First off, I must apologize for my 2 week WordPress hiatus. I hoped I’d never go so long between posts, but between trips to northern Guizhou with the school and terrible flues and colds, I haven’t had much time to sit in front of a computer. But it would appear that I’m back into the swing of things today! We have all but finished cleaning our (terrifying) kitchen, and our Christmas tree is up and glowing 🙂 We even made time to visit Grandma’s kitchen today, where we enjoyed some fantastic western food. It’s been a good weekend 🙂
So I suppose I’ll start this post on the more positive topic: our trip to Meitan, Guizhou province. Meitan itself is a tiny town that is famous for its red tea production. After spending a year in Xiamen, where Oolong and Green tea are most popular, I was eager to learn about the red tea of Guizhou province.
We made several stops in the area, viewing gigantic tea pots and statues built to honor the tea making traditions of Guizhou province. We were especially happy to get out of the school bus that transported us 4 hours north of Guiyang. Although the bus meant a free trip to the hot springs, it is designed to transport 8 year olds and even the shortest of us (myself included) couldn’t sit with our knees facing forward. It was a bit of an uncomfortable ride!!
Our bus driver must have been a tour guide in another life-time, because he knew all the best places to stop. After having some lunch in downtown Meitan, we headed for the tea fields, which I hadn’t seen since my time in Fujian.
This was a natural point for us to stop and try some of Guizhou’s finest tea. Manny, the recruitment guy for all 3 Interlingua Branches, knows how much I love tea, so he made sure to let me know we’d be doing it all traditional style. I was pretty excited, not only because I love tea, but also because a lot of the Mandarin I know is useful in a tea shop. I spent a lot of time in them in Xiamen, and being in them now always makes me feel so fluent! I don’t think anyone there noticed that I knew what she was saying (other than the poor saps who were stuck sitting beside me, listening to me yammer excitedly…Sorry Dave and Lexie!).
After making some purchases at the tea shop, we head out to our hotel, which was located quite remotely, but was clean and quite nice. It even had indoor heating, which didn’t work in everyone’s rooms, but still! It worked in some!!!
After the all you can eat buffet (where Ouyang had us try some fermented tofu…which tasted like you might think rotten tofu should taste…), we got into our bathing suits and headed down to the lobby for the main reason for this trip: Hot Springs!!! Unfortunately I couldn’t get many pictures because the steam didn’t allow for much, but I did get a few of the entertainment. Not only were there girls waving their arms (aka:dancers) to watch, but there was even a male performer who came up and serenaded unwilling females. And of course, he came over and welcomed the lao wai to the hotel!
Things were going well for the Interlingua clan at this point. We were all relaxed and enjoying the steamy baths. It felt good to unwind in the ‘wine pool’ (that smelled like sulfur and alcohol) and the ‘rose pool’ (which sounded like sulfur and flowers). But then David’s stomach started to go south…(not my David…Brittish David). By the following morning, 3 of the crew had been throwing up (including MY David) and several more of us felt under the weather. It was a long 6 hour bus ride back to Guiyang, including the hour we stopped for lunch (when Huang took the opportunity to have Ouyang find stomach meds for her ailing teachers). Of course, Chinese medicine is a tad different from ours. Dave was told to quickly drink this little vile of liquid and that it would help his nausea.
Several days later, Dave was feeling better, but then of course my time came to be sick. After a trip to the doctor to get a sick note (my first sick day in nearly 3 years…) and a trip to the pharmacy to get something to help with the vomiting, I came home and realized that I had no idea what I was even ingesting. My best guess is that one of them was ground up ginger. Other than that, all I knew was what Naveed though to ask (how many does she take?). I’ve gotta say that I’m extremely glad he was with me, because I never would have thought to ask myself!! haha!!
Being sick sucks…but being sick in another country is a completely different experience. My hope is that I don’t have to deal with anything as awful as that flu again while I live in the Orient, but in case I do, I’m sure glad my mom already has Gravol on the way!! You never know what you’re going to miss from back home until you have it!!!!
And that sums up my last week!! Nothing particularly exhilarating but they were experiences I won’t be soon forgetting nonetheless.
Thanks for checking in! I’ll be back with a post about what it’s like living in a Chinese apartment soon! (A request from my nephew 🙂 Super pumped to know people are interested in even the mundane stuff here!)