(ro)
Nu stiu cum se face dar se pare ca azi am chef de calatorit.
Dupa o noapte petrecuta punand la cale planuri de vacanta ( daca unii stabilesc revelionul din septembrie, noi de ce n-am visa la vara inca din februarie? ), m-am trezit usor nostalgica si cu o mare, mare pofta de….mare. Cum vacanta e mai mult decat departe, m-am consolat cu niste poze uitate prin laptop si cu gandul ca mai am de asteptat o leaca pana cand vantul o sa-mi fluture din nou pletele si valurile o sa mi se astearna la picioare.
Dar cheful nu trece cu una cu doua. Prin urmare, cu laptopul in brate, plapuma trasa pana in gat si cafeluta pe noptiera, m-am decis sa deschid cutiuta cu amintiri si sa scotocesc si dupa restul aventurii din China, ca stiu ca v-am promis.
Prima destinatie: Wuzhen.

(en)
It seems that today I’m in a great great mood for traveling. After spending the last night making plans for my next summer holiday (if other people plan the NYE in September, why should I not dream of summer in February?) I woke up kind of nostalgic, with summer in my mind, thinking that I still have few more months to wait till the sunlights will embrace me again.
So, under my big warm blanket, with the laptop in front of me and a strong coffee by my side, a remembered that there’s a promise I have to keep, so I decided to open my special box of memories for you and search for the rest of my Chinese adventure.
Our first destination: Wuzhen.

(ro)
Daca denumirea nu va spune nimic, nu-i bai, va lamuresc eu. Situat la vreo 80 de kilometri de Shanghai, in nordul regiunii Zhejiang, cu o populatie de aproximativ 60 000 de locuitori (Pentru China asta e cam egal cu zero), oraselul mai este cunoscut si sub denumirea de Venetia Orientului. Va dati seama ca unei profund indragostite de Italia, in special de Venetia, comparatia asta i-a starnit din start interesul.
Cu inima cat varful acului, m-am dat jos din autocar si am pasit cu incredere pe poarta de lemn, asteptand ca din clipa in clipa sa mi se taie respiratia.
Prima reactie? Mdeaaaa, bineeeee.

In fata mea aveam un tablou pe care mai degraba l-as fi numit Venetia in timp de criza. Frumos, interesant, deosebit, nu zic nu, dar sa nu ne fie cu suparare, in afara de case costruite pe canale si gondolele ce pluteau lenes, pe apa verde-maronie, Venetia lor nu are nicio treaba cu Venetia noastra. Romantic, boem, luxos, grandios? Nici vorba. Doar un loc altfel, peste care trecerea secolelor pare sa nu-si fi pus amprenta.

Am luat-o la pas pe stradutele inguste, care mai degraba aduceau a coridoare, si, incet, incet, dezamagirea pe care am simtit-o la prima impresie s-a transformat in curiozitate si incantare. Nu era ceea ce am asteptat, dar, trebuie sa recunosc, atmosfera locului era deosebita.
Intr-un final ajungem la muzeul paturilor. Nu, nu glumesc. Intr-un orasel in care cei 10.000 de locuitori permanenti nu au alta sursa de venit decat turismul, e firesc sa se faca un eveniment si o atractie din orice.

(en)
If the name does not say much to you, let me tell you more about it. Located about 80 kilometers from Shanghai, in the northern part of Zhejiang, with a population of about 60,000 (for China this is about zero), the town is also known as the Venice of the East. As a person so madly and deeply in love with Italy, especially Venice, I was very excited about what was going to come.
So, with a dancing heart, I got out of the bus and entered confidently that wooden gate, waiting for that Venetian landscape that could take my breath away. The first reaction? Oh well…yes….

That place was not quite Venice, it was more like Venice in times of crisis. Beautiful, interesting, special, I can not lie, but excepting all those houses surrounded by green watered canals and the lazy floating gondolas, their Venice had nothing to do with our Venice. Romantic, bohemian, luxurious, grandiose? No way. Just a different place, which seemed to have remained somewhere back in time.

We took it down the narrow streets, which rather looked like corridors, and slowly, my disappointment turned into curiosity and delight. Wuzhen was not what I expected, but, I have to admit, the atmosphere of the place was special.
Finally, we got to the beds’ museum. No, I’m not kidding. In a town where the 10,000 permanent residents have no source of income other than tourism, it is natural to make an event and an attraction of anything.

(ro)
Amplasat intr-o casa traditionala chinezeasca, cu multe camarute si putine becuri, muzeul adapostea o groaza de paturi din lemn, mai mici, mai mari, de 2 persoane, de patru, de bogati, de saraci, de femei, de barbati, de copii, de adulti ( nici la Ikea nu gasesti asa varietate ) si o serie de kimono-uri, probabil de pijama.

Nu am zabovit mult aici, ca treziti de dimineata cum eram,  ne cam luase somnul, iar cum paturile sunt de admirat, nu de utilizat, am zis sa mergem sa ne invioram putin. Si ce iti aduce mai bine si mai bine pofta de viata, decat un paharel de tarie chinezeasca? ( nascuta si crescuta in Ardeal, ce vreti).

Prin urmare cu pas repezi si setea in gat ajungem la distilerie. Aici, un batranel chinez, nu foarte prietenos, ne serveste cu un „shot” din partea casei, dupa care ne imbie sa ne facem si provizii. Ce provizii tataie? De-ai stii tu ce avem noi acasa…

Veseli nevoie mare, o luam mai departe pe stradutele inguste, spre ultima destinatie: gondola. Pe drum, pierdem vreo 2 camarazi, ramasi probabil cu gandul la licorile bahice. Declaram stare de alerta si ne impartim in echipe de cautare. Unii se ocupa de interceptarea telefoanelor, altii sunt trimisi in recunoastere pe teren, ghidul Felix interogheaza martorii cu ochii mici…adevarati profesionisti, ce naiba? Dupa putina panica si multe rasete, primul si ultimul episod CSI Wuzhen ajunge la final , grupul respira usurat, iar fugarii sunt prinsi si readusi la baza. Totul e bine cand se termina cu bine!

Nu ne mai ramane decat sa ne imbarcam in gondola de lemn si sa o luam agale pe canal (mai mult Canalul Morii, decat Grande Canale), lasand in urma peisajele cu ape verzi si case mici, rupte parca dintr-o alta lume.
Zài jiàn, Venetie a Orientului! Sa iti zic un secrtet? Tot a noastra-i mai frumoasa.

Dupa asa o zi, nu cred ca era vreun membru al grupului care sa nu tanjeasca la putina relaxare, mai ales ca seara avea sa ne prinda in avion, spre o noua destinatie. Asa ca Felix, gazda noastra, atent ca de obicei, ne face o invitatie de nerefuzat, nu la un masaj, ci la un ceai.

(en)
Located in a traditional Chinese house, with many small rooms and few bulbs, the museum housed a lot of wooden beds- smaller sizes, larger sizes, for two-three-four people, for the rich and for the poor, for women or men, for children or for adults (Ikea can’t beat this) and a series of kimonos, which were probably used as pajamas.

We didn’t stay there for too long because considering that we woke up early in the morning, we were all kind of sleepy and as the beds were there to be admired, but not to be used, we considered that it was the perfect time for a little revigoration. And what better way to cheer us up, than some Chinese strong liquor? (what can I say…born and raised in Transylvania- and the ones that tried “tuica” or “palinca” know what I mean)

So, hurried and thirsty, we got to the distillery. Here, a very old, not so friendly Chinese man, served us with a “shot”, which was on the house, and then invited us to get some supplies. What supplies? If he had known what we have at home …

After that, although happy and a little dizzy, we went down the narrow streets to our last destination: the gondola. Along the way, we lost about 2 comrades, because as you know, strong Chinese liqueurs are not for everyone. So we report an emergency situation and divide into search teams. Some people are intercepting the phones, others are being sent on land recognition, the Felix guide interrogates the witnesses with small eyes … real professionals, what the hell? After a little panic and a lot of laughter, the first and last episode of CSI Wuzhen comes to an end, the group breathes relieved, and the fugitives are caught and brought back to the base. All’s well that ends well!

All we had to do next was to ride in the wooden gondola along the canal (more than the Canal Morii, than the Grande Canale), leaving behind the landscapes of green waters and small houses, which seemed from another world.
Venice of the East, you’re good! But can I tell you a secret? Our Venice is better!

After that day, I do not think there was any member of the group who would not have loved a little relaxation. So Felix, our host, careful as usual, makes us an ​incredible offer and invites us not to a massage,​ but to have tea.

DSC01797-001

(ro)
Auzisem de celebra ceremonie a ceaiului, dar nu mi-am imaginat niciodata ca ar implica ceva mai mult decat scaldarea unui plic in apa. Ei bine, m-am inselat.
Pentru chinezi ceaiul inseamna cultura, spiritualitate, armonie. Licoarea aducatoare de liniste, se prepara cu multa atentie si eleganta, ceaiul verde fiind manevrat numai cu spatule de lemn si servit exclusiv in cescute mici de portelan. Atat de mici, incat abia daca poti sorbi vreo 2 inghitituri. Dar asta nu conteaza. Ceaiul trebuie primit si servit cu ambele maini, in semn de multumire, si savurat pe indelete. Si chiar ai ce savura. Aromele sunt deosebite si imbatatoare.
In concluzie, a fost chiar relaxarea de care aveam nevoie, iar la final de zi, pot confirma, cu mana pe inima, ca ceaiul aducator de liniste si pace nu-i poveste.
Acestea fiind spuse, cu Venetia vizitata si ceaiul servit, seara ne prinde in aeroport, asteptand avionul ce avea sa ne duca spre un alt taram de vis: Zhiangjiajie.

Suna interesant? Ei bine, chiar e. Nu uitati sa luati la voi putina imaginatie- de bilete si de fluturi, ma ocup eu!

(en)
I heard of the famous tea ceremony before, but I never imagined it would involve anything more than bathing a tea bag in hot water. Well, I was wrong.
For Chinese, tea means culture, spirituality, harmony. The peace bringing potion is prepared with a lot of attention and elegance, the green tea being handled only with wooden spatulas and served exclusively in small porcelain teacups. So small that you can barely sip a couple of sips. But that does not matter. Tea should be served and received with both hands as a sign of gratitude and enjoyed leisurely. And there’s no other way of doing that, considering all those special and unexpected flavors.

This was just a perfect relaxation moment and at the end of the day, I can confirm, with my hand on my heart, that the tranquility and peace-bringing​ tea is not just a myth.
That being said, with Venice on our mind and tea in our soul, the evening caught us in the airport, waiting for the plane that would take us to another dream realm: Zhangjiajie​.

Sounds interesting? Well, it will be. So do not forget to pack some imagination! The tickets and the butterflies are on me!

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