We went with Carol and James to the mountains east of Chungli (the city we're staying in.) For me it was an introduction to the mountainous regions of Taiwan and to it's mountain people, the aborigines, who have lived there for thousands of years.
We spent time at the Fuhsing Youth Activity Center, a hostel sponsored by the China Youth Corps that has activities for young people that seems to be similar to the Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations of America. It's located in the spot where the late President of Taiwan, Chiang Kai-Shek, had his summer home. Chiang Kai-Shek started the political party Kuo Min-Tang, but since his death in 1975, the Democratic Peoples Party has gained strength over the Kuo Min-Tang party. One of the side agendas of the Youth Center is to teach the young people about the benefits of the Kuo Min-Tang party.
We ended our day by going to a fish restaurant that specializes in dishes made from carp that we personally select from a large tank. Our fish was 6.6 kilos (14.5 pounds), so we asked that they cut it in half and use the other half for another group. (The fish is filleted and split length-wise to make sure both parties get a head and a tail.) Carol and James picked four different cooking methods for our fish and they were all great.
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|1 - We stopped for tea at a tea house that had different types of herb teas, fruit teas, floral teas, traditional green teas and many different combinations. I had a Jasmine-Mint tea that went very well with my chicken, corn, cucumber and ketchup individual pizza. That's an orange and fruit tea that James and Carol have.||2 - This was the view of the river and mountains that we had from our table at the tea house.||3 - James, Herbert and Carol.|
|4 - We went for a walk down a mountain path with plants I've never seen before. Here, Herbert is joking that he's going to hang himself from one of the very strong vines.||5 - This is a photo of a photo of Chiang Kai-Shek and his wife. His wife is still alive, aged 106 and she lives in New York City.||6 - The walls of the Youth Center were covered with artwork. I loved this one. It reminded me of letting our children go free as they grow up.|
|7 - This wall-hanging represents the old style of writing Chinese that was more like a drawing.||8 - The character in the upper right corner of the wall-hanging. It's the old way of writing 'mountain' and it's easy to see how they got it.||9 - This is the modern Chinese character for mountain.|
|10 - We walked through the village markets where the aborigines sell their products from the mountain.||11 - James helped me buy flowers, fruits and herbs so that I could make my own teas. I had a hard time limiting myself and ended up with six different kinds that filled a plastic grocery bag - all for $9 US.||12 - We walked down the side of another hill and came to this bridge that spanned the river. The bridge was about 150 meters long (around 150 yards) and very, very high above the river. I had to breathe deeply to overcome my fear of heights as I walked across the planks. It didn't help that the bridge swayed back and forth as we walked. But, I made it.|
|13 - This is the fish tank and the man is catching the fish that James selected.||14 - Weighing the fish.||15 - They brought us little appetizers to eat while we waited for our fish. Following James and Carol's lead, we used our chopsticks to pick up the peanuts. Herbert was good enough that he could pick up two at a time.|
|16 - The first dish included the tail. The fish was fried and was covered in a sweet and sour sauce. This was my favorite.||17 - The second dish was lightly breaded and fried fish with shrimp-rice crisps. (The colorful puffy things.)||18 - The head in a spicy sauce with tofu. I love tofu, but this was not my favorite dish. If you look at the head, you can see the little white marble sized eye. (about 1:00 in the photo) Herbert had to hide it from me after the photo was taken because I didn't like it staring at me.|
|17 - The last fish dish came steamed with lemon grass and soy sauce. Delicious!|