I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea.

– Lu T’ung

I decided on Shanghai for my 40th birthday trip before I began work on my 100 Dreams List. My goal was to visit a glorious place called Tianshan Tea City, which Brian had visited on his first trip to Shanghai. It would become #2 on my list and the first to be checked off.

I also wanted to usher in the next decade of life in a place known as the happiest (and some say calmest) place in China – Hangzhou. Hangzhou also happens to be the home of Longjing Village and the source of Longjing, or Dragonwell, green tea. Like Champagne, authentic Longjing only come from this region. All others are hopeful imitations.

I’ve been struggling to write this post. Even a week after my visit I still don’t have the words to describe my experience. China is unlike anyplace else in the world, yet it was a great reminder of how similar we all are. Looking at the train window as we made our way from the airport I could just have easily been riding into Paris or Chicago.

Maybe that is part of the reason it feels like a dream. Maybe that is why I can’t find a way to summarize all that I saw and felt. Mostly unplugged from the world I got to be so present I forgot to make those mental notes of what the blog post or tweets would say.

At the hotel when we did have Wi-Fi and few minutes to rest, I would Instagram some moments. (Provided Instagram wasn’t blocked, of course.) Pictures just seemed to be the best way to tell the story. Without the right words to create a post of fit things in Shanghai or tea tasting tips, I’ll share pictures of what I learned in the process of checking off my first item from my 100 Dreams List.

Pamper yourself as often as you can

Even when you speak a different language, there is always a way to communicate

Start your day with a lot of greens.

Tea bushes smell amazing

The journey is always best when shared.

Questions welcomed and comments appreciated.

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