Being in Guangxi, China, is interesting. I rarely travel to non-tea related areas, though there are teas grown here, it is not with any particular significance. Contrarily, this is the province known for jasmine flowers, and indeed most of the jasmine teas were scented with flowers grown in this region. I have been invited back to come in the summer when the jasmine flowers are being harvested and the entire village, and beyond, penetrating the density of smog and flashing neon signs, would be filled with its wafting fragrance. Guangxi is not bad, it is cleaner and  has even less personality than other average Chinese cities. Its emphasis is actually on green living, and I witnessed one such attempt. After an enormous lunch that could have been a banquet, the leftovers were put into biodegradeable bags, as paper take out boxes were banned. In fact, they said, our government acts quickly, one of the key advantages of being a strong central government/ dictatorship.  The Guangzhou government banned all motorcycles overnight, when two women were attacked and the offenders dragged these women to death snatching their purses at high speed. I hope no one tries to commit a crime while driving a car or that might get banned, but then again, maybe it will save the air quality once and for all, and Guangxi will see clear blue skies for more than 1 to 2 times a year.

So far, I have had a decent cup of Tieguanyin at lunch, but that same attempt to serve tea reduced to 10 re-infusions of about 4-5 pieces of leaves in a whole big teapot at dinner. Even Chinese restaurants are cheap when it comes to whole leaf tea.  Otherwise, it was bai jiu, which is basically a distilled grain alcohol of some kind. The stuff that truly rots your brain cells. Some Americans at the dinner got very drunk. I kept telling them that drinking tea alleviates alcoholic effects, as witnessed how clearly un-drunk I was, but no one listened. So they pretty much had to be carried out.

Interestingly, no one served any jasmine tea. I guess the people in Guangxi had pride; it was all or nothing. If they don’t have good tea, they just won’t serve it. You can drink bai jiu.

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