I'm a travel junkie with few immediate plans to change that. As I yearn for the rush of my next adventure, Spain!, websites focused on travel appease my cravings. As so, The Matador Network has given me the inspiration that I'm adopting here. In the name of tea and travel, I've taken a spin on their weekly "By the Numbers" blog offering and curtailed it for you.
Originally a coffee-addict as well, I came to China with the enticement of teaching English for 10 months at a college in little-known Zhengzhou, a typical Chinese city of six million. After I grew to love tea and my 10 months of teaching, I took off, dragging along two friends, to experience the country's quirks and extremes. Here's my tab.
Days spent traveling: 15
Cities visited: 6
Varieties of Chinese loose leaf tea sampled: 6
Number of tea houses or shops visited: 6
Number of times we drank tea in a park while getting our ears cleaned: 1 very strange time
Number of times we enjoyed massages while drinking tea: 2
Nights spent trying to sleep on a train with a hard seat at an acute 90 degree angle: 2
Price paid for transport in such a "bed": 10 USD
Concrete steps hiked up a mountain: 255
Number of dumplings consumed: 56
Number of dumplings oddly shaped and created by myself during a cooking class: 35 (essentially each one I touched)
Number of fortune cookies spotted: 0
Number of times Obama was mentioned: 3
Number of times Lady Gaga was mentioned: 5
Pandas spotted: 9
Starbucks spotted: 7
Starbucks purchased: 0
Bowls of rice eaten: 29
Cups of tea drank: 17
Number of times we were offered a fork and knife: 2
Times a chicken head appeared in a dish: 3
Times we got sick: 1 (The Sichuanese do like it spicy!)
Number of squat toilets used: Too many to count
Photos taken of one of us by random Chinese tourists: 50+
Hours spent on a bike: 6
Bikes spotted: Too many to ever count Bike accidents: 1 small collision and thus 1 swollen ankle
Number of Chinese spotted drinking tea: Look to aforementioned response
Favorite Chinese tea: The famous green tea of Anhui
Favorite place: Chengdu, the Panda Capital of the World, or Beijing. Decision making has never been a strength.
Yes, that is me on a bike in China with a panda hat, where I am surrounded by more pandas. Do not be misled, however, my count refers to pandas that are not made of plush.