Just wondering today if I had photographed another farm in a faraway land…and I remembered that October day (2008) when my friend Louise and I hiked a tea plantation in east China. So, how did this plan develop for the unlikely pair? We are one Canadian and one American, neighbors in Pennsylvania (USA), English speakers and pretty good French speakers, but not Mandarin Chinese speakers. Louise and I flew to Shanghai to visit my daughter Caitlin, who was working there for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Both Louise and I love to travel, and I visited Louise when she lived in Paris (2004). Like me, Louise is an intrepid traveler and was experienced traveling in Asia (since she once lived in Taiwan and Indonesia). So, we took the high speed train out of Shanghai for an overnight trip to Hangzhou during the week. We had reserved a room at the Sofitel and had plans to follow Caitlin’s tips on what to do in Hangzhou. (Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province in the Yangtze river delta, is 110 miles SW of Shanghai and home to 21 million people. It is famous for its scenic West Lake and pagoda.)
Caitlin had recently visited two of her American friends in Hangzhou (all three speak Mandarin fluently), and they had enjoyed hiking through the tea plantations in Longjing — a rural area about 30 minutes by taxi out of Hangzhou. The concierge at the Sofitel was able to explain to the taxi driver to please drop us off at a tea plantation, and wait for us, and bring us back to the hotel a few hours later. So, without a common language between us and the cab driver, off we went to hike and photograph the tea plantations. Upon arrival, we were impressed with mountainsides lined with rows of tea bushes.
So we walked the paths up one mountain and then the next, looking for different vistas and tea workers. Here is a photo of Louise along the path.
Of course, all we could do was wave and smile when we encountered a person. Fortunately, the farmers didn’t seem to mind.
The vistas, the shapes found in the fields and the simplicity of the rural scene were beautiful. It was a good location for some candid photography.
Next week, I will post a few more photographs from the tea plantations including one of Louise and myself sitting down to taste the Longjing tea where a nice lady invited us (with sign language), apparently hoping we would buy some to take home.