|Tea plantation, Hangzhou|
I did something I've often dreamed of-- I walked through a tea plantation. You'd think you were in the open countryside, surrounded by steep wooded hills, but in fact this is only a couple of miles from the city centre and West Lake, up the Longjing Road. Hangzhou's Longjing tea is famous for its quality, because conditions are just right for the production of green tea here: warm days, cool, misty nights, and mountain streams to water the crop. I saw a lady in a straw hat watering some bushes with a tool like a long, wooden, giant-sized spoon. I also spotted a shiny blue tailed lizard slithering along an irrigation channel as white butterflies fluttered around the tea leaves.
National Tea Museum (chá bó) which offered free admission, like the Silk Museum. Again, the surroundings were so attractive, with statues, little waterfalls, quiet tea houses, flowerbeds and lily ponds as well as the plantation, that I wandered around outside the building for a considerable while before actually going in to see the indoor exhibits. Besides, it was already very hot out of doors mid-morning, and I thought that postponing the cooler part of my visit might be a good idea.
|Tea tasting paraphernalia|
|Tea growing near the museum|
|Tea leaf roller|
|Wu Lizhen of Sichuan, |
first planter of tea
|Photo opportunity in the tea fields|
On my way back to the bus, I spotted a young couple having their pre-wedding photos taken in the tea bushes, and before I caught bus No. 27 I had some lunch at an airy roadside restaurant with bamboo furnishings––chicken (with its head lolling over the edge of the bowl, unfortunately) with rice, and weak tea from a cedar goblet.