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My Voyage to Yunnan with Horatio Clare

31 Jul 2016

THE PAPER: TRAVEL+LEISURE MAGAZINE

August 19, 2016

pg. 150-59; pg. 166, 168

TRAVEL+LEISURE - August 19, 2016; Cover Page

 

China is a thriving location bustling with life, energy and industry. With age old beliefs and culture, China has traditions that leave one to wonder and dream.

 

Unfortunately, I didn't actually travel to the home of one of my most beloved teas but I certainly feel like I've been whisked away after reading "Spirited Away", a first-person view of Yunnan through the eyes of Horatio Clare.

TRAVEL+LEISURE - August 19, 2016; pg. 150 | San Ta Si

 

Yunnan means south of the clouds and the I've noticed that the pronunciation varies within the states from you-nahn or yuh-nin, however, the natives pronounce it as YOU-nahn with the first syllable pronounced in the nasal. Listen to the pronunciation yourself!

 

I really liked this article because it helped me to appreciate more of what China has to offer in culture. The inner cities are not much different than any other inner city in another part of the world but the rural lives of farmers are quite enchanting. In fact, Clare describes the farm work and herdsmen as beguiling. 

 

TRAVEL+LEISURE - August 19, 2016; pg. 155 | China countryside locals, food & culture

 "Yunnan means south of the clouds." 

- TRAVEL+LEISURE pg. 152

TRAVEL+LEISURE - August 19, 2016; pg. 154 | Spices, The Garden Sumtseling Monatery

 

The culture seems to be dipped and drenched in color that mimics the plentiful and grateful lives of the rural people.

 

TRAVEL+LEISURE - August 19, 2016; pg. 156 | Traditional Tibetan Hot Pot

 

I must admit that my initial attraction to this article relates to Pu'er, Yunnan the home of one of my favorite teas holding the name of it's origin, Pu'er. I read steadily digging for any hint towards the region's staple. Near the end of the article I still had not yet read anything even slightly alluding to Pu'er.

 

It wasn't until pg. 166 ¶4 that Clare spoke of his travel guide named Dakpa Kelden. As Clare zip-zags on a road to Shangi-La Kelden explains that he is journeying on what is called the Tea Horse Road, a mule path from China to India. He continuees to inform Clare that his very own father was one of the latest to trade Chinese Pu'er tea along this route.

 

TRAVEL+LEISURE - August 19, 2016; pg. 166 ¶4 

 

I admire how Clare described Pu'er as "...a winking rosy amber when brewed, smelling like sweet young leather and...promising potent longevity." I have had the privilege of tasting the best Pu'er in the western world produced by Misty Peak Teas. 

 

Misty Peak Teas produces and provides the best (and I mean the best) green tea Pu'er available to the western world. The really cool thing about Misty Peak Teas is that they provide an experience that no other tea producing company yet provides. What is the experience you ask? Misty Peak Teas offers Pu'er produced in the two seasons that tea can be grown and harvested, Autumn and Spring. You can taste the two and compare seasons. It really is an amazing experience and the tea itself is something divine!

 

 

In the article, the experience continued with Clare sipping the national tea of Tibet called dri-butter tea or most popularly called Yak's Milk Tea (inappropriately named considering Yaks being male do not produce milk). Clare describes its Hue as resembling a classic English Brew but it's Sip as being sour and very salty...interesting. Two sips were two too many for Clare but I venture to believe this beverage may be just my cup of tea...

 

 

Tibetan pouring the national beverage, Dri-butter Tea

 

The article concluded with Clare staring out of the window of an airplane at the plateaus and mountains. There wasn't any sign of the bustling habitation of the city nor the peace of rural living that he had experienced, however, he left feeling indefinitely connected to the Yunnan people and culture.

 

"Spirited Away"  was for the most part forthright but in my opinion it was slightly misleading. The preface of the article alludes to Clare visiting Yunnan but the article features images and experiences from all over China. For example, Clare sipped dri-butter tea in Tibet which is some distance West of Yunnan. Since Yunnan is the place where Pu'er tea is grown, I was hoping that the article addressed more-so the people, culture and beverages of the enchanted province.

 

Overall, the article was a great read and I appreciate Horatio Clare for taking a little time to make sure we all could sip happily ever after! Long Live Paper!

 

Have you sipped Pu'er tea from Yunnan?

What was your experience?

 

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