We started off this year’s green tea/wulong tea tour on a beautiful spring morning. Our first stop was the Lu Yu Tribute Tea Factory Museum. During the Tang Dynasty there were 20,000 people involved in the factory, and all of the tea produced was for the consumption of the court. Production only lasted for about a month.
Let me just say that I am writing this on our little bus as we go from place to place, so my syntax and verb tenses are sure to get messed up, leaving Josh with a difficult editing job. Anyhow, the museum is massive and we only had a couple of hours there, which is really not a long enough time. It is built in the Tang style of wood and stone. Most of the wood was imported from Canada: large logs in such numbers that it boggles the imagination. The people at the museum were kind enough to set up a Tang Dynasty tea ceremony for us, and I will post some video online when I can. We had a gaiwan of Gu Zhu Zi Sun. Our tour group was jet lagged but excited.
We have a very culturally diverse group: one German, one French woman, two Brazilians, and four Americans (plus Zhuping, Xiao Tong, and myself). For anyone coming to China for the first time, the first day is like a step into another dimension. China cannot be imagined or explained, only experienced. It is exciting and very different from everyone’s expectations in a way that is not easily communicated. For me the feeling of time is distorted, not just because of jet lag, but also because there is no semblance of my daily American life here. Time seems to lengthen in the same way as during any heightened experience. Though the two weeks of the tour will go by quickly, it will seem a much longer time due to this collectively new experience.
Now I am writing in Yixing, sitting in a garden outside the Yixing Pottery Museum. I have been alone in the garden for about 20 minutes and an old man has just wandered over to look over my shoulder to see what I am doing. We shared a couple of minutes together, looking over my iPad, but my Chinese runs out and he wanders back to the garden he’s tending. He’s wearing a blue baseball cap, the same color as the one Mao and the rest of China used to wear not long ago.
We spent the late afternoon buys Yixing pots and watching a pot made. I have a video that I recorded but the process took more than an hour to construct a basic pot, so it will take me a while to get it edited down, so I will probably wait until I get home to attempt it. I am a real being when it comes to editing video. Never the less here are some photos taken that day. I will add more shots of the pot construction a bit later too.