“Water is the mother of tea…”

I met up with some of the other teachers at Lingyin Si and we decided to see if we could find this Tea Plantation in Hanzhou.  I talked to some people and we found out the bus headed in the right direction, so we hopped on and eventually found the place.  It was stunningly beautiful.  Suddenly we were in open fields of tea, the sky was a bright blue, and there were mountains all around.  It was like something they show on the “Explore China” documentaries.

This was a nice change from the concrete of Wuhan.

The place turned out to have the only “National Tea Museum” in China.  Inside, I met a German guy who had lived in Memphis for a year and a half working for Enterprise.  We spent a good 15 minutes talking about how much we missed barbecue.  I also learned a good deal about tea; it’s history, methods of preparation, health benefits, and different types.  Here, I was able to pose with many different pieces of art–all featuring the symbol for tea (cha):

If you didn’t already know, tea is really popular in China.  They don’t drink cold drinks here; most nice meals will start out with tea being delivered.  I think it’s especially nice, because you have to boil the water for tea (therefore purifying it).  I learned there are more than six different types of tea that are popular here; some of them being red tea, black tea, and oolong tea.  They’re each prepared in a different way.  I got to witness each of these, as they offered us a complimentary tea tasting session.

Tea jars and ceramic pot

After the tea-tasting and the museum, my friend Henry and I stepped outside to wait on everyone else.  My brought his hacky-sack with him, so we started playing to pass the time.  Before long, I think we had attracted a larger audience than the tea museum.  The Chinese, as far as I can tell, have a big fascination with foreigners–or at least white people.  Generally, I’ll get stared at.  Sometimes people will talk about the “laowai”–the foreigner–when I go by.  And if we ever do anything minutely noteworthy (playing basketball or soccer, singing, talking Chinese, playing cards or chess … anything), there’s a good chance of attracting a crowd.  Occasionally it’s annoying to be stared at so often, but I usually like the attention–I feel like a minor celebrity.  People move out of my way, I get special treatment at stores and restaurants, and I’ll get invited to play in any sports event I happen to be near.  People go to great lengths to get pictures of me; sometimes for the heck of it, I’ll jump into other people’s pictures and they think it’s hilarious.  Even kids want to be in pictures with the laowai:

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2 Responses to “Water is the mother of tea…”

  1. Joelle Stockburn says:

    Your Wuhan articles are fun, witty and informative, I read them for the first time today and I remember you, meeting you going down the stairs of your apartments block, back in February. Yes, you are a friendly teachers bunch in Jianghan, Rebecca sent me a few of your exploring China photos, nice to read somebody else account! No more of your diary since New Year, can’t wait for more, sad your Tibet trip cancelled in July, Becca was looking forward to it! All the best wishes & kind regards, Joelle

    • Teacher Dan says:

      Hey Joelle!

      Thanks for the compliments, haha :)

      Yes, I remember meeting you outside of Rebecca’s room. I wasn’t aware that any of the other teachers here knew about my blog–I guess I should be wary now gossiping about my co-workers!

      I’ve actually been having difficulty posting for a weeks now. I’ve been able to write drafts, but the internet isn’t allowing me to post them. I’m not sure what’s wrong with it; I’m going to have to email my new material to my mom so she can post it for me from America. :)

      Anyways,
      glad to hear you made it home safely.

      -dan

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