After lunch, we were shuttled to Mingwei Tea Factory to witness the Shouting Ceremony and visit Mingwei Tea Fields, Museum and Tea Factory. You can watch the videos, but understand I am definitely not a professional videographer and these are just snippets of the ceremony. They closed the roads so our motorcade of shuttles could drive without stopping. We had so many pictures taken of us, interviews for tv & newspapers, and they even offered to peel oranges for us. After the ceremony, we were shuttled to the Mingwei Tea factory and Museum.
When we got back we had a huge dinner. There was a vegetarian table where I was sitting with a few people from Nepal, Sri Lanka, and a lady from Germany about 7 people in total. It was nice because whenever there was a vegetarian table Tuba the lady from Germany and I would look for each other to make sure we were sitting at the correct table.
We were shuttled to the Specialty Tea Exhibition in Yibin for the Opening Ceremony for the 3rd Annual International Tea Conference. This is the start ok, well March 17th night was more like the start of the business side of the conference. The opening ceremony was a grand occasion, the Chinese really wanted to impress the international tea community and to hand out awards.
The featured picture is the USA tea people cheering each other. It was great to feel the warmth of my community. We were at the Specialty Tea Exhibition. This happened in the morning because in the afternoon we went to visit the first tea farm of our trip.
I will continue with the trip and the second half of March 18, 2019, next week 🙂
After a good night’s rest on March 17, 2019, woke up and ate a lovely breakfast. After breakfast, we were shuttled to a Tea Tasting Ceremony at the Yangtze River Park in Yibin near the site where two rivers form the Yangtze River.
It was a little drizzly so we got ponchos, but I did not wear one. Since I was one of the VIP’s we got nice close seating to the festivities. There were dance numbers, different stories and myths, water transported by a drone to tea tasting ceremony, and a grand spectacle.
Afterward, I was given a formal invite to speak with tea gardens to sell their tea from China and abroad. This is where I met some Nepali people (fellow vegetarians so I followed them through the buffet) they had a person tell them what was vegetarian and what was not.
Walking to Yangtze River Park for the Tea Tasting Ceremony.
Tasting some tea from the local vendors before the ceremony
There also were a few dance numbers. Below is a picture of the drone carrying water from the Yangtze River to be used in the tea ceremony shown in the second to last picture. The last picture is me and my tea. It was refilled with water several times.
We were given the 5 star treatment by the Chinese government. They used a couple shuttle buses to transport us from the airport to the hotel. Our flight was a popular flight for the World Tea Conference with even the head lady responsible for mine and many other tea leaders trip just two seats back of me. We got to the hotel and had many students trying to help us with our check in, luggage, and room. They were really nice, but I felt a little overwhelm (3 days with only four hours sleep, same clothes for those 3 days, and dealing with a time difference of 13 hours). We each had a personal helper, mine was Micheal. They were students learning English and volunteering helped them with that. We went to our rooms and went down to eat right afterwards because it was late and they wanted to make sure we had supper. So I went down still stinky and a little out of sorts and grab some food. The food was amazing and buffet style (not typical buffet though). I was still out of sorts and had a nice gentleman who could tell I was out of sorts let me sit at his table with his fellow representatives of Bangladesh. They were really kind. Afterwards I went straight to my room to take a bath (see last picture of bathtub). Tried and succeeded in staying up until 9 pm before going to sleep. I wanted to be on Chinese time. Next post continues my journey.
The featured picture is a close up of a really cool bridge across the Yangtze River in Yibin, Sichuan, China.