Monday, January 07, 2008

Minus 5 and Still Alive

I had to make a run up North again last week. I was in Shandong where the temperature has dropped below zero. The last trip I made there was the first time I had been in a minus anything temperature, this time I experiences minus 5!!! Dude, it was fucking sick. I have never had to wear so many layers of clothing before in my life. And still I was not really warm. But what really blew my mind is how cold the outside of my clothes felt. I even wore thermal underwear for the first time ever. That was a pretty cool sensation. I felt like a Rockstar because although my pants were baggy, I felt like I was wearing skin tight jeans. I felt a bit like Mick Jagger. As I have mentioned before, the drive through this region is quite spectacular, even in the winter. People have told me though that in the spring the landscape takes on a whole new life. The highway we drive across for 4 hours cuts through the Tian Mountain range which is supposed to be really famous in China. I have not had a chance to do any sightseeing yet but I hope that when it is warmer I get to see a bit more of the region. I do not usually purchase any personal effects on these missions but this time I saw something in the airport that I could really use.

I like to drink water continuously when I am at work. In fact I have got it into my head that all the shit I consume on the weekends will not really damage my body if I continue to pump myself with as much water as possible from Monday to Friday. I saw a show on Oprah with Dr. Oz who said that healthy urine should be clear enough for you to read through. That is daily goal for me at work, as important as the other ones. Well not to read through my piss but just to piss as clear as possible. I don’t really do much good for my body so I figure I should do this at least. I do not really have a very big cup at the office and I have to keep running back to the cooler every 15 minutes for a refill. So this tea cup made from stone from the Tian Mountain caught my attention. The Mandarin characters on the side of the cup wish me a long life and the lady at the shop told me that this rock has 5 elements in it that will infuse with the beverage stored in the cup. The pricve tag read 160 RMB which put me off. I asked as a joke if she would give me a discount expecting a 20 or 30 RMB reduction. The chick knocked 50% off right away so I could not say no.

She also managed to sell me a box of this tea for another 50 RMB. That is pretty expensive for tea but she explained that this leaf is very rare and very good for my health. I have become quite fond of Chinese tea and that is another reason this cup appealed to me. It has a nifty cover to keep the contents of the cup hot. A good pinch of tea like this can last me at least 5 large cups. Drinking hot tea all afternoon also makes me feel healthy. The tea comes packaged in a foil bag which retains its freshness I suppose.

And as you can see when it is poured out it looks a bit like dried up marijuana. At least that is what I have been told. It is very light and flakey with not much of an aroma.

Once the leaves have been added to the hot water and I let it sit in my cup with the cover on for about 5 minutes, they open up to full sized leaves. You are actually supposed to wait for the leaves to sink before diving in but I usually cant wait that long. By this time the leaves have released a very strong fragrance and flavor into the water.

I really dig my new cup and I hope no one breaks it but I have a feeling something bad is going to happen. But till then I hope to sample a bunch of new Chinese teas and put one healthy foot forward into the New Year. Gambei!

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