Floating Leaves Tea Home ---Shiuwen's Blog!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Picking Tea in the XiLi area of Yunnan

After we had a delicious lunch prepared by Naxi tribal people, Mr. Wang took us to his tea factory. We picked up some hats and tea baskets and headed out to a tea field to pick tea. Brian, one of our trip members, and I rode with a farmer and a tea factory assistant. I tried to ask the farmer several questions before I realized he didn’t speak Mandarin Chinese! The assistant could speak some Mandarin Chinese and helped with translation. It was so interesting to hear them speak their tribal language.

70 year old tea tree

When we reached a small tea hill, the farmer started to drive backwards up the hill. I wondered if we would have any way to turn around later. He suddenly stopped the car and repeatedly said something I didn’t really understand. Somehow after hearing it three times, I knew he was trying to tell us to hold on tight! Without thinking I told Brian to hold on. We didn’t know what would happen next, but he suddenly stepped on the gas really hard and took a sharp turn. We went quickly up the steep, dirt road on the side of the hill. I screamed! It took about 5 seconds to situate myself as I looked around. I held tight and became more relaxed as I realized the farmer had probably driven up this road many times. He is good at it and he knows what he is doing. I told myself everything is going to be just fine.

After we got out of the car, everything was worth it. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful place with great people. Mr. Wang and the farmer showed us what to pick and we were ready to work. It was a wonderful experience of East meets West. The locals were very open to show us their culture and we were very grateful and eager to take in this new experience.

We had fun being in the tea fields picking tea. We gathered the leaves we picked and headed back to the factory. My next post will be about the “Stir Green” phase of tea production.

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