July 13th: Lincang
We had breakfast around the corner from our hotel before walking through a tea retail area where we learned how to evaluate puer tea cakes by looking at the consistency of the leaves. For lunch we had some overly fresh fish which wiggled when dropped into the hot bowl, even after being sliced. My stomach was getting strong by this point and the meal was delicious.
In the afternoon we picked up one of the servers from the the morning tea house and headed up to a park dedicated to the Yunnan ethnic minorities and their tea traditions. We saw a garden of transplanted 400-500yr old tea trees and explored this vast (and deserted) park including a hilltop graveyard, a tea pot courtyard, and expansive paths with beautiful views of the mountains and town of Lincang. The park officials even arranged for two girls to perform a traditional tea ceremony for us where they boiled the water with a small fire, roasted the tea leaves with bamboo paper and bowed as they offered us each a cup. The sang traditional songs which were quite unique to my ear.
One of the tea girls came with us to a fancy Thai style restaurant (which she suggested) and even sang us 2 songs on the bus home to thank us for taking her out! We went for a walk through the streets of Lincang, watching what seemed like the entire city out in the streets watching various acrobatic performances or simple tai chi like group dances.