Eighteen North American TEA Delegates traveled to China in 2007 with Joe Simrany, our then, president of the Tea Association of America for the trip of a life time!
In putting together slide-show presentations of my tea trips for my San Diego Senior Sippers, I found myself getting lost in the memories of that trip — but I’d forgotten critical details.
A tightly-knit group got even closer in the twelve days we traveled merely a few of the provinces in the vastness of China. Grateful to a group who referred to themselves as the, “Reliance,” for they took particularly good care of us.
We were given red-carpet treatment everywhere we went. Would you like to hear about where we went? I’d be thrilled to tell you now that my traveling partner, Danielle Beaudette of The Cozy Tea Cart, still had our original itinerary. (Side note — blessings to the “keepers” — there really does come a day when you need something you’ve been “keeping” for years!)
Upon retrieving the ‘critical details,’ I seem to be in an even greater sense of awe. Once again, strangers in a strange land welcome you because of your love for tea. How ‘awe’some is that?
We started with all of us arriving at late hours in Shanghai; west coasters and east coasters meeting up in the lovely Central Hotel Shanghai followed the next day by meetings, visits to the tea markets and tea houses in Shanghai. A welcome lunch reception, afternoon visits to the Chenghuang Temple, followed by shopping. It was a short stay in Shanghai and then we were off to Changsha and very well taken of by tea companies in the Hunan province.
Meetings, a welcome reception and visits to tea factories in Changsha. The next morning was the opening ceremony of the Changsha Convention and Tea Expo exhibit hall. We stayed at the spectacular Mingcheng International Hotel — it felt like we were in Las Vegas! It’s what happened next that affected me the most on the entire trip. It was our exploration of The Yellow Mountain — Mont Huangshan Chine. Something stirred my soul as we climbed stair after stair. I have included a YouTube link to a impressive video of Yellow Mountain. Pour yourself a cup of tea and sit in wonder of this majestic mountain for 13 minutes.
Anhui was a glorious tea-growing province as we visited more tea plantations, tea factories and visited with tea company owners. You know we certainly had a great deal of fun together as we endeavored on each new expedition.
These were the cities we visited: Shanghai, Changsha, Hangzhou, Huangsha, and Beijing. These are the tea companies that took excellent care of us in their country: SHANGHAI TIANTAN CO., ZHEJIANG XINZHOU CO., HUNAN TEA ASSOCIATION, HUNAN TEA CO., HUNAN PROVINCIAL SANNY IMPORT & EXPORT CORP., HUNAN DENGKAI TEA CO., ANHUI TEA CO., GENGXIANG TEA CO., CHINA TEA CO., & ZHEJIANG BAONA TEA CO.
It seemed time and time again — we were ‘big news’ wherever we went!
My thanks to the great group we were on this trip: Joe & Carol Simrany, Bill Waddington, Chris Draper, Liz Atteberry, Mike De La Cruz, Marty Kushner, Richard Kushner, Brad Wilson, Danielle Beaudette, Kromeklia Bryant, Mim Enck, Cynthia Gold, Julian Landa, Mohammed Hanif, Judy Larkin, Hoda Paripoush & myself.
Indeed a tea trip to long remember. My thanks to Joe Simrany who made the trip such a joy. We miss you!