This weekend I did a few of my favorite things. Two of them have been long-time favorites: hiking and shopping. But another is quickly becoming a new favorite since I’ve been in Chengdu, drinking tea!

I’ve never been a coffee person, but over the past year or so I have started to enjoy a cup of tea in the mornings and a cup of sleepy-time tea in the evenings. China has opened up a whole new world of tea experiences for me, starting with my trip to Wenshu Monastery (see Work Hard, Play Hard) a couple of weeks ago.

I spotted this art after finishing up at a teahouse nearby. So cool!

On Friday, our clients took us out to a teahouse in Chengdu. They brought lots of local fruits and snacks for us to enjoy, and we got to drink 3 types of teas. China is so creative with the flavors and appearance of the teas they serve. Our first tea was a ‘red tea’ and it was strong and a little bitter, but still delicious. We then moved on to a ‘dessert tea’. Our client explained that you start with the bitter tea, so you can appreciate the flavors in the second tea more. It was SO GOOD.

The tea had pieces of apple, lemon, and I think maybe even pineapple in it. It was pretty and tasty.

The last tea we had was a mint tea, so it worked kind of like a palette cleanser for me. In my opinion, it was the prettiest because it had so many flowers in it!

So…who wants to open a teahouse with me in the US?!

After the teahouse our client took us to dinner where we got to try local Sichuan snacks like jelly soup and baijiu, a Chinese liquor. One sip of baijiu was enough for me 🙂

Compared to all the spicy foods in Chengdu, this jelly soup was a welcomed change.

On Saturday, I planned a trip out of the city with a couple of my teammates. First we went to Mount Qingcheng. This is a Taoist Mountain and it was featured in Kung Fu Panda!

Definitely need to watch Kung Fu Panda on Netflix when I get home!

We took different modes of transportation on our trip up the mountain: a sightseeing bus, a boat across the lake, and then a cable car – with hiking up lots of stairs in between all of these!

We took this boat across the lake

We enjoyed lots of temples and sites on the way up, but unfortunately it was very foggy when we reached the top so we didn’t have a very nice view. But it’s the journey that matters, not the destination, right? Something like that…

Our next stop was the Dujiangyan irrigation system. It still helps with flooding and providing water to many cities in the area. What’s crazy is that this was built over 2,000 years ago and it is still functioning today! It is the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world. There were suspension bridges to cross and temples to explore. We climbed to an observation tower to look at the view of the whole system, and then made our way back to Chengdu.

View from the top

On Sunday I went shopping for some souvenirs. My favorite thing that I bought was a tea set! Now I’m just concerned about fitting everything in my bag.

I wish I could bring all of these tea cups home!

By the way, if you are ever in Chengdu (or anywhere in China), I highly recommend using West China Go. They have been really great to work with, and I have something pretty exciting planned for next weekend…!

 

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