I am still in Hunan travelling to different tea gardens.
But first just a little thought on “Small cities” in China – you never see them! When you are on the road and you drive past what your guide calls a “small city” and then tells you that 4 million people live there – well that is not a small city to me!! I come from Antwerp which is the second largest city in Belgium and we have nowhere near that level of population. So to call these cities in China small to me is crazy – to me they are large and cities like Shanghai are huge! There is nothing in between; you have the country side and the cities.
Large roads and large avenues - no little streets! Yesterday we had to pass a few of these small cities and the problem of traffic jams was everywhere! But thankfully, once you are out of the city it is peaceful driving!
So, yesterday was a long day of driving. We had to go to the mountains and it takes time. The distances are so big that, if you do it by car, it takes one whole day to be where you want to be. But, it is a pleasure to get off the highway…not that the roads are in good shape (quite scary sometimes!) but you see a different world. The contrast between the mountains and the cities is extreme!
The luxury of Shanghai is far away when you are in the villages in the mountains. But people are warm and friendly and they love to offer help. I can’t help but think that these qualities have been lost on the way to success in places like Shanghai. I always have the impression that they have a peaceful happiness, no stress!
It’s the same if you go to a tea garden…it seems to me that they have a whole world of time… they make time to serve the tea by the rules, have a little talk (if possible!) and sit and drink tea.. it is a very simple but rich world!
I have almost the same feeling when I am there! Rush ,rush ,we have to be on time for this and that, and when I am sitting with my little cup of tea outside on a very simple table, all the stress is gone. Just happiness in a little cup of tea!
Is this maybe what we call “zen” in the west? That is just a normal Chinese way of living and I hope it will last forever…and also my cup of tea!
So as I write we have finaly arrived, finding a place to sleep it is too late for the visit on the tea gardens. So just time for some food and sleep, so I can be fresh tomorrow!