Arriving in Taiwan

As I left the plane the hot air and high humidity hit me. It was like arriving in Israel, and immediately you feel overdressed coming from a cooler country as all one needs is a T-shirt and comfortable clothing.  The last time I visited Taiwan was for a HETI Conference. I think this was my fourth visit and I felt at home. I also knew the person who was coming to meet me for many years. She had also visited Israel some years ago.

From the airport we traveled to a small town that was famous for its hot spring water,  baths, and wonderful valley where the hot water ran constantly, and a relaxing atmosphere.  Beitou is a town on the outskirts of Taipei. The island of Taiwan sits on a collision zone between two tectonic plates. As a result, it has one of the highest concentrations of thermal hot springs in the world.  In fact, there are at least 100 major hot springs. Taiwanese people had always appreciated their hot springs, but it was the Japanese that developed Beitou and other spa resorts.  I didn’t have the courage to publicly bathe with no clothes on, so I chose to bathe in the amazing hot spring water in the privacy of my hotel room.

The next day I traveled with Uta Rindfleisch-Wu to the Zhongzheng district. To reach this mountainous region we went in a cable car over the mountains till we finally reached our destination.  Uta led the way as we walked up steep paths and steps at the sides of the tea plantation. We could see towns in the distance, even at one time the 101 Tower. There were magnificent temples dotted across the landscape. It was extremely peaceful.  We had a fish and vegetable lunch on the mountain at about 3,000 meters.



Returning to ground level again we traveled to the riding center in the Longtan district where we saw the horses and equipment and set up for the following day where I was going to work. The next day I began my workshop. The days were long as we had a lot to do in a short time. Half the time we spent in the classroom and half outside in the arena practicing. The topics included sensory integration, emotions, traumatic brain injury, and  post trauma. The students practiced putting bridles, saddles, grooming, leading and side walking. We did everything  together and then spent time afterwards evaluating our work and reflecting upon what happened while partnering with the horses. 

It was tremendously hot, 36.5 Celsius, but I was not bothered by this heat, mainly because the group of students were so enthusiastic, and it felt so good absorbing their positive vibes. Uta did most of the interpreting from English to Taiwanese, and when things got difficult there was always someone around to help.  Our days always ended in the same way, reflecting upon ourselves, work, and the horses. It was incredible  to spend time in this  friendship circle that was built from both humans and horses.

Since returning from Taiwan, I have had a zoom meeting with the students who are asking for answers to many more questions. 

When the course finished, I visited the village of Jioufen which is a mountain town in northeastern Taiwan, east of Taipei. It’s known for the narrow alleyways of its old town, packed with teahouses, street-food shacks, and souvenir shops. Near central Old Street is the Shengping Theater, established in the 1900s and since restored. Close by, the Gold Mine Museum traces the town’s history as a mining hub during the Japanese-era gold rush. On my travels I have learned that street food is a must. Yes, it’s great to go to a good restaurant, but it’s also important to taste something that is unique to the place one is visiting. In Jioufen, I was lucky there was a Vegan version of Ah Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll which was sold in one of the most famous stalls on Jioufen Old Street. 

I finished this stay in Taipei where I visited the Night Market, then used the Metro to see the central part of the city. Traveling on the Metro felt easy as it sparked memories of traveling on the London Underground.


Taiwan made me feel comfortable, the students enthusiasm and good will are feelings that I will keep with me forever.  The Therapeutic Riding Instructor students with whom I was privileged to work embraced knowledge building. A synthesis of ideas became their common goals, group discussions, and synthesis of ideas. It was  a joy to expand their experience.

Taiwan recharged my batteries, and made me ready for the last leg of my journey.



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