10/31 From Tofu to Taitung

10/31  From Tofu to Taitung

From where the Papago Resort Hotel is located in Cheshang, on route 9 that runs through the Rift Valley, it’s a straight shot south down the highway to Taitung, which was our next destination. Dawn at the Papago was gorgeous.

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We thought we’d be heading South, so it seemed odd that when our group left the hotel the next morning we headed north, traveling into the wind and between rice paddies that seemed to stretch to infinity.

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We noodled through some side roads, impressed by the endless rice fields — some ready for harvest, and a few of them actually being harvested.

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We studied the basic system of irrigation that uses tiny dams and water channels, a system developed over centuries, and we stopped to find out more, and to watch the harvesting take place.

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Nowadays, rice paddies are harvested by a machine that resembles a combination of motorized hedge shear and miniature combine; the threshed rice is blown into a waiting truck to take to the rice factory. A local farmer explained the operation.

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After some time we rode off, still heading mysteriously north, into the wind.

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Soon we arrived at a curious place, a local history museum that explained the story of rice and the history of the Rift Valley we were passing through.

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Here our crew posed for pictures, near strange aboriginal carvings:

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Nearby were tours for tourists that ranged through the paddies and the town. New bikes anyone?

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We now discovered that our first real destination was actually a farm that manufactured tofu up in the mountains. So now we ascended a steep thousand or fifteen hundred feet up a deserted road to reach the farm where we might learn more.

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Already we could see that this place was special, run by delightful people, and we hurried inside to find out what we could. Stephen had bought a couple farmers hats for us, and we had a cheerful moment with the owners.

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Then we proceeded inside, where the tofu was actually made, and we learned about its production by actually making it. First we took soybeans and ground them up by hand in a stone mill — very old school. Then we stirred it and helped press it. P1000616L1280941It took awhile.

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Then we ate it. L1280982

Afterwards the old farmer who owned the property took us on a tour of the fields above, with terraced rice paddies and room for other plantings. L1280999 L1290003 L1290008
But it was time to press on, so we thanked the owners and headed down the mountainside to make our way down to the end of the Rift Valley at Taitung.

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We were running a little late, but the wind was pushing at our backs. We stopped momentarily at a local bicycle trail park, where Rich tried to ride a bigger bike than he was used to.

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Leaving there, we proceeded at speed and could really make good time. arriving in Taitung before 5:00pm. We checked into our rooms, cleaned up, and headed out to dinner, lead by Stephen.

But for now we could rest on our small glory. We had covered another 68 miles, right out of the Rift Valley  to Taitung which was on the coast. We welcomed the scent of the sea and the quite luxurious accommodations. One more day and we’d be done with the East Coast altogether. There was a sense of accomplishment in the air. There was also a Typhoon stirring far to the south and east, approaching Taiwan even as we slept soundly in our comfortable beds.

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3 thoughts on “10/31 From Tofu to Taitung

  1. Bram Dally

    John,
    Can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated your blog. It looks like you guys are having a great time and putting in some big days. I’m not convinced that I would have been able to keep up.

    Give the guys my regards.

    Bram

    Reply
  2. Laura Pearson

    I have to say I have enjoyed every word I read on this blog. The aisian culture is so dear to me . It is exciting to read about your experiances. I think your next trip should be Vietnam. I offten watch Luke Nuyen cook and the way he eperiances his vietnam road trips sound familiar. Perhaps you should take me with you and drop me off in a little village in Hue so I can cook with these wonderful people. I am greatful you shared this whole experiance with myself and others. It was truley a overwelming story with many emotions. Hats off to the crew! Laura Pearson – Johns neice. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Leland Ching

    OMG…that looks like too much fun. Keep mentioning and shooting food. You can’t leave Taiwan without trying the stinky tofu. Try the betel nut too. I am immensely enjoying your blog. Safe riding guys! Leland Ching

    Reply

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