I’ve been back for over a week and still not fully unpacked. Maybe not fully here. I feel as though I’m floating somewhere mid-Pacific. There are so many stories to tell, photos to share and teas to taste that it feels a bit overwhelming.
The purpose of my trip was to spend time with our youngest son Malcolm who is teaching English in Korea. He was generous to spend his August vacation accompanying me to Korean tea regions, acting as my translator and guide. He didn’t know much about tea when we started out, but became quite adept at tasting after 2 weeks. We crossed the East China Sea to Fujian province with a side trip to Hong Kong before returning to his home in Incheon. After that I ventured out on my own to Hangzhou in Zhejiang province.
Normally tea tourists visit countries of origin in April when the tea is being plucked and produced. While of course, that would have been ideal, there were some advantages to visiting in August while the fields were at rest. Growers were able to give us many hours. They showed us their factories, some small, some large. They had time to share tea with us, eat with us and tell us stories about their tea’s history.
My trip was brilliant, colourful and inspiring. I crammed far too much into 25 days. I took 10 flights, a few of those connecting, but that is still too much time spent in airports, going through security and immigration more times than I remember. It seems a bit like a dream but as I work on my photos, vivid moments come forward. Moments with Kim Jong Yeol, Cho Yun Seok, Joshua Kim, Chris West, Mr. Lao Fu, Mrs. Li, Danielle Hochstetter and of course Malcolm and Jaehyun.
I’ll land my mind back on terra firma soon and there will be many posts and pictures to come, but for now I am enjoying that ‘not quite here’ sensation of drifting back from half way round the world.