July 11th: Jinggu
Woke up in the secluded mountain town of Jinggu (map) and drove to the local Cha Ma Chi factory where we watched the pressing of tea cakes and bricks of all types. We also helped with the pressing of a 50 kilo “Golden Melon” for a wedding. This factory uses tea leaves from organic 500yr old tea trees grown in the surrounded mountains instead of pruned tea bushes which are sprayed with pesticides to ward off bugs.
In the afternoon there was a large banner reading “Chinese American Friendship Game” and a scoreboard was setup along the basketball court. Austin, Glenn, David, Andy and me took on the factory team in a friendly game which we managed to win 27-18. We were each rewarded with a large kilo puer cake and enjoyed a beer on the court afterward with the factory players. We then unwrapped the Golden Melon which was still quite warm and came out nicely.
At dinner the bijou was flowing along with Glenn’s mango juice concoction and we took a few cars to enjoy Saturday night in Jinggu. The downtown area was alive with activity and we had a great time at a disco (dance club) where our table was right next to the bouncing dance floor. We have yet to see another non-Chinese person outside of our tour group and our white faces got quite a bit of attention from the locals who wanted to say “cheers” with us and drink a beer together. After returning from the disco in a cab Christine and I decided to take a short walk near the hotel where we saw a slowly moving scooter crash right into the curb behind us in a baffling manner. He got up in a few minutes and gingerly went on his way.