Notes Too Frank

A Journey of Personal Development


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Post #2 - Waiting and Wishing

nostalgia - n. a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past

Dear Reader,

Tonight I'm laying up in my hammock, waiting for the "mysterious meteor shower" as Yahoo! News puts it, but the peak isn't predicted to occur until 3 or 4 am... So for now my La Siesta Hammock rocks back and forth, tic-toc-tic-toc, counting down the seconds until I can admire the slow-burning rocks flying through my clear skies.

Waiting for this meteor shower brings back old memories; memories of my two brothers and I sitting around a small fire in the backyard, roasting marshmallows on sticks and coat hangers as our heads craned back to watch for meteors - or falling stars as we called them back then. We'd wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait some more. We'd roast marshmallows to pass the time, and make smores (if we could find chocolate and graham crackers - for some reason there were always marshmallows present). Sometimes we'd just light the marshmallows on fire and fling them across the yard to make our own meteors.

Da Hong Pao: An $80 Pot of Tea

On Tynan

I had only the roughest of plans coming to China-- hang out in Shanghai, make it to Hua Shan, and drink some good tea. With a couple weeks of Shanghai loafing and a trip to Hua Shan under my belt, only tea was left on my checklist.

China has very high quality famous teas in several categories, many of which were invented here, but the two that I like the most are Puerh and Oolong. I was originally thinking that I'd head down to Yunnan province, where the best Puerh in the world is made, but with my days in China running short, a forty-one hour train trip seemed like a bit of a waste. The Wuyi mountains, on the other hand, are a convenient nine hour overnight train ride from Shanghai. Carl and I decided to head to the Wuyi mountains for a single 18 hour day, with no plan other than to drink Da Hong Pao, Big Red Robe, one of the most prized Oolong teas in the world.

With one overnight train in and out of the Wuyishan station per day, our itinerary was decided for us. We'd arrive a little before six in the morning and leave at ten at night. That may seem like a short trip, but all we really cared about was finding and drinking the Da Hong Pao, and we figured it would be enough. After reserving our two hard-bed tickets, we check the weather. Rainy the day before we get there, storms the day after, but sun on our day there. Perfect.

The next day we arrive at Shanghai Railway twenty minutes before our train is scheduled to leave. We show our tickets, go through security, and stare up at the giant LED display announcing the departure gates. It scans through the options once and I don't see our train. Odd, but my Chinese reading is even worse than my speaking, so I figure I must have missed it. Another cycle of all departing trains scrolls through, and again I don't see it. I look again at my ticket-- we were supposed to be leaving from Shanghai South. Oops.

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