Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Dragon Boat Festival in the countryside

Residents will teach guests to make glutinous rice dumplings, as part of Shuangsi’s new season of ‘low-carbon’ tours

By Enru Lin  /  Staff reporter

Shuangsi, a rural community in New Taipei City, hosts an annual program of low-carbon tours.

Photo courtesy of New People Travel Service Co

On Sunday, New Taipei City’s Shuangsi (雙溪) offers guests a way to experience the Dragon Boat Festival in a quiet rural community.

The Dragon Boat Festival tour is part of a three-month series of themed “low-carbon tours,” which began last Saturday and continues to September.

Themed tours take visitors into the temples, markets and trails of Shuangsi villages.

The cost is NT$399/person and covers roundtrip transportation, a guide, lunch and activities, which in Sunday’s event include a craft workshop and a performance by a local dance troupe that specializes in the samba.

To mark the Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on Monday, villagers will teach tourists the art of making zongzi, parcels of glutinous rice traditionally eaten during the holiday.

Shuangsi is famed for its zongzi, which locals wrap with the leaf of the wild ginger lily instead of the more common bamboo.

The root of the ginger lily is ground and mixed into the rice. When steamed, it imparts a lightly floral scent and tang.

“Ginger lily isn’t exclusive to Shuangsi, but it does grow here particularly well,” said organizer Peter Lin (林耀煌).

“It needs wet ground and soil that is free of pollution. It happens that we are a rich waterway and a natural preserve that’s quite free of industrial activity — we have no factories. We don’t even have a gas station.”

A new feature to this season of themed tours is an interactive exhibition of bygone playthings.

During the 1950s and 1960s, children in Shuangsi played with newspaper kites, rubber band jump-ropes, bamboo water guns and other toys made with inexpensive materials that are on view now in a temple courtyard.

“Low-carbon” tours are a six-year-old venture by Shuangsi’s District Office (雙溪區公所), aimed at breathing economic life into a region that thrived during the coal boom of the Japanese Colonial Era but has since become a quiet agriculture-based community.

Event Notes:

What: Dragon Boat Festival tour in Shuangsi

When: Sunday from 9:30am to 5pm. Other tours available from now to Sept. 6. Visit the official Web site for a detailed schedule or to register

Where: Meet at the Low-Carbon Tour service desk inside TRA Shuangxi Station (雙溪火車站低碳旅遊服務中心), Shuangxi District (雙溪區), New Taipei City

Admission: NT$399 per person

On the Net:

Participants register online on a first-come, first-served basis. On the day of the tour, they meet at the local train or bus station and switch to a “low-carbon” vehicle such as a bicycle into car-free trails.

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