Well folks, as promised, here is the whole other story. On my last blog about The Grand Canals of Suzhou, I mentioned it was a jumping-off point and a short drive to Hangzhou, one of the great green tea-producing areas of China.
Hangzhou is situated on the banks of West Lake, a popular tourist destination today and as it was centuries ago. The lake influenced many poets, painters and philosophers throughout Chinese history.Confucius was one of those inspired by the area. I’m sure many of his teachings were inspired by the natural beauty of West Lake and the surrounding hills. These fertile hills have been cultivated for centuries to produce the most popular green tea in China, Longjing tea, also called by its literal translated name, Dragon Well tea.
According to local legend, Longjing tea was granted the status of imperial tea by the Kangxi Emperor during the Qing Dynasty. As the legend goes, the Emperor’s grandson, the Qianlong Emperor, visited West Lake during one of his holidays. He went to the Hu Gong Temple under the Lion Peak Mountain and was presented with a cup of this tea. In front of the temple were 18 Longjing tea bushes. The Qianlong Emperor was so impressed by the tea produced here he conferred these 18 tea bushes special imperial status. The trees are still living today, and the tea they produce is auctioned annually for a higher price per gram than gold.
Dragon Well tea is said to have been named after a well that contains relatively dense water. After rain, the lighter rainwater floating on its surface sometimes exhibits a sinuous and twisting boundary with the well water, which resembled the movement of a dragon. Legend also has it that to achieve the best taste of the tea, water from the Dreaming of the Tiger Springs, a famous spring in Hangzhou, is to be used.
My visit to the area was an exploration into what makes China’s teas special. Green tea in Chinese culture is as important as rice. Most, if not all, Chinese drink it every hour of the day. One will notice locals with their thermoses or water bottles filled with fresh tea leaves and other herbal supplements. This mixture is sipped throughout the day … hot or cold. Dragon Well is the highest quality of green tea. It is produced by hand and pan-roasted by hand. And unlike other beverages, green tea has many health benefits. Dragon Well tea, in particular, contains large amounts of vitamin C and amino acids, as well as a high concentration of catechins (a natural phenol and antioxidant).
Not only did I leave the area much more educated about the cultivation and production of green tea but also with an appreciation for its value and benefits. The warmth and friendliness of the farmers also left a lasting impression. As Confucius once said, “Tea tempers the spirit and harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness, lightens or refreshes the body, and clears the perceptive faculties.” So to that I say: Drink up, live healthier and let the Dragon move you.
— Bill Lodzinski, director of sales
This summer, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles began highly-anticipated enhancements. The property celebrates its 10th birthday next year and the renovations are the largest changes the property has ever seen. They impact the hotel lobby, all 123 guestrooms and suites, corridors and Club Lounge.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Seats on new JetBlue flights between New York City (JFK) and Georgetown (GEO), Guyana, are now available for purchase. The route takes off April 2, 2020, on the new Airbus A321neo aircraft. With a flight time of five hours from New York City, the route delivers intrepid travelers to what JetBlue calls “a playground for adventurists and modern-day explorers.” The route also serves the largest Guyanese American community in the United States, located in New York City.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
An industry-first update to the award-winning Four Seasons app allows guests to plan travel more seamlessly. The app, completely overhauled, now includes a new trip planning itinerary feature that allows guests to easily customize their stay.