Chapter 802: Buying the Da Hong Pao parent trees!
Translator: Legge Editor: Legge
"This gatha sounds way too cool!"
"Our Director Zhang is really too amazing!"
"Listening to it makes me feel so moved. I didn't know that something like that happened back then!"
"I remember someone posted a video back then regarding this incident that had taken at Qingshan Monastery. A pity that I didn't watch it at that time, so I'll definitely search and watch it for myself when I get back. How valiant!"
"Director Zhang is undoubtedly a grandmaster of the literary world!"
Everyone was full of praise.
Zhang Ye laughed. "Don't praise me like that. That's enough."
At this moment, the tea was served.
The younger abbot personally brewed a pot of tea for everyone. Even before the tea was poured out, its fragrance was already exuding. The moment the tea was poured out into the cups, the piping hot, deep-colored tea wafted a hot vapor which carried an aroma that attacked everyone's sense of smell.
Ha Qiqi wondered, "What tea is this?"
"Great tea!" Wu Yi acted as though he knew but was in fact not knowledgeable about teas.
Immediately, the light in Zhang Ye's eyes changed. He did not care about anyone and picked up the teacup to have a sip, then a second sip, and finally, a third sip. Following that, he took a deep breath and said, "This tea is..."
The younger abbot smiled and pointed outside. "Every year, during the tea harvesting season, I will get someone to go and pick the tea leaves from some of those unknown tea trees on the hill. After we process them, we drink it for our own consumption, so the taste might not be comparable to other famous teas. But it could still be considered to have quite a unique flavor. It's taste still remains even after six or seven infusions."
Tong Fu nodded. "This tea tastes quite good."
Huang Dandan acknowledged, "It's quite nice drinking it."
This is Da Hong Pao that we're talking about!
The tea that is brewed from the leaves of the Da Hong Pao parent trees!
Zhang Ye was extremely excited. "Is there any more of this tea?"
The younger abbot was stunned for a moment. "There's still plenty of it. We have a total of several catties gathered up over the past years. Since there aren't many visitors to our place, it's not very often that we drink the tea, so most of the tea leaves have been accumulating up till today. I'm not someone who usually likes to drink tea either. Does Almsgiver Zhang enjoy this tea? They're just some small tea trees growing out in the wild. If you think it tastes good, I'll get someone to bring the tea leaves out for you to bring back. They're not worth much anyway." [1.]
They have accumulated that many tea leaves over the years?
Zhang Ye was beaming with joy. "Would that be appropriate?"
The younger abbot said, "You're an old friend of my Senior Brother and also a rare guest of our monastery, so what's inappropriate about that?" Saying so, he turned around to instruct a young monk to bring out the tea leaves. It was obvious that he did not treat those tea trees as something valuable.
The elder abbot looked at Zhang Ye and asked, "Almsgiver Zhang, what's the reason you came here? Are you on a tour? If so, then how did you end up coming to this isolated location while touring? This old monk intentionally came to look for my Junior Brother, but I still had to search for a very long time before I could find this place."
Zhang Ye also did not hide his intentions. "Abbot, since we already know each other, then it'll be easier to speak. To be honest with you, I came because of those tea trees. We came to the Wuyi Mountains to shoot a documentary and have already wrapped things, but when I saw those tea trees, I had a new idea. I intend to shoot a few more scenes here to add to the story, so I wanted to find out whether we had permission to film. Should I inform the people in charge of the scenic area first? Also, which of you usually pick the tea leaves? Can you get the young monks to cooperate with us for a short shoot?"
Shooting more scenes?
Ha Qiqi and the others were taken aback at this, but did not ask any further.
When the younger abbot heard that, he said, "Shooting a documentary? Then it's definitely not an issue since we often have television stations who come to the scenic area for filming. Get our monks to help you with the shoot? That's also not a problem, but the season for tea leaf picking has already passed, so how will you shoot that?"
Zhang Ye said, "I have a way for that, but we don't have to emphasize the tea picking activity itself."
The younger abbot agreed without hesitating, "All right, these are just small issues."
After communicating his intentions, Zhang Ye immediately got Ha Qiqi and the others to get prepared. "Sister Ha, contact the supervisor of the scenic area. Old Wu, bring someone along with you to go back to the hotel and get the video cameras and other necessary equipment. Little Wang, change our flight date to two days later. There's now a change in our schedule, so we'll go back another day later."
"Understood, Director Zhang!"
Everyone went off to do their jobs.
After Zhang Ye delegated the duties to his subordinates, a young monk brought out a large bag of tea leaves and handed it to Zhang Ye. Carrying the several catties of Da Hong Pao, he didn't know just how many years' worth of tea leaves were accumulated. The tea leaves were not placed together, but packed separately in a dozen or so smaller packets. Neither the color of the tea leaves nor the year of harvest were the same and most of the tea leaves appeared very aged. Zhang Ye had not calmed down since a very long while ago.
He asked, "Abbot, who is in charge of or responsible for those tea trees?"
The younger abbot said, "This entire place falls under the scenic area."
"Are there any tea plantations in the mountains?"
"There's one south, but it's quite far from here."
"Are those tea trees there leased by someone or what?"
"They are leased to the local tea merchants. Some of the tea trees are rented by them or they lease a mu of land and hire workers to plant tea trees on them. There is also a tea tree region in the scenic area itself, so we have all sorts of things going on around here." [2.]
"What if I want to take out a lease of those tea trees?"
"You want to take out a lease of those tea trees?"
"Yes, can you help me to contact the supervisor? It would be best if you can contact someone from the government office who can make decisions. If possible, I would like to buy those tea trees on this side of the hill. The price doesn't matter, but it'll definitely be higher than the prices offered by those tea merchants."
"Well, I'll try to arrange something for you."
There was a telephone in the monastery as well. These days, monks were also keeping up with the times.
Later that afternoon.
Zhang Ye and the two abbots came to the administrative office for the scenic area.
The local government representative and the supervisor of the scenic area were also here. When they saw Zhang Ye, they recognized him immediately. "Aren't you Teacher Zhang Ye? You're the one who's interested taking out a lease for the tea trees?"
Zhang Ye shook hands with them one by one and replied, "Yes."
The staff of the scenic area also knew about those several tea trees. To them, they were just some wild tea trees that wouldn't have much of a yield in a year. They grew on the hillside and it would take too much effort to harvest their tea leaves. Since the yield was so low, there was no reason to bother about it at all. It had always been the people from the nameless monastery who picked the tea leaves for their own consumption.
After a moment of exchanging pleasantries, they got straight to the point.
The government representative said, "Because this is a scenic area, the circumstances are also a little special. Generally, the tea trees on the plantations are either planted by the staff of the scenic area itself or with the help and cooperation of the local tea merchants. They are not open to the public in most cases, but since you, Teacher Zhang, have requested it, I think we can make an exception this time. If you wish to take out a lease on a tea plantation, we have a batch of Tieluohan that was just transplanted over to a plot of land on the south side which can be harvested next year. They are probably more suitable for you than those tea trees that you mentioned-"
Zhang Ye interrupted, "I don't want Tieluohan."
That government representative said, "Then you just want those few, small little tea trees on the hill?"
"Yes, can you name me a price?" Zhang Ye answered.
That government representative and the supervisor of the scenic area exchanged glances. "Because those tea trees are rather aged trees from the older generations, it will be more expensive if you want to take out a lease. It will cost 100,000 RMB per year. That's already the cheapest we can offer."
That's enough to rent a few mu of tea plantations!
But Zhang Ye did not say anything. "What if I don't want to rent, but buy them?"
That government representative replied, "Actually, it's not worthwhile to buy them. We collect management fees here annually. Also, the purchasing costs are usually very high."
"Let me know what your asking price is first." Zhang Ye blinked.
The two officials discussed for a while and did some calculations before making an offer. "3.5 million RMB."
The younger abbot frowned. "Almsgiver Zhang."
Just those several tea trees would cost over 3 million to buy? Isn't that quite the rip-off?!
Zhang Ye counteroffered, "3 million. That is my final offer."
After some further negotiations, they finally struck a deal for 3 million RMB. As Zhang Ye was very anxious, he got them to write up a contract right away and signed it on the very same day!
Zhang Ye did not have much money as he had not saved up much for the past two years. However, he could still afford to fork out 3 or 4 million RMB.
Back at the monastery.
The younger abbot said while shaking his head, "It's too expensive."
However, Zhang Ye stated, "No matter how much they cost, they're still worth it since I like this tea. Oh, Abbot, in the future when I'm not around, I'll have to trouble you with the matters of harvesting, maintenance, and pruning of the tea leaves every year."
The younger abbot nodded. "Absolutely."
Zhang Ye declared, "But I can't let you and everyone work for nothing. I will donate 500,000 RMB to the monastery, be it for charity or incense costs. Can you give me the bank account information, or perhaps I can bring cash over tomorrow?"
A few of the young monks were stunned when they heard that.
The younger abbot waved his hands. "It's just a simple matter, so there's no need to."
Zhang Ye would not allow that. "That won't do. How could you refuse to accept the incense money that I'm donating? Besides, you've also given me several catties of tea leaves, so let me handle the costs when your monastery undergoes renovations later!"
The younger abbot demurred, "No, that isn't right."
When the elder abbot saw this, he also said, "Hur hur, Junior Brother, just accept it. Since Almsgiver Zhang is dedicated to Buddhism, this is his sincerity and heartfelt token. Your monastery really needs some repairing as well, and that's not about whether it is extravagant or not. If one day this dilapidated building collapses, many lives will be lost. You still have to be responsible for your disciples, understand?"
With the elder abbot saying that, the younger abbot could only reluctantly accept.
It was all settled!
The cameras would roll another time for A Bite of China!
Zhang Ye had almost spent all of his savings in exchange for some insignificant tea trees. To others, Zhang Ye might seem very stupid and look like he had gone crazy. But only Zhang Ye knew he was going to earn big time with this deal!
The famous Da Hong Pao parent trees from his previous world had now turned out to be his private property?
This was just like a dream!
[1. 1 catty = 500 g]
[2. 1 mu = 614.4 m2 / 734.82 sq. yd]