Skies of China

Took a trip out to China. No, it wasn’t too adventurous. It’s a guided tour so we were always on the go. 

Beijing had no clouds, so the temple of heaven… Here you go. 

Moat near the Forbidden city. 

Skies around the Great Wall in Badaling.

I think I liked West Lake and the Tea plantations most.

But I was obsessed with the bridge in Huangshan. At night, the waters are so still and glassy, turning the bridge into something surreal. 

I kept taking many pictures!

I have more to share.

China is a big country and we somehow visited 6 cities. All in a 15 day tour. In the middle of winter. 

In truth, I would visit again during this time. One, we didn’t have to contend with smog. Two, no mosquitoes on the river allowing us to open the balcony door quite wide. Three, the crowds were few and far in between.  
But I do warn that the pearl factory, jade factory, silk factory, and even the tea plantations…. Don’t get taken in by the hype of the infomercials. Our tour guides were pretty nice. They tried to warn us, we just didn’t have enough information to go by that the warnings were sort of like information that got lost in the translation. 

We, Geo and I, bought tea for the story. But in reality we could have had the same tea for less. It is Long Jing Green Tea. The best green tea China has. However, we paid $100 for ours. It wasn’t what they said it was. This was supposedly the Imperial Dragon Well tea. The highly in demand spring tea. The ones picked by virgins only during March, April and May. Only around the area of Hangzhou (West Lake). In the particular village we were in… Mei Jia Wu village. Huh. 

I liked the taste of the tea. It’s clean and bright. Rather like genmacha. 

So I would have been okay with the $50 can. 

But that would have still been too much for it. Because we were there in November. And from what I was reading AFTER the trip, the spring Dragon Well tea was probably all sold out BEFORE it was even harvested. And fetches prices well over the $100 for a small portion. And if you consider how small the region of tea plantations near West Lake, plus factor in the bus loads that go through these plantations… (I counted maybe 20 while we were there)… Then you will understand why we were …well… Scammed… That’s the only word I can say. Buyer beware in China. You should know what you are buying. 

The trip was through Sinorama tours based out of Canada. 

Get a visa for mainland China! Security there is no joke! Your passport becomes your local ID! And its important that you have a valid Visa. 

And when going in winter, bring a mask for the face. Not only for the possible dust and pollution, buy to keep you nose and cheeks warm. Brought mine for the pollution and smog… It ended up being a sensation among our group. 

Bought this online fromChina. I thought I would see more of them being hawked. Nope. 

Ah, well. Maybe in a different city. 

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Yard long beans

My brother and his wife gave me a bundle of yard long beans from his garden. And, of course, that’s dinner tonight.

Cut the yard long beans or if there are no yard long beans, green beans will do as well. About the length of a finger is good. Remove the tips and the ends. Slice onions and garlic. Heat up oil in a pan on high heat. Throw in the onions and garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Then throw in the washed beans. Stir fry for about five minutes until beans are tender. Splash a dash of soy sauce and stir fry one more minute. Add a gauging pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir fry for another minute. Serve with rice!

Useful Things

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Useful things

Darkness – for too much light
Brings harsh reality into sight
Candlelight to cut the dark
Create shadows, buy a spark
A glass to contain the heat
The cold to delete
Flowers for their beauty
Enhancing with their simplicity
Liquid effervescence
From fruit grown cold
That I may forget the presence
Of these things untold…

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