Travelling in China can be very complicate, especially when you don't speak Chinese like me and no one around you can speak English! I always need somebody's help to understand how to get from a city to another and how to buy the ticket. My trip from Lishui to Jingdezhen is a perfect example of this. After buying the ticket I show it to the hostess and she takes me on a bus where there are no seats but beds, 3 rows on 2 floors. Never seen something like that, especially because it's 2 pm, so I'm wondering why the bus company wants to force me to sleep in the daylight! Though I show again the ticket to the driver and he confirms I'm on the right place. After 6 hours of travelling and after experiencing the worst toilet ever, the bus driver just drops me off in the middle of nowhere, only me and another passenger, while he continues the ride. Hopefully my connection in Jingdezhen, Miss J., knows where I am! She comes to pick me up and takes me to a typical restaurant all about local food. Jingdezhen cuisine is spicer then the Fuzhou/Anxi one, also a little bit fatter: they use a lot of oil and sauces. Not bad but neither my favourite.
After a relaxing sleep at R.'s house, a designer who's hosting me for a couple of days, I'm ready to start my teaware-hunting! Jingdezhen is known as the "Porcelain Capital" because it has been producing quality pottery for 1700 years. Jingdezhen's porcelain is known internationally for being "as thin as paper, as white as jade, as bright as a mirror, and as sound as a bell". You can easily guess that we are in the "Porcelain Capital" because even the urban furnishing is made by porcelain and the city is packed with porcelain shops! Though it's hard to find the right places that sell original and good quality stuff for a fair price.
After six and a half days of intense searching, hard dealing and a lot of buying I hope you will enjoy my choices for nannuoshan :) One of my favourite places is the porcelain shop district in the east side of the city, with its vibrant atmosphere, the creative studios and the nice shops. The good thing about the teaware shops here is that there's always a table to enjoy a good tea together! Miss J. -who picked me up the first day- works in an elegant shop in this district. I love her way to prepare the tea, very minimal without tray and filter. Every day she carefully selects a different teaware set, essential but precious, disposed on a bamboo or fabric table cloth. She is a Gongfu Cha expert as she doesn't spill a single drop of water or tea! Unfortunately everything in her shop is extremely expensive so I just enjoy a delicious Shou Mei Bai Cha, a white tea pressed in a cake, prepared by her.
In another area not far from there I find the right place to make my first Jingdezhen buying for nannuoshan, a newly opened shop run by three young creative guys. L., one of the owners, warmly welcomes me with an Anji Bai Cha, a delicate green tea. He doesn't speak English but we manage to communicate through Google translator and drawings! I fall in love with some handmade ceramic pitchers that I buy! The shape of the spout is carefully designed to avoid spilling. The last drop just remains stuck in the tip of the spout without falling. An elegant an practical tool for best Gongfu Cha practice.
To be continued...