highways have become island long parkings and all sightseeing spots are invaded by local folks enjoying family outings and picture-taking sessions. Since our town is not far from a popular off ramp giving access to some of the most popular scenic areas on the island, we are literally locked-in from being able to go anywhere as floods of cars and buses inch their way towards their destinations. So, for that reason, nobody at the Taiwan Tea Craft compound wishes to go anywhere at this time of the year preferring to let others come and visit us. Now, remember, I have a serious case of the two-wheel Spring jitters. And yes, as mentioned earlier, all good Taiwanese household has a few of these kicking around. Of course, one is sitting here most of the time. And yes, the ONLY way to get around in those circumstances is by scooter or bicycle (now you have a good clue as to why there are so many here…). So, earlier this week, I couldn’t bear it any longer and asked if I could borrow the little red 100cc Yamaha Cuxi to go out for a stroll. The afternoon was well underway and everybody thought I would simply explore the surroundings with my camera for an hour or so. I did not contradict anyone, but secretly I was contemplating other horizons.

What a pleasure it was! So much so, that Lugu was not enough, I had to push further up over the coastal ridge for another 30 km to one of my favorite little paradises: Shanlinxi.

My intention was to head up to Lugu Township, the home of world-famous Dong Ding oolong tea. After-all it’s only a few 25 to 3o kilometres away and I could easily be content with it’s beautiful 600 to 1000 m tea gardens and blooming cherry trees and be back before sunset (which is around 18:00 here). So, off I went as the clock was nearing the 2 o’clock mark. What a pleasure it was! So much so, that Lugu was not enough, I had to push further up over the coastal ridge for another 30 km to one of my favorite little paradises (yes, plural form here… as there are many terrestrial ones on this island): Shanlinxi — one of mythical high mountain tea terroirs of Taiwan. The scooter was, of course, an excuse — but a pleasant one nonetheless, being above the clouds amongst the vertiginous tea gardens to admire the last rays of light in tea paradise was my true craving. Respectfully, I will stop writing here and let the following few pictures try to convey the beauty and scope of it. For the best effect, you may want to consider sipping a cup of the following tea to get the full, multi-sensorial effect:

Longfengxia High Mountain Oolong tea, Lot # 143

Click on any of the pictures below to activate a full-screen slide show presentation.


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