July 17th: Xiaguantoucha
After an early buffet breakfast we picked up the Da Li museum curator and drove into the mountains towards a Buddhist temple which we then hiked up to. The head monk graciously served us tea which was processed on the premises and steeped with water from the nearby mountain streams. We spent some time exploring the grounds of the temple, wandering through the dense forest with Da Li city far below.
Back on the bus we drove along the waterfront on our way to the famous Xiaguantoucha tea company. We were given a rare tour of their museum and shown aged puer cakes worth over $10k each! Xiaguantoucha produces 70k tons of Puer a year, with only 3k of this being exported. We were told the largest portion of these exported puer cakes are sold to French pharmacies where they are believed to reduce high blood pressure.
In the evening we walked along the bustling streets of Da Li and found a restaurant down a side alley where we surprisingly ran into three visiting Canadians and enjoyed a delicious meal. After dinner we had a few drinks along a festive street with tables lining a rushing stream.