Published: July 31st 2011July 27th 2011
Yesterday we went for a trip to Longjing to see the tea plantations, which are in South West Hangzhou. We got the number K27 bus from the north side of the lake, but you can also get the number 3, which takes you past the Tea Museum on Longjing road. (You need correct change for the buses which are usually 2 or 3 yuan - you just drop it into the slot by the driver as you board)
We weren't really sure how long the bus ride was meant to take, so we just stayed on until everyone piled off, which left us standing in a remote car park half way up a winding hill. Everyone then started walking up the hill so we just followed the rest of them. As we were doing so an old woman decided to befriend us and seemed to think that we knew what she was talking about (Tom has this uncanny way of responding as if he is actually understanding.) It turned out she wanted to take us to the famous Longjing Well, which was really lucky, because we probably would have missed it - it's much smaller than you'd imagine.
got there everyone was taking it in turns to use a bucket to fish the water up and wash their hands and faces. The old woman got us a bucket, so we joined in, getting a few minutes of release from the heat - the humidity is suffocating right now!
The village itself was pretty quiet. We walked all the way through and then decided to take pot luck with a tea shop , so ended up stopping for drinks at number 4. I'm pretty certain it wasn't actually a shop for drinking in, but when we asked for some glasses the woman running the shop quickly stopped what she was doing and brought out a collapsible table and a couple of chairs for us. She was in the middle of weighing out some tea and making what looked like a large deal with some other customers, so we made ourselves comfortable with our glasses. On the wall there was a picture of Queen Lizzy and Jiang Xemin in Longjing, and in the corner there seemed to be a chicken in a wicker cage, which every now and then would start squawking, though no one paid much attention.
- to the tea, which is supposed to be the content of this entry! Well It's going to take me a bit longer before I can comment on the quality of tea leaves, but it was certainly much better than the bags we have at home, though when the leaves insist on floating on the surface it makes it pretty difficult to drink without getting a mouthful - Tom reckons you slurp it through your teeth to filter them out, but I'm not so sure..
Anyway, the woman running the place was such a good saleswoman - when we got up to pay she said if we bought some of her tea she wouldn't charge us for the drinks. We ended up with two tins.
We then spent the walk back through the village reassuring each other that we hadn't been ripped off, because of course we were going to buy that much anyway....
There are more photos below