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Bozhou, Day 7

Bozhou, China


The morning started out with the Bozhou herb market, one of the largest in China. The warehouse was like an herbal COSTCO, with thousands of items for sale at wholesale prices. There was everything from scorpions to deer antlers. The locals seemed intrigued by our small troop going through the building. Not only is it strange for non-local Chinese to visit there, its simply unimaginable that people from the US would travel around the world to go there. I guess it would be like living in Lafayette, United States and seeing a bus load of Japanese tourists pile out at your COSTCO to check it out from around hte world. It was fun to wander around the many isles and explore the herbs that are not sold in the US like centipedes.

Afterwards, our guides took us to their local herb store for a quick tour before heading out to their pill factory after lunch.

The pill factory welcomed us with 2 large banners hanging on their buildings. There was even a local TV station there to record the event for local broadcasting. We were all excited by the amount of attention we got; we were treated like diplomats from the US goverment.

Inside the plant we saw the process of taking the local farmed herbs and preparing them into powders and pills for resale.

of course, most things are clinically tested and visitors and workers have to wear the lovely sterile looking uniforms. Our guides were as pleasant as ever and they invited us to dinner later at finest retaurant in town. The woner adn director of the factory said that the city's economic leader would be present at dinner and wanted to welcome the American guests in person.

Before heading back to the hotel, the plant owner gave us a quick history of the onve famous city of Bozhou. not only is this area the bitrth place of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu (Taoist founders), as well as kung fu... But it is also the birthplace of Hua Tou, the famous Chinese Dr. who formalised Traditional Chinese Medicine. We went to visit a small shrine to him in town on the way back. Hua Tou also created a set of animal exercises that sorta resemble Tai Qi practice. Here's a pic of the owner really getting into doing one of the animal forms. It was pretty fun.

The official dinner started off with a rather formal introduction, some of us felt a little underdressed, but they didn't mind. The welcomedus to their town and country and hoped that we would return again soon and bring more attention to the importance of Bozhou in the herb growing market.

The dinner adn hotel was amazing. It was the best nite yet. After about 100 shots and various toasts to almost everyone... we were ready to call it a nite and asked robert if we could sleep in the next day.

there was one last photo op before we left. We felt like we were part of the UN.

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 20, 2005 from Bozhou, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Herbs, Kungfu, Bozhou, Farms, Rural, Farmer, ChineseMedicine, Herbalist, PillFactory, Taichi, HuaTou, LaoTzu and ChuangTzu

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Bozhou, Day 6

Bozhou, China


faOur train trip to Bozhou ended and our 3 hour bumpy bus drive began. the raods are crowded and severly undermaintainded out here. This is rural China, farms are everywhere. Yet even here there are significant signs of progress and new building, including new cell phone towers in the middle of fields. We checked into our hotel, which, despite its huge number of vacancies and rural location, had the best accomodations so far. Including a great internet connection in every room! we spent the morning recovering from our travels.

We spent the afternnon traveling visiting nearby farms. The local farmers were great company. The village there was small and quite poor. They invited us to look around at the herbs they were growing and showed us how they process some of the herbs locally. This place offered great insight into the chinese herbal medicine; it's where it all starts. The hospitality we recieved from the farmers was wonderful and everyone welcomed our alien presence and constant picture taking. They were digging up samples and telling us the differences in age and quality with some herbs.
The family of farmers there introduced us to th eldest of the group. The man beig 90 and his wife 92! Both still looking healthy and both still working in the fields there. Everyone was sad to say goodbye to our newfound friends.

After, we traveled to the display gardens just down the road. We were told that although these lands were once owned by the government, they were now sold and privatised and the herbs grown there are still subsisidized. Mr. Gou, the owner and self-taught herbalist was there to show us around and invited us to be his guest for our stay in Bozhou. The garden was quite big and had a lot to offer. We were able to see a good amount of commonly used herbs growing there. the owner and the directors were very friendly and we left there just before the rain fell.

The owner and directors came back with us to the hotel and asked to guide us through the herb market and pill making factory the next day.

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 19, 2005 from Bozhou, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Herbs, Medicine, Bozhou, Farms, Rural, Farmer and Harbalist

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