Monday, April 28, 2008

Tunxi Ink and Tea

It was so nice to sleep in on Sunday morning after spending all day on Yellow Mountain!  We couldn't sleep too late, however because there was apparently construction on the floor above us which started at 8am.  At least we were afforded an early enough start to be on the street by 9!

Our first stop was the Old Town to get something to eat.  We spied this pork shank drying in the morning sun.  Not what we had in mind!  Here's Jack also looking a bit out of place with his blond hair in this foreign scene!

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This woman was selling vegetables from her cart.  A nice selection, but a bit inconvenient for the 7 of us.Yellow Mountain 057

Jack, again, being a good sport as not one, but 3 separate girls asked for their pictures with him!
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Yellow Mountain 065After breakfast, we went to the Tunxi Ink Factory - a famous place for buying ink products, ink stones and other art supplies.  We were told not to buy ink stones in the tourist old town areas because they might not really be stone, or they might be too porous and absorb the ink too quickly.  Sue spent about $100 US for an ink stone that she was very happy with! 

The man below is in the process of making black ink.  It takes 12 ingredients, and each ingredient by itself is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, so theoretically it is non-toxic :). 
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Meanwhile, I was outside watching the kids, when a photography/art tour came by.  One of the photographers used the great ploy of giving candy to Sophie so she would stand their and pose for him and the rest of their entourage.
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Here they are, all snapping away at the kids...
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... and here are the kids posing for them!
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The photography group moved on, but Sophie was still standing there, wondering if she could get another chocolate just for being cute!
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After the ink is dried, it is formed into blocks, and this woman is lettering the ink stick with gold paint.
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The finished ink sticks, ready for shipment!
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Next, it was off to the tea store.  Anhui province is very famous in China for several different types of tea (Green teas and Black teas) so we went to a tea store for a tasting.  Here are Anita and Rebecca helping out with Sophie.
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Some interesting shutters on this old building...
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... and here we are at the tea store having a tasting.  We asked the taxi driver to wait, so he came in and tasted with us!  A down-home affair!
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Anita and I, waiting to be served our next round of tea.
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In all, we tried 2 different green teas, which cost about 1280 yuan per 1/2 kilo, or about $180 US per pound! We also tried some delicious black tea (they call it RED tea here).  I was surprised that the boys REALLY got into tasting the various types of teas!
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Jack, trying some delicious chrysanthemum tea.  His favorite!
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We tried 2 different types of chrysanthemum teas, yellow and white.  We preferred the yellow chrysanthemum teas.  We bought some of each to take home.  It was wonderful to have them all explained to us and to sample each one!
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Finally, we hopped on the bus for the 3 hour trip back to Hangzhou very satisfied with our Yellow Mountain trip.  If you haven't seen the Yellow Mountain pictures yet... keep reading!

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