Puerh Gushu

Notes from Yunnan Spring 2014

Spring 2014 in Yunnan, Awards and Honorable Mentions

Last year I made a couple of lists of funny and interesting things I encountered during the Spring of 2013. After traveling around Yunnan for a couple of weeks this spring,  I thought it might be time to list some funny notes before returning to tea related content. In no particular order;

The Best Moonshine

Medicine Filled Booze
Medicine Filled Zikao Jiu

Steeped for one year in a plastic bottle, with half the bottle weight being medicine, this corn liquor was excellent. The color was reddish after coaxing out the medicinal properties of all manner of unidentifiable barks and roots, along with whatever plastic leeched into the mix. (Note to self: See a doctor) Aside from packing a wallop from the alcohol, they claimed this liquor to be good for soothing aches and pains. But, what double shot of 80 proof alcohol isn’t going to make you feel less achy?

Moonshine Tea
Beer in the background, also good for aches and pains

I am waiting to return to this village in Bulang next week to pick up more tea, at which point a fresh batch of his homemade booze will be ready for the drinking.

The Most Bizarre Moonshine

Wasp Liquor
Wasps and medicinal roots. Supposedly good for lower back pain

As we I traveled further out into the nether regions of villages near Myanmar, I had lunch in a village that had another home brewed medicine mix, but this time with one important ingredient the previous liquor lacked. Wasps. I wonder if Mickey’s malt liquor would sue this guy for branding infringement? This stuff was more of the “oh fuck I am going to go blind” level alcohol, I am guessing 60%. The perfect pairing for fried hedgehog with chili peppers (below on the right). To any of my customers, don’t say I never do anything for you. Your tea often comes at the expense of my liver and gastrointestinal tract. Such is the situation in Yunnan, that finding far off gushu is becoming increasingly difficult.

fried hedgehog
Sonic’s lesser known third cousin, Stumbles the hedgehog (1991-2014)

The Most Profound Quote

I…um, what?

Gives to the new times sincerely, intellectual aristocrat. That is way too deep for me. I think I need more moonshine before that is going to make any sense to me.

Let’s end on a more comprehensible tea note, how about a picture from Laoman’e?

Laoman'e Gushu
Laoman’e Spring growth

The Three Most Interesting Non-Tea Related Things I Have Seen in Yunnan This Spring

Yunnan Spring Tea Hunting Derailed

What a cop out blog post this is going to be. I have been busy running around Yunnan to try and find good Spring puer tea and am way too lazy to start processing all of my photographs. So, here are three enjoyable pictures to make it look like I maintain my blog with the Puritanical work ethic that I may or may not actually have.

1. This Motor Repair Shop Ad

Mountain Chainsaw Ad Tea blog
Love it.

Hot chick w/ protective goggles. Check.

Inexplicably holding a chainsaw in front of a barren mountain hellscape. Check.

Lightning striking said chainsaw. Check.

Photoshopped repair shop boss pasted in the foreground. Check.

The level of what the fuck in this ad is unparalleled. Why is she in front of a mountain range? Is she going to go cut rocks and ice? Did she just level an entire mountain forest? Why the lighting? I don’t care. I’m in. If I ever need to repair a chainsaw in Mengsong, this is the dude I am calling. Take my RMB sir, you’ve earned it. I kind of want to search this guy out and get drunk on mountain moonshine with him, but I have other appointments.

2. The Monkey King

Monkey King Tea
Carry on.

Random guy from Henan province meets my friend in Xishuangbana ten minutes before we are about to depart for the mountain. He talks a lot. Introduces himself as “Houge” (HG), which means Monkey King, from the Chinese Journey to the West stories. HG knows not much about puer. Later come to realize HG knows nothing about tea in general. HG apparently sells tea. HG asks to hitch a ride with us to Bada. Friend says sure. I cringe.  Houge talks the entire time. We start climbing a mountain on foot to check out an old tea garden. Houge points to various large trees in the forest and says, “That tea tree is huge!” Not tea trees. HG, do you really sell tea? HG becomes impatient as our journey up the mountain is steep. We keep climbing. Finally get to some gushu. [old tea trees] HG says, “Twodog, take my picture!” Houge starts doing handstands and can do the splits in the air.

Didn’t see it coming, Monkey King. Well played.

3. The Taxis and their Respect for Elders

respect your elders tea
The sign in the middle states free rides for anyone 70 or older

Shall we end on a happy note? In Menghai city there are small cars and 3 wheeled bike taxis everywhere. They have a policy that anyone over 70 years old can get a ride anywhere in the city for free. There is a 33% discount for anyone over 60. Chinese culture has a great general respect for elder folk. It’s a good thing.

Daddy’s Going to Buy a Pack of Cigarettes…

I’ll be back, just wait here. I promise to write more tea related things later, but after doing nothing but drink puer for the last few days, (In the past 4 days alone, 60 teas, according to my notebook) I needed a break from tea. And writing about that Mötley Crüe mechanic’s poster just had to make it into my blog. It found a way.