I rarely do the things I should. Back in my youth I used to exercise, smile, make new friends and eat vegetables. I've grown up to be an old, lazy, scowl-faced carnivore. I like to think of myself as a work in regress. That's not to say I don't enjoy a plate or two of veggies from time to time, I just don't go searching for them. Our Taiwan guide, a colleague of Dodo's, was something of a health nut. She drove us south of Hualien, into the east rift valley to Shin Liu Farm for some greenery, both the viewing and eating kind.
Shin Liu appeared to be less a working farm than a wetlands museum. A lattice of elevated walkways sat above waterlogged fields and ponds while bamboo fish traps slowed the flow of a small river that bisected the property. Their small store sells locally produced goods like honey and rice and is a stone's throw from the larger restaurant, where I sat in front of plate after plate of local "water vegetables." After trying to get some translations, I gave up. A lot of these veggies were regional specialties and everyone was having a hard time coming up with the English for them. I have to admit, I enjoyed them - after all, they were very fresh, lightly steamed and made me feel like I was doing something good for myself.
It's a beautiful, green, peaceful place. I felt my city pulse slacken and fade and wished for a nap that wasn't allowed.
Our guide was pushing us onwards, to the next site and now, reflecting on it, I'm glad she did.