Finally, a lazy day.
After our hectic week, we felt entitled to lounge around a bit this morning. We slept until nearly the time we would normally be taking our midday break, just enjoying our moments of rest. The rest of our house mates were all working at a farmer’s market at the coffee farm down the street where they work, so we took advantage of the rare quiet to sleep as much as our bodies would let us! Going back to a regular farm schedule is going to be a rude awakening tomorrow…
After a few hours, we finally summoned the energy to join them at the market down the street. We tried our hand at a game of Memory, involving matching a picture of part of the jujube growing process with its name (which, like most activities during this trip, turned out to be very difficult without knowing how to read Chinese characters) and admired some of the freshly harvested fruits.
Jeff introduced us to one of his friends, who was a master straw weaver or sifu. He makes all kinds of things out of straw, from hats to sandals to works of art. He taught us to make little straw pinwheels, and to our surprise, we learned pretty quickly under his instruction! Ours didn’t turn out quite as nicely as his did though.
We treated ourselves to fresh dragonfruit and Indian gooseberry (which our housemate warned us was “a little bit terrible,” and boy was she right) and even a slice of the most delicious coffee cheesecake we’ve ever had. It turns out that tomorrow is Chinese Valentine’s Day, so the coffee shop at the farm had all kinds of sweet treats to celebrate!
After the market, we managed to get ourselves on a bus into Gongguan, where we explored the town a bit and had yet another bubble tea. By then it was nearly dinner, so we decided to take a long walk through the countryside and grab dinner at iconic local restaurant, Zhaozhuang.
Designed to give visitors a comfortable taste of the local history and way of life, Zhaozhuang serves tasty Hakka food, displays historic antiques from the town’s past, and even invites visitors to help harvest jujubes in the summertime. The food, in accordance with their thousands of online reviews (which is saying something for this quiet corner of the county) was delicious, and the grounds, covered in meters of jujube trees and greenery were beautiful even as the sun vanished over the mountains.
The walk back through the country to our apartment was long, but peaceful, as crickets and frogs hummed from the rice fields and thunder rumbled overhead. We’re exited to get back on our farming game tomorrow, but the moments of peace we got today were a long time coming and much needed to keep us going out in the fields.