Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

Homecoming – Hangzhou – Part 8

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This time our bullet train ride was from Shanghai to Hangzhou.  It was longer than our first time when we went to Suzhou, this time around being 1-1/2 hour one way. 

The weather was rainy and dreary all day.  Who could’ve known that it would become one of our nicest days in China?

We were met at the Hangzhou train station by our tour guide, Pudding.  Yes, that really was her name.  I checked twice, including the spelling.  She said that when it was time to choose an english name, she chose Pudding because it sounded nice.

Pudding was quite memorable, if not just for her name alone.

We went to the tea villages that Hangzhou was renowned for.  And it just wouldn’t be me, if I actually remembered the name of the tea village.  No, that would be too easy!

Then it started raining again.  The tea village and fields were owned by a famous person whose name I didn’t write down in my journal; thus, I have absolutely no recollection.  I just know he was the top tea farmer whose tea was highly prized.

Now how often do you see something like this?  Mine’s on back order as we speak.  Just so you know.

May I live here?

All the green tea you can possibly drink.

What are they looking at, you ask?  Glad you did.

Why, tea roasting, of course!  Isn’t it obvious?

Pudding said that hand-roasting the tender, fragile green tea leaves was a delicate process that took all day.  To show our fondest appreciation for all that hard work, we took home cartons of these lovelies.  The green tea is in the round canister while the chrysanthemum tea is housed in the square package.  (Don’t mind my rice cooker and coffee maker in the background.)

Remember when in Xi’an, Zen Mum and I developed a cough towards the end of our stay there?  Well, at this point it was body-wracking and becoming quite painful.  Zen Master, out of the three of us, was the only one unaffected, and he asked Pudding if there was a drug store we could go to to get medicine. 

And God bless her, she took us to a wonderful pharmacy that sold us wonderful drugs.

After lunch, we went to the West Lake to putter around it in the drizzling rain.  This riverboat was similar to the one we rode.

 We had a blast!

We arrived back into Shanghai at 6:00 PM that night.  I don’t know what it was about Hangzhou that made it so great.  Maybe it was Pudding and her eagerness about her city.  Maybe the smell of freshness in the lingering rain.  Or maybe it was the non-rush of pace in this city that made it memorable. 

It was a lovely city.

And it was a lovely way to end our vacation in China, because we were due to leave the country the next day.

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