ARTIST RESIDENCY CHINA — ZHEJIANG, no. 31
Except for scant details, my courteous young interpreter had limited knowledge of our location, destination, or itinerary. The adults were speaking among themselves, merrily enjoying a family-style vacation in the country. They barely looked out the bus windows. Twenty-four hours after leaving Beijing for Shanghai, I was somewhere in China without a map, internet connection, or place name. The verdant scenery that whizzed by was spectacular. Later I learned we had traveled through tea plantations — lush, green, clean, ordered rows of tea. How much I longed to stop and walk through those gorgeous fields.
all tea farm photos were taken through the bus window
Close built structures increased as our two mammoth tour buses climbed a too small street up a steep hill. They stopped suddenly at a nondescript brick building. Men and women stood at the door welcoming our group of around sixty students and twelve faculty. We were shown to a large banquet room decorated as if for a wedding. Once everyone settled, a small army of servers delivered copious dishes of food. I relaxed into yet another sumptuous free meal given to me by my hosts: seemingly the nation of China wanted to make sure I ate well. Conversation was as easy and enjoyable as the food. My neighbor, an art historian and architect, explained the ingredients and regional style. After ravaging the regional cuisine, we got back on the bus for our roller coaster descent.
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