thanks for the tea!

This weekend was such a great weekend. I did soooo much!

Friday we went to Shanghai to visit a company, Bellinger, a trip that one of the Belgian students set up. We were only there for a few hours though and then we spent the rest of the day in Shanghai together. We went to a fake market which was quite an experience. So much stuff and people everywhere trying to get you to go into their shop. I bought a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses for 35 RMB, but I’ve already lost one of the Ray Ban labels on the side. I got a watch too because it was really cute, but let’s just say it ticks to its own drum… I’m going to turn the face into a button on a new bag I’m going to make though so it isn’t a total loss. Some people have good luck at the fakes market but not I apparently. After the market we wandered around People’s Square, went to a museum on the infrastructure developments of Shangahi, and then met up with the rest of the group (we had slowly separated throughout the day). We had an hour or so to kill before catching the train back to Hangzhou so we went up to the top of the Radisson building. It has a flying saucer looking penthouse with a bar, so we went and got a drink and watched the sun set over the city. It was a really cool experience. Then we took the train home.

Saturday was Barclay’s rugby match, which was fun to watch and drink at the sidelines. Rugby is such a tough sport! That evening we went to a cookout party with both teams and had burgers and potato salad. Ahh western food.

Sunday I went to lunch at a new Chinese friend’s house. She came to Lu’s evening language class to help teach us. She is an investment banker and a classmate of Lu’s. She invited us to go on a picnic to a park with her on Sunday, and myself Brian and Chun Li went to visit. We arrived around 11:00 and her mom fed us a huge homecooked meal. The food was delicious and there was so much! It started with fruit and nuts and tea while the meal finished. Then we had vegetable dishes, fish (like a whole fish), meat, nuts, gosh probably at least 10 different dishes. After lunch we went walking in the ecology park. It was really sad because they are building all these private houses in the park for investment so the whole thing is torn up and a construction sight. Holly, the girl, was so surprised because it was not like that at all when she was there before. She was really sad, rightly so because what was left was really pretty.

Monday was the best of all though I think. It was a special honoring the dead holiday here so we didn’t have class. Adam and I went to the hills in the south of the city to go hiking because it was such nice weather, 70 and sunny. It would have been a nice day anyway but it became an epic wonderful day because without realizing it we went to the tea fields where they grow the special Hangzhou green tea and dragon well tea that they are famous for. The plants are all in bloom and it is harvesting season. There were little asian ladies with the stereotypical straw hats all over the fields picking. And fields is a loose term, they just plant tea bushes everywhere they can, on the sides of hills, super steep, and among trees, everywhere. It is beautiful!! At the top of the mountain is the village where the tea pickers live and take the tea. They dry it right there and people serve you tea from their houses and try to get you to buy their specific strains of tea from their fields. We met the cutest little lady who calls herself Auntie and proudly showed us pictures of Chairman Mao visiting HER house for tea. She was born and raised in the village and owns tea plants on a hill. They sell 150 kilograms of tea a year!

The whole day was just so peaceful and relaxing and such total immersion. Like THIS is what you think of when you think of china, not smelly streets, dirty clothes, angry cabbies, or any of that stuff that sticks around cities. And it is only a 20 minute cab ride away! Amazing how different the two experiences are!

Definitely one of my best experiences, and it makes me so glad we went out and adventured instead of studying for the economics test we had today. I didn’t do the best I could have but I got this amazing experience in exchange. I can relearn managerial economics any day…right?

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