Pei Ketron Visits Us In Dong Ding Oolong Country
We recently spent the day with Pei Ketron - pioneer of Instagram photography (@pketron) and freelance photographer from the U.S.A. who has family in Taipei. Pei was recently featured on PHOTOSHELTER in a live webinar about her Instagram expertise.
While staying with relatives in Taipei, she hopped around Asia on different jobs for a few months. And taking a day trip from Taipei via the High Speed Rail, public bus, and my motorcycle - Lugu was one of her last stops before getting on plane back to the States. The bus that Pei had to take from the Taichung HSR station was a public service tour bus that took city folks to a recreational forest park high up in the central mountain range, passing through Lugu along the way. Pei soon found out that there were no set bus stops along the way. Passengers had to push a button to notify the driver that they wanted to get off. Sounds convenient, but not when you have no idea where you are or where you are going! I found Pei easily enough on the side of the rode between Lugu and the forest park where she abruptly got dropped off! From there it was relatively smooth travels for the rest of the day. We visited a couple scenic spots and a few of our tea friends, then rode back down the mountain and all the way back to the Taichung HSR station, as the buses had stopped running in the afternoon.
Here are some shots Pei took at Lu Ding Manor, a nice B&B/ Conference Center at the top of Dong Ding Mountain:
Above, an activity of children brewing tea for a group of guests was being prepared for when we arrived. And below, Pei framed a nice shot of Andy taking in the view from the second floor veranda.
The view below is from the vista point that our local friend and tea artisan took us up to overlooking Qilin Lake (麒麟潭) and Phoenix Village (鳳凰村) on this summer afternoon of intermittent thunder showers. Pei caught the afternoon light just as the sun shined through for a brief moment. This ridge above Dong Ding Mountain has some of the earliest history of tea cultivation on Taiwan, and for us is the heart of tea country.
Here is a sneaky pic that Pei took of our friend Young (who produced our current batch of Dong Ding Oolong) and I on our way back down from the vista point:
Pei and I stopped for one last pot of tea at the home of my tea mentors Tony and Lisa Lin before heading back to Taichung in the evening to make sure Pei could catch the HSR back up to Taipei. Luckily, Pei found her very long and weary day of travels into tea country to be well worth it! We look forward to her next visit and more fun tea adventures. Here's Pei's impromptu selfie shot of us fueling up on the way back into the city:
All photos courtesy of Pei Ketron
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The medium oxidized leaves have undergone extensive, repeated roastings that have resulted in a very balanced, integrated character. The initial steepings offer a freshly cut wood aroma with a toasted nutty flavor. This proceeds to open up into a sweeter, more complex profile that is strikingly reminiscent of roasted winter vegetables, including parsnip, caramelized onion and butternut squash.
Mr. Zhang's father cultivated tea on their homesteaded land in Xiaobantian, on the southside of Lugu Township, where he grew up in the midst of traditional tea making. At 20 something, he decided to embody his local tradition by clearing land to cultivate his own plot of tea. For the last 20 years, he has managed his own humble, privately owned plot of tea. Throughout this period, he also acquired seasonal work in tea factories in Lugu, Shanlinxi, Alishan, Fanzaitian, and Lishan. In a word, he learned the ropes of tea making in a comprehensive way, like most tea farmers of his generation. Lugu hosts the highest concentration of tea makers in Taiwan, and is a hub of specialty tea making culture.