Two days before I left Taiwan on my trip back home, my dear friend Stephane surprised me with a trip to Nankang.
A place at the outskirts of Taipei, a place where the tea fields are being revived back to their glory days.
Like most metropolitan cities, Taipei is noisy and polluted. It does not have the romantic character of Paris neither the grandeur of Rome. But what it lacks in history and architectonical character it makes up with its kind inhabitants and its most amazing surroundings.
Literally a stone throw away you will find some of the most amazing topography in the world and most definitely some of the best any major city has to offer - that I have visited.
Much of the Pouchong you drink is a product of this surrounding.
This time we went to what I like to call "Thé End".
A step in the wrong direction and you will fall a few hundreds meters into your miserable painful death. But if you step at the right places you get to taste the sweetness of life, breath taking scenery, chat with some great friends, beautiful tea fields and wind that breaths life into your lungs all by itself.
Even the stray dogs have found a shelter in the nearby monastery.
The place is almost Utopian, if only artificial in many respects (there may not be any suffering people there but the moral imperative to help always lingers in the back of the mind and keeps it all real) and momentary.
Writing this, I cannot but think that the most important thing tea represents - to me - is not the connection between man and nature, but the connection between man and his fellow man perhaps facilitated by nature. Furthermore, it represents the development of humanity. Be it the culture, philosophy, artisan work, innovations, generosity, greed, commerce, wars, revolutions, health, folk lure, dreams, art, imagination, communication….that have always accompanied the Eastern civilisation history and in the recent 400-500 years Western civilisation too (other things I can think of that have a such a long and rich history in accompanying human history in various places across the world is wine and olive oil).
This is one of the reasons I almost never drink tea a lone. Moreover, I find it does not taste as good as with friends. Similarly, being in this place without the marvelous people who joined us would not be the same.
We arrived to this magical place fully equipped with a tetsubin (the famous dragon one), outdoor gas oven, "Wenshan" water we picked the other time and if my memory serves me correctly some 2002 YiWu Puerh.
And of course what must be by now the word's most famous and photographed silver tea pot (aka "Precious").
Moreover, the place is 'littered' with beautiful gardens and beautiful variety of tables whether made from stone or wood to sit and sip some tea. There is also a large pond with fish and turtles.
As for the tea, if you want to get a hint of real!! Yi Wu Puerh teas this is one tea to start thinking of getting.
Enjoy the pictures.
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