‘Why don’t we go somewhere on a day trip?’ One of the men of the retreat group lifted up his hand and looked intensely at their yoga teacher. They had just finished a lunchtime session of yoga and Laura was stretching her legs in front of her in the green grass.
They had fallen into a pattern of having two sessions of yoga and one session of meditation each day outside in the lovely garden surrounding the retreat centre buildings. Laura quite liked all the people in the group. In addition to her and Annie, there was a young couple from France, two middle-aged women from Germany, a family of four from Estonia and a group of friends from Spain. One of the Spanish men was the one proposing a day trip. Laura had a feeling that this was more of a holiday for them rather than a chance to have some peace and quite for themselves. Laura had seen Darky only once, for one of the yoga sessions, but other than that, there were no signs of him. She wondered if he was still taking part in the retreat.
‘That is a good idea’, their ever-so-calm teacher smiled at the man. ‘Taiwan is a very versitile country and there is much to see. Any ideas where you would like to go?’
‘Somewhere in the nature’, one of the younger ladies piped up. ‘I am loving your beautiful mountains.’
All of them had fallen in love with Taiwan’s beauty. Laura felt like a million miles and years away from her life in London. This setting couldn’t have been more different to her life in central London.
‘Wonderful idea’, another one of the young ladies chirped.
A couple of days later, the whole group set off to have a hike on one of the nearby mountains. It was a sunny and hot day, and they were all showing signs of tiredness just after the initial walk up to the main viewing area half way up the mountain. Annie and Laura took in the stunning scenery or luscious trees and flowers spreading ahead of them. They could see the high buildings of Taipei in the background, with miles and miles of greenery spreading in front of their eyes. ‘Now we are going to walk the famous route that all famous people want to walk when they come to Taiwan’, their guide said with a big grin on his face. He seemed to be the only one to whom the hot and humid air was having no effect. ‘The likes of the Beatles and One Direction have all done it.’
Laura wondered whether that was true. Still, it sounded appealing and they all started walking along a narrow path leading further up the mountain amongst huge trees. Laura was lost in her own thoughts as they walked along. Nature certainly had a calming effect on her and she slowed her pace, trailing behind the others who were treading along. The birds were singing and Laura stopped for a short while to take a swig from her water bottle. The others were walking along and disappeared behind a curve in the road.
‘I will catch up with them’, Laura thought as she took a bite of a sandwich that she had brought along and carried on walking. But when she walked behind the curve, there were two pathways leading to opposite directions – one to the west side of the mountain and the other to the east side. Which one had the others taken?