Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Taipei Tea Houses

One cool thing we did in Taipei was visit these tea houses. We read about them in the guide books- it is on the side of the mountain outside of Taipei, in a place where they grow tea, and there are tea houses there.
We rode a taxi from the MRT station. Taxis in Taipei are so cheap. It kills me. We kind of pictured it as an old-fashioned place where they would make expensive tea and serve it to you. It turned out to be a little overrun with tourists but you could still sit and relax as long as you want. They just gave you a packet of tea and hot water and you had to make it yourself- luckily I've been served tea enough times that I knew the intricacies of making it properly. We drank tea for a long time, and had some pistachios- ordering them was a struggle, and I totally knew what they were called- open heart fruit in Chinese. But I didn't believe that they could really be called that, because I always eat open heart vegetables here. Hmmm.
Below our table there was a tea plantation, and off in the distance you could see most of Taipei- long distance photos never come out well here because of the pollution and humidity but that's Taipei 101 in the distance.
A big treat was that they just opened up this gondola system that takes you along the mountains (that's "line car" in Chinese), and it turned out that the final station for the gondola was right near the tea house we went to. It was way cooler than I thought it would be- there were amazing views, and it was over a 10 minute ride. The final station was near the Taipei zoo. We had a lot of fun on it.

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