My next destination south in the Rift Valley was Luye Township (loo-YAY) in Taitung County (tie DUNG). The Japanese decided that Luye was the most desirable place to live in all of Taiwan during the colonial days. It is indeed achingly beautiful, kissed by the sun with fields full of tea and pineapples. The Luye Gaotai. or plateau, is an international destination for paragliding. While I was there, the Taitung Balloon Festival was just kicking off on the Gaotai. There are a good amount of old Japanese wooden buildings remaining in the village of Longtian. It was just a great place to ride the bike, magical at every turn. It had a certain feel to it that reminded me of wine country.
Para-gliders are floating around the Gaotai all the time. The landing area is in the flatland below.
Looking toward the east from Luye Gaotai; the Pacific Ocean is just on the other side. This is Dulan Mountain, sacred to the local aborigine people.
I lucked into being in Luye on opening night of the Balloon Festival. It was kind of a tease in my opinion. There was a big crowd. However, all the balloons did were to inflate and stay stationary on the ground. And there were only about 8-10 balloons that inflated, even though there were were more than 40 balloons participating in the subsequent races the next few days. It just seems to me that if you are going to to all the trouble of rigging up and inflating, why not go ahead and fly? Still, the visuals were unusual and kind of satisfying.