Taiwan Tea Party

We just had a really fun afternoon out, which we needed after a few solid days of reading and typing online assigments. We went on another day-hike, this time on the Zhinan Temple Hiking Trail, and stopped for lunch at a nearby smaller temple that had tables and chairs and hardly any people. We’d packed sandwiches, oranges, and mooncakes.

About 3/4 the way through our meal, a group of 9 Taiwanese showed up with a big tea-pot, a propane single burner like what you take camping, and a bunch of leftover Moon Festival goodies. They were laughing and having a good time. We could hear them talking about us, but all we could tell was “foreigners” and “English,” which they repeated a lot. They talked fast, and some of it was in Taiwanese (not Mandarin). Suddenly, we hear a tentative, “Hallo? Hallo!” “Tea? Good?” They ended up inviting us over to join their tea party.

We hit it off pretty good at the start by sniffing the tea and asking, “Oolong Cha?” Judging from their response, they were pretty excited to see that we at least knew a little about tea (it was oolong, by the way…and very good oolong at that!). We love the way they serve tea here. One person is the designated tea server, and it’s their job to keep refilling the tea pot and refilling everyone’s tea cups whenever they need it…your cup is almost never empty!! They also stuffed us full of mooncakes and other goodies, notably some Hakka sticky rice gooey things…one with a salty pork/taro filling and another with a red bean filling, except we don’t know the name for those yet. We had some different flavours of mooncake than we’ve experienced so far, including peach, orange, and strawberry. Those were really delicious!

We had so much fun getting to try all our Mandarin (which is not very much!), and had enough to talk a little bit and ask about stuff. They had so little English that it was nice to have to rely on our Mandarin for once. One of the guys decided to call his daughter in the middle of the tea party, and give the phone to us so that she could practice her English. I think she also was clarifying what we were doing and the name of the place we work, so that she could tell her parents in Chinese. We must have been with them for well over an hour, and talking for most of that time (which is pretty good for how little Chinese we know!)

Photos from the hike are here.

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