Warnings in March 2007

I thought we were getting lucky. Other people didn’t. The world is melting. Polar bears are going to get skinny. Beach houses will need stilts. The globe is warming like a square of tofu in a pot of boiling oil on a hot Hangzhou day. I just thought the weather was good, and I thought it would last. The dude at the foot massage place will tell you it didn’t. I trudged around town at the end of the month trying to find new places, and my shoes just wouldn’t get dry. My feet were constantly cold, and they got all this nasty skin that stank up the taxi on the rides home. I went to a foot massage place and ordered up the expert. He wasn’t too happy to clean all of the dead white stuff from between my toes. Still, as I sit at the computer, I can get a whiff of what was removed. Hey at least my socks don’t stick to my feet like crazy glue anymore.

It got cold again, but while it was warm, I really took advantage. On one Saturday night last month, a few of us decided we would take a bike ride up to Meijiawu and enjoy a cup of tea under the sun. On the following morning, wreaking of spilt beer and wearing the same clothes I had gone out in the night before, I turned up all ready to go. While the previous night’s table was full of people agreeing to ride, for some odd reason, only a few of them showed. No matter, we were off. I coughed up one pack of cigarettes to the left and another to the right, but before I knew it, things were flowing along just fine. I wasn’t leading the pack or anything, but who cares? I wasn’t holding anyone back. This wasn’t some Tour de France. It was the Tour de Tea. In only about 35 minutes from city center, we were surrounded by the fields. Why the hell hadn’t I done this in so long? This month I warn you all not to forget to ask yourselves the same question.

I’d had such a refreshing time on the ride that the following week we took another route and drank some tea on some other hillside. It was February, and we were sitting out there with only T-shirts on. I arrived home with a sunburned face. The third week saw a whole new group of people. I almost peddled all the way up that wicked climb on the backside of Longjing without stopping. I was hiking the hills, visiting the temples, walking through the gardens and checking out some cool artwork in museums. So what if Lingyin road was so crowded that the street looked like a parking lot. I was walking. Not having a taxi gave me an excuse to wallow through the Botanical Gardens, and I even saw those trees Nixon gave the city way back when. Then it got cold again and my feet – I won’t talk about my feet again. The point is that March is a favorite. The new tea is pushing its way out of the old. Spring is just around the corner. The weather will be cold no more, and though many say October is the best time of the year, I like March (mosquitoes are still around in the fall). The tea comes out, and we can all enjoy things we haven’t enjoyed in a while. Stop asking and start doing. That’s why it’s all there. Did I mention the tea?

By Tim Hoerle