What a fun word to say.
I browsed thru a list of Q words to find one I could apply to today's post about tea. Quagswag is an obsolete word meaning to shake to and fro. What does that have to do with tea you ask?
Well, first we needed to get to the tea and that required a little thing called a cable car. Gondola. Tram. Death Trap. Take your pick. Why when I travel do I always seem to end up in one of these things?
Because I cave to peer pressure and don't want to seem like a wimp even though I am, that's why. Plus I hate to miss anything and sometimes you need to climb up high so you can look down low.
I'm not opposed to heights and I love the views from high places. I just don't care for the manner in which I have to travel in order to get there. I dislike small spaces and as I'm trekking ever higher I find myself contemplating who does the maintenance on these things? Someone does the maintenance, right? Of course someone does. They wouldn't let us ride it otherwise, right?
Anyhoo, back to Taipei and my traveling pal E. Normally I'm on these sorts of 'vehicles' with the hubs who loves looking out and down and across and pointing out all the sights along the way. He doesn't seem to notice a little thing like THE WIND that's sweeping across the valley we're traversing as we dangle by a string hundreds of feet in the air.
Well, it feels like a string.
E and I discuss going up the mountain to see the tea plantations. The alternative to the cable car would be taking a bus up a winding twirling swirling road and that appeals to me even less than the cable car because that will definitely require Dramamine. It's amazing I ever leave my front porch, isn't it.
Seeing the tea farms is something high on my list of things to do but I just wish there were some other way to get there. Apparently so did E because as we stood in line for the cable car we each, ever so carefully, let it slip that we dislike actually riding in these things.
I need someone to keep me from sucking all the oxygen out of the car, not someone I might have to wrestle down for the last gasp of air. As I'm working all this out in my head we are alerted to the fact that a glass bottomed cable car is an option. Uh, no thanks. I'm sure had my hubs been there he would have been making the case for the glass bottomed cable car but E and I were in complete agreement on a no see-through floor.
Yes those two specks in the sky in the center of this photo are the cable cars.
A Japanese couple and their young son were in the car with us going up. The dad was videotaping the entire ride and somewhere in Japan today is a family watching that video wondering why the crazy American woman in the background cannot stop talking. Sorry! I just can't help myself. I chatter when I'm nervous.
The windows were partially lowered in the car and as we crossed the wide open canyon the wind positively whistled right on thru and the car swayed. S-way-ed!! Somebody does maintenance on these things, yes? The little boy clung to his mama. I know exactly how you feel little guy!
There was a stop about 2/3 of the way up and we decided to hop off and see Chi Nan Temple which sits tucked into the mountainside like a picture perfect postcard.
Also to savor the terra firma for a minute.
Just keepin' it real folks.
The temple and surrounding area were positively gorgeous.
So peaceful and quiet and lush.
I could finally stop talking.
Mind the steps now-
You know, foreign travel is really not for the the faint of heart.
I might be just a little bit faint of heart.
I forge ahead anyway.
Forging ahead meant getting back on that cable car and riding it the rest of the way up. We'd heard the little village called Maokong that sits atop the mountain was filled with tea houses.
I guess so...every one of those names on the signs you see as you get off the gondola are tea houses. Our guide book suggested choosing one that appealed to you so that's what we did. The young man whose family owned this particular tea house was so polite and spoke excellent English. He asked if we'd like a menu so naturally we said yes.
How 'bout you suggest something instead.
He brought us tea grown by his family and prepared and served it to us tableside. Then he stood right beside us as we drank every drop. It made us chuckle.
We really did enjoy our seat high on the mountain overlooking Taipei. The tea was soothing and the air was sweet. The view wasn't bad either, definitely worth the trip up.
You miss a lot of life when you let fear rule the day.
I try to remember that when I'm facing a mountain.
In travel and in life.