Day 9: Three Tasty Teas, One Fascinating Family
Today we once again visited Mr.Li, which asked us to wait a half hour as he was eating lunch, so my service group of me, Sonia, Josie, and Anders waited on the road. I thought we looked liked we were a group of kids who lost their parents and their tourist group. We talked about our very interesting childhoods and even how one time I pooped in the bathtub as a kid and showed it to my mom acting proud and like I struck gold. I was pretty sure that was not gold. Later, we went into the Li family house and Mr.Li being the nice man he was, sat us down and told us that he was going to prepare us a Bai tradition of 三道茶(three cups of tea). He said it went like this, 先苦后甜三回味(First Bitter, Second Sweet, Third aftertaste). He let us hammer walnuts and then slice them using his crafty slicer which was super fun to play with. He then started to roast or fry the pu'er tea leaves as he explained that by roasting the tea, it has a stronger sense of smell and that it was also more healthy, unlike normal tea leaves which he said may harm the liver. We drank the tea and then he helped us create the second tea, the sweet tea. It was a mix of red sugar, white sugar, powdered sugar, and the coconut flakes we sliced earlier. Everyone in my group said it tasted great but for some reason, it tasted like medicine to me, I don't know man, I don't know. After that, the third cup of tea, the aftertaste, was again the bitter tea, but because we drank the sugary drink before, the bitterness was much greater. My groupmates liked the sugar more but personally, I enjoy the bitterness much more. Later on, Mr.Li's nephew explained to us his family history with his trusty cotton paper that he recorded everything on. His family history was extremely interesting. The first person who began recording the family history was a general in the Tang dynasty, who apparently ended his life after being defeated by enemy forces. Because he defended Dali, the Dali people build a monastery honoring him, which still exists today in Dali. There was another general in his family who served in the Qing dynasty. Because of his rich, he had a portrait of his mother in the house we were in, which was taken away by a later government. His cousins fought in the Korean war, against (you know who), and now its Mr.Li's turn to continue the family tradition. He shared a lot of information that would otherwise be considered too personal to share, and I felt like that I and my group really got to know him better.