China – Tea Plantation

I learned more today about green tea than I have my entire life. Our day started with a visit to a nearby village of Mei Jia Wu, where they seem to grow nothing but tea. Amongst the things I learned included: how the different size of tea leaves produce different flavours; how the spring harvest is considered the best; how you can usually get five cups of green tea using the same leaves, how you should drink black tea in the morning, and how you should drink green tea about half an hour AFTER eating your lunch and dinner to assist in fat absorption.

Until the “big sell” and “shopping frenzy” came at the end of the demonstration I was inclined to say this was the most interesting visit we had made to a factory/retail outlet on the trip. I’m not one for jewellery and silk, and I’m generally not one for shopping (unlike many others on the tour), but I really enjoyed visiting the village, and in particular, taking a walk out into the tea plantations themselves.

The major part of the day involved a three-hour (or so) bus trip to Shanghai where I slept on and off and listened to some music and to some podcasts.

We arrived with just enough time to spend an hour or so walking around the Shanghai Museum which I enjoyed very much. “Some of you might not like museums” our tour guide Helen said at one point, to which I softly responded with a smile, “Some of us don’t like shopping”. The two most interesting exhibitions for me were the one which featured some of the traditional clothing of some the ethnic minorities, and the one which featured some fantastic sculptures.

Throughout the tour there have been a few optional extras to the programs where Sue and I have been the odd ones out. While almost everyone else attended, neither of us have had much of an interest , for example, in attending light and sound shows by the bloke responsible for the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony. Tonight I was the only one in our group who elected not to go to the acrobatics show. Sue went along, and I’m sure she enjoyed it, but, as I explained to everyone, “acrobatics are not my thing, I would have preferred a few more hours at the museum”.

So I came to the hotel early and booked in. Wow, what a fantastic room I have. It’s something like 60 square metres, has fantastic views, has a fantastic bathroom (with separate spaces for shower and toilet, and with a TV over the bathtub), and is probably the best hotel accommodation I’ve stayed in. Realising the comfort level, I thought to myself, “I’m in the the night”. I did wander out for a while though to buy a shirt, I had a swim, and paid a brief visit to a bar called “Eddy’s Bar” which was nice, and where I got chatting to a couple of locals.

One of the blokes I chatted to was called “Kevin” who told me he was moving to Australia later in the year and that he’d just “passed the test”. One of the interesting things about young Chinese men and women is their adoption of “Western Names”. That is, they “choose” a name to be known by. I didn’t dare ask if he named himself after our former Mandarin-speaking Prime Minister. I thought it was a question best left unasked.

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