On Monday, we took a short trip outside of Jingdezhen to a surrounding ancient village called YaoLi. It was refreshing to see the lush mountain-filled Chinese landscape under the thick clouds (the air was clean!). The hills were scattered with ancient porcelain-making technology, such as river-powered hammers and a 46 meter long dragon kiln that crept its length up the side of a hill. The ancient architecture was humblingly beautiful; the bridges leaned over the water delicately; the stone rooms and wooden carvings ushered a feeling of piety. YaoLi was refreshingly quiet and tranquil despite the light drizzle, wandering chickens, and many people who occupied it.
Many of us (Mark, mostly) had fun interacting with both the local people and other Chinese tourists visiting YaoLi.
For lunch, we enjoyed the local village food nearby. It was beautifully presented and delicious (some of us found it a little too spicy though!). We concluded our excursion by visiting a tea maker, who allowed as all to sample her green and black teas. The taste was subtle yet distinct compared to our strong western teas. Many of us bought some to take home to our families.
Before dinner, we stopped at a Jingdezhen super market to somewhat peek into their daily lives. We met a group of Chinese student who were extremely excited to see Americans (with blue eyes and red hair!). We took pictures together and laughed in our sometimes failed efforts to communicate. Their bewilderment and appreciation for us left us with a warm feeling of confidence.