Oh, the Places You'll Go: Maokong, Taiwan

I am an enormous tea drinker. (Like seriously, I have a problem. (Seriously.)) I can drink up to six cups of tea a day, especially when studying or writing, and do you know what? That's ok. Tea is amazing and I enjoy it as only a true addict can. 

During my recent trip to East Asia (Japan and Taiwan), I drank more tea than what is probably healthy. (It's one part blood to three parts tea in my veins, if you're interested.) In Taipei, Taiwan, there's a region called Maokong which used to be a major tea exporter. Today it's a tourist hub accessed by gondola, the mountainside crisscrossed with old tea transport paths and teahouse upon teahouse upon teahouse. (I may possibly have been in love.) 


It was only my sister and I on the trip, a first. We ordered some tea at an outdoor cafĂ© which served Taiwanese tea and played French music, and it had the most amazing view of Taipei. We must have sat there for an hour or so, chatting and enjoying the view. (Also the tea. The tea was amazing.) 

We spent the rest of the day trekking the meandering pathways hedged by forest and tourists armed to the teeth with cameras and sunscreen. It was stunning. We passed vegetable gardens, tea plants, stray dogs... And there was also the quiet, the effort of putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying the seemingly mundane task of exploring a place that already had a map. 

After taking several wrong turns, I managed to drag my sister to one of the temples. (She was less than impressed at the extra walking due to my inability to read the signs.) It was a beautiful Buddhist temple, and I was too intimidated by the people worshiping and the enormity of the building to take pictures. I know I wouldn't appreciate it if a tourist came and took pictures of me during church because they found it interesting. 


We stood there, gawking like stupid tourists until a kind, older man approached us and asked us (in English) where we were from. (We always say Canada because otherwise the accent confuses people.) He brightened, explaining he studied medicine in Texas. He was gracious enough to explain what little he knew about the temple, such as how you always enter a Buddhist temple from the right and exit from the left for good luck and a long life. He was lovely and I'm so thankful to have learned something about a religion so different from my own. 

In fact, everything about Maokong was different from my day-to-day life. It was cool and quiet while my life is chaotic and busy. It was getting lost in the forest and sitting with my sister and having adventures, and it was a culture and history older than the country I live in. It's kind of comforting to know Maokong existed long before I was born, and will exist long after I'm buried and forgotten. 

What's your favourite tea? What's a quiet place you like to escape to? Tell me in the comments!

Comments

  1. I started tea drinking with herbal tea and green tea. There's one brand here called Tension Tamer that i really enjoy. It has mint, chamomile, and a few other ingredients. Lately I've also taken a liking to Earl Gray for an afternoon pick-me-up. Sounds like an intriguing trip!

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    1. Mmmmm, that sounds so good. I've never gotten into chamomile, but mint is amazing (she says as she sips earl grey). I have a giant cupboard full of tea, it's a bit ridiculous really. Thanks for commenting, RM!

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  2. I don't think I have a favourite tea but I mostly drink green tea. It's more of a green and lemon teabag, though.

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    1. Green tea is amazing, especially the green and lemon variety.

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