Monday, January 26, 2009

Fujian Province

Yong Chun County, Fujian Province

My new obsession is drink tea. I have had drank more tea in the past one week than I have had in the past one year, I am feeling healthy and wake. The tea culture is phenomenal in Fujian province, everywhere I go, I am offered with a cup of finger-burning hot tea. During my trip in Xiamen, I have also learned how to make tea from the locals. There are a lot more steps of tea-making than open a package and dip dip, tea tastes much better without the bag.

While in Fujian Province, I made a special side trip north of Xiamen. After a three-hour bus ride, I arrived in Yong Chun Xian (a.k.a. Spring Forever County). It is a small town of 600,000 people, yes, it is small in China. My darling friend Lao Ying is originally from Yong Chun Xian and she invited me to stay with her for a day. In the morning, we climbed up to one of the highest peaks nearby and visited a monk-less temple, which has been taken care of by an old man. The old man of course had to stop me for a cup of tea - Iron Guanyin - a popular Wulong tea named after a Buddha, very light and a bit tart, best drink with some dried orange, which I have gotten the whole case from Lao Ying’s mother for a gift. Yummy!

The temple on the mountain is fantastic, the magnificent location, absolutely peaceful. Out of respect, I did not take too much photos of inside the temple, but even when I was trying to shoot some images in the dinning hall outside, temple keepers were getting a bit frustrated, they said they must clean up the whole temple before allowing me to photograph inside. They then offered me the best home grow mandarin oranges I have ever had, the local sweetness. Just imagine eating a Buddha blessed orange on the misty mountain balcony with the morning breeze. It was heavenly !
The Dish.

In this trip to Fujian Province, I have made two very special friends. Lao Ying and Tang Nannan, who I have met both during the Pingyao International Photography Festival, I was not able to chat with them much at the time, but in this trip, I had lunch and dinner with them almost everyday. They both had brought me to the most authentic places in Fujian, which I would not ever find it on my own. Lao Ying is a very young photographer who just graduated from Xiamen University, she is working as a freelance photographer and also working on her own projects including some very cute photo collages. Before I leave Xiamen, they brought me to a street front restaurant; we had this must-have The Dish where seafood cooked in a pan of red oil and mysteries. If you two are reading, I really appreciated your kindness.

PS: Sorry for the image quality, all taken with iPhone.