We get onto a motorcycle because we are going to be attending the famous Da hong Pao show! I have literally no clue (like always) what to expect, but once there I find out there’s about 4999 other people going to it.
They’re all Chinese though. They mostly seem like calm, nice and modest people, but put together in groups like this it’s one big chaos. And it’s so busy. I get a ticket with my row and seat number on it in Chinese. I go alone, and am expected to find it by myself. I step into the crowd of screaming Chinese people and somehow, miraculously, manage to find my seat. The massive grandstand starts rotating as soon as the actors come on stage. Haha! Everybody is really impressed. It isn’t that hard to impress people here though. Every small detail makes them go ‘ohhhh’ or ‘ahhhh’. Haha. Its all in tune and synchronised too. Oh, and they film everything. Nothing is to be seen ‘live’, everything must be seen through the lens of a camera. This causes them all to stand up, to be able to see more. The thing is, they don’t realise that there’s no point in standing up together; you might as well stay seated. Impressive. Really impressive. Even though people look at me like I’m the weird one, I feel quite normal, maybe even intelligent, here. The show was about traditions, and the new generation in terms of gong fu cha (traditional way of setting tea). It was eye and mouth opening. No, seriously, I sat there open-mouthed all throughout. The new generation, we were told, is so busy with their phones and work, and they’re always in a hurry. Same goes for in the Netherlands. Gong Fu Cha takes ages compared to putting some Oolong in your thermos bottle and drinking it the way to your destination. The goal of the show was to explain that it’s okay to be in a hurry but tea requires care when being made. It left the audience with a good impression. At the end of the show, everyone chanted “Da hong Pao!” and I felt amazing.
My guide collects me after this special experience. After a near-death experience we arrive at the factory of the guide’s family. It’s amazing how they drive here. Particularly because they can’t. Yet somehow it works. However, it’s much more fun when looking at it from inside a car instead of on a motorcycle.
permanent food festival
In the late evening, a client places an order for tea. The tea hasn’t been sorted which means we will all have to get down and dirty! It’s astounding how much energy and work it takes to sort it out. It is nice though, sitting around a big bowl made of bamboo, which contains the tea. It did cost me a lot of focus to sort, all while the other people were chatting away to each other. It’s so delightful, all these people are working together for tea. After work, I’m hungry again! Noodles and soup, apparently, will not do the job. I keep getting hungry, even though I’m eating liters of noodles.. It must be because there’s zero to no calories in these things. So off I go, and find myself in a permanent kinda street food festival. The food here is so good, and the most amazing this is that one euro can open doors to the most delicate, incredible tastes. Freshly made, with care, on a disgusting worktop, yet wonderfully delicious. I love it.
This blog is about No.022 - Da Hong Pao