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29 Dec 2013
1000-years trees After a while, the forest became even more dense and filled with lianas. In one of these places we found another tea tree which was easy to pick up leaves from. We were promised to allocate some time for "harvesting" on the way back but Jenia had picked up some few at once. Here is one more picture of that places: Then again, we accelerated the pace. After some time of walking across the hills and ravines our guides asked what trees we wanted to see first, 100-200 years old or the ones of the age of 1000? And explained that the places are a bit different .. We decided to look at the eldest trees, for the beginning and made no mistake with the choice. I donâ€™t want to weary you with my travel notes and keep waiting any longer, we reached the target. Here they are, two thousand-years trees. All our jolly crowd is near the first tree, and the second is slightly to the right: Our tea treasure turned out of such width... and of such height: Because of the constant fog and drizzle cameras were constantly wet. I tried to capture the crown, so you could estimate the scale: Jenia is trying to do the same by his built-in optics: Of course, one of the first we ha...
23 Dec 2013
Evening at the hotel To say that we were excited by the news is to say nothing. We happened to practically achieve the whole journeyâ€™s end at the end of the first day of journey just by almost accidentally turning at a sign for unplanned place! No need to look for an old Chinese any more. Fortune smiled on us. As it turned out from the further conversation, there were 100-200 years old tea trees not far from 1000-year-olds. "Which ones would you like to see?" - asked us manager girl. "Of course, both! And if there are any other trees, then them too," - we answered. "Ok then," - she said - "youâ€™ll see both. But the road is very bad now. Itâ€™s been rainy the whole week here already". Then she said that they can provide us a car but after a while, she warn us, we have to go on foot about five kilometers through the jungle. But we were not afraid of difficulties, that is what we replied. The night did not promise us idleness and fun, we had a huge pile of clothing to dry. The hardest thing, by the way, was to dry wool socks. Second day morning In the morning we were offered breakfast and coffee. The breakfast was not so hot, but the coffee they made really good. After breakfast, it was found out that there would be...
20 Dec 2013
How it all began. The start. The journey began in November 2013 in northern Thailand, Mae Hong Son province, when Jenia Melnikov, my friend and colleague, and I decided to get some good quality raw materials for producing our own sheng pu-erhs preferably from the old trees. We planned our trip to the Thai tea mecca, the mountain Mae Salong, village Santikhiri in the neighbouring province of Chiang Rai. We knew exactly that the big-leaf Assamica grows there. At the same time we had information that there is an old Chinese refugee somewhere in the surrounding villages, who knows where the old tea trees grow. We didnâ€™t know where to look for this Chinese, only the approximate location where it made sense to make inquiries. A couple of days we were getting ready, developing a route, buying some appropriate clothing. According to the plan we were going to visit 5 tea villages during 7-10 days. We started from Chiang Mai (on motorcycles), the first stop on our trip was supposed to be Chiang Rai (N km away), the largest city and the last bastion of civilization before entering the serpentine leading into the mountains and forests. In Chiang Rai we were planning to stock up our provisions, replenish fresh water and feed the horses...
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