One Last Stop in Fang Cun, Then On to Taiwan

I arrived in Guangzhou via China's bullet train. It only took two hours to get there from Changsha, Hunan. The ride was quiet and comfortable. I was all smiles when I got off the train with my box of dragonwell and luggage, only to find that there were no baggage carts and no porters in sight. In a mild panic, I started to pull my laptop bag and suitcase in one hand while trying to drag the 40-pound carton of tea towards the exit. A young kid bounded by and said, "Hey ye ye, can I help you with that!" ! I was shocked to be called ye ye (gramps); I thought you had to be really old to be called that, but with my gray hair, I must have looked ancient to him. I glared at him and said I can manage. One of the most stupid things I've done in a long time, should have let the kid drag the box out!

By the time I got to the exit and found my driver, I was dripping with perspiration. I didn't know a human being was capable of leaking so much! I was not in a very good state of mind when I get to my friend Mr. Lin's store in the wholesale tea market in Fang Cun, Guangzhou. I met Mr. Lin years ago when he ran a small store in Fang Cun selling Fujian tea. Now his business has grown into a huge three-store building with customers all over the world. Total sales reached 106 million yuan last year. I didn't do the math to convert that into US dollars, but it is a LOT!

I make a point of visiting him from time to time since his company carries almost everything under the sun, and if for whatever reason he doesn't carry it, we can find it all in Fang Cun, the largest wholesale/retail tea market in the world. I wanted to cup Mr. Lin's selections against my own and compare his prices to what I got from my sources. Its a great way to sum up my trip and make sure that I've made sound decisions. I have to say that I am pretty happy with my selections so far. I think we can look forward to a late but good tea harvest in 2011, the best in many years.

Tomorrow I take off for Taiwan. Since direct flights began travelers no longer have to fly to a different location, such as Hong Kong or Korea, before flying into Taiwan. That saves not only money but almost a day of traveling. I love it! Lower altitude oolongs from Taiwan are already available. I want to go up to Shan Lin Xi to see what's up. I will report again when I escape from China and its extreme prices!

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