Still no real Internet connection so I can't post any pictures, but hope the words will get posted. Please comment to let me know if you have problem reading it.
Today is a very special day for me because I've finally come to one of my dream teas, Liu An Gua Pian! Gua Pian is a very unique green tea because it doesn't not use any buds or stems, but leaves only. It is probably second in size after Hou Kui amount green teas. Tea from this region used to be one of the most desired, ones that must be turned in to the emperors as a tribute under strict government logistics back in the dynasty days. But because of the "culture gap" due to warfares and political events in the past decades , and the over commercialized tea market in China now, this tea, is almost forgotten. I'm supposed to have drunk this tea many times before I came here, but I knew they are all not the real ones. All these only made me want to visit the region myself even more. I've been longing for the real Gua Pian!
I spent two days on the road to reach this area. Homeless again, but luckily got offered shelter by a girl who sells bus tickets. Many people were telling me that they hope to come with me on one of these tea trips some day. I would super love to show my fellow tea lovers around. But to be honest, many probably don't realize that this is not a vacation, but rather a very challenging journey. Because good teas are in the mountains. I often ride bumpy buses for more than 7 hours only to transfer at a local town to get deeper into the real tea producing region. And because of lack of information on the internet (usually nobody goes to these places), I often walk for quite some distance with two backpacks to ask for directions. Without the kind help from many locals, I'd probably died many times. Majority of the time I stay at the farmers' home. And yes, in most cases it's in deed in "terrible condition" that the West think of rural China. And the mosquitos! Don't think there's still even an inch of good skin on my body anymore!
Seems like I always have extraordinary luck meeting extraordinary people. While I was having tea at a tea makers, I met a retired professor who decided to leave the city life and now living on a boat in the village by himself. Everyone in town knows his story and all shake their head think he is crazy to not want to live in the city. Hehe, the locals asked if I went to college before they "dared" to introduce me to him, because they were worried we won't have common language. If this post works, I will try to catch up with stories from places I visited. So far, I've been to Wu Yi Mountain for cliff teas, South Shaolin to visit a monk who makes red tea, An Xi for Tie Guan Yin and Phoenix Mountain for Phoenix teas. Stay tuned and let me know what you want to hear!