Tracy Lesh operates a small tour company out of Shanghai that focuses on educating visitors about Chinese culture - especially related to Chinese tea. I've been on a few of her tea-related trips including one to Hangzhou to learn about Longjing Tea, and another to Yunnan Province to learn about Pu'er tea.
The trip I joined to Nanxun focused on Chinese traditions and tea was definitely a part of it, but in the background, rather than the focus. Tracy and her Nanxun local partner have created a cultural immersion tour that escorts a small group to Nanxun, a "water town" just under two hours outside of Shanghai. Nanxun, while steeped in history, does not receive busloads of tourists (yet) which makes it an ideal place in which to escape the big-city claws of Shanghai and get into the rhythm of life in a small town.During the cultural immersion tour, we spent the day with locals from different parts of the region learning about and experiencing the following:
- Chinese traditional music and musical instruments;
- The Chinese tradition of stone carving and appreciation;
- An introduction to Yueju Opera, a local style of Chinese Opera;
- Chinese watercolor painting lesson from a local artist;
- Toured the former residence of a wealthy local silk merchant, and;
- Visited a local tea/guest house