Where we went…

After much sleeping in the car as the lines of freshly growing rice flowed by, I awoke to find us on a mountain, sitting at an angle with my back pressed firmly against the back of the seat as we ascended and waited in line to get up the mountain into the parking lot of Lavender Cottage, which made me a bit wistful for lavender fields in Provence, though it was totally different. “Cottage” is a bit of a misnomer– it’s really a large modern sort of house-ish thing that hosts a large and slightly fancy-ish restaurant (we had fun putting out a napkin set on fire by accident with the hot pot flame).   It has a lovely view of the mountains growing spring green on their edges, mists rising and floating down the valley where a river wound its way through.

The view through the windows from where we sat.

They have a couple of lavender gardens which were fairly fragrant in the mist as we walked down the steps of the mountain edged by bamboo forest and around the paths.

Not all that much lavender was really blooming, but  what was there was fragrant.  I was actually a bit homesick for a summer in France when there was a field of purple zig-zagging through the valley and a monastery where there were fields and fields of lavender in their rounded bunched glory.

My shots of lavender weren’t very good (can’t seem to get my silly macro lens to focus properly on what’s right in front and center…  grr.), however, there were other flowers…

I had never seen pink callas before.  These looked like the pink might have been painted on them, since there was a white spot every now and then on the top.  Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland‘s cards painting the roses red…

Ever wonder what’s beyond in the mist?  I used to think that if I ran fast enough through the wall of mist, I’d find an entirely different realm.  I never seemed to run fast enough, though, because I’d just find the little valley of houses and lawns that was supposed to be there instead of a mystical wild loveliness.

Spiderwebs catch more than what flies…

My aunt got us postcards, and these little brown tags I didn’t know what to do with…  They were for wishes.

There’s a little grove of trees where people tie their wishes up.

Someone wished for a wii…

Afterwards, we drove into Meiwan– a little mountain town that was celebrating the Hakka flower festival (though I didn’t see any flowers displayed there).

The Meiwan Train Station.

There was a little freak show for animals that had a huge stuffed ostrich and photos of kids holding things like a turtle with five legs (it seemed to have an extra back leg), a very odd white looking caterpillar relative, and other things.  An old movie theater was converted to a restaurant that showed movies on the old screen.

I had fried ginger flowers which were delicious, salted, and wonderful.  Ginger flowers are about the size of my thumb, white, and very fragrant.  Women often peddle them by temples to get the gods’ attention with their scent, or by the side of the road so you can hang it from your rearview mirror.

The kids and grown-ups had fun in the arcade with the game where you throw basketballs as fast as you can at a hoop probably five feet away, to see how many you can get in before the timer runs out.

I popped out to take a look at the other shops in town and found a man making a glass pen.  I really really want a glass pen.  I sternly talked myself out of it, since I have a glass pen (that doesn’t work because the tip broke between France and the US), and would probably break another one.   There were also glass horses and shrimp and swans and so forth, which were delicately done.

In the mountains the air is fresher, and you feel as if you’re literally walking in the clouds as you watch them sift through the mountains across the valley.  It was rainy, tingly and pattering at times.  I need to go to the mountains more.


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Free Rice

April 2007
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