I am very excited about my trip to Taiwan for 2013 winter oolong teas. I have my fingers crossed that the weather holds out and that the timing of the harvest will co-operate with the timing of my visit. We will have tea sent even if I cannot bring it back with me, but how much more fun it will be if I can stuff my suitcases full of new high mountain gao shan oolong!
First, and not tea related, I am excited about the fact that I would be touching down in both Hong Kong and then Taiwan in the morning, which gives me hope for some excellent views of Hong Kong harbor and the island of Taiwan.
As it turned out, the weather was partly cloudy but the viewing was the best I have ever had flying into Hong Kong. The threat of yet another typhoon was over ( the typhoon moved away from HK ) so It was mostly clear flying.
But I had a reason to be so keen on clear weather. I knew that the big rubber ducky that has made the news media over the course of this year was no longer in HK harbor, but had moved just a few weeks ago to Taiwan for a nesting period there, and was NOW in the harbor in Taoyuan, Taiwan.
So this was to be my big score – a sighting of the18-meter (59-foot), 2200 lb yellow rubber ducky from the air as the aircraft skimmed the coastline of Taoyuan at a low elevation on the way to the airport. (For those who are not up on the big rubber duck, this adorable yellow fellow with the big eyes has reached icon status in Asia and has pulled in millions of tourist dollars – yes, millions – for the cities who have allowed it to float in some of the biggest and best bathtubs – oh, I mean harbors – in Asia, The duck is the brainchild of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, master of playful installations in cities all over the world who is intent on his work “spreading joy around the world.”)
But alas, it was not meant to be. I read this heartbreaking story in the South China Morning Post on my flight, so I had the bad news as soon as I left HK and realized that my hopes for a sighting were dashed. Hopefully I will have better luck with the tea harvest!.