On the 5th of March, China celebrates International Women's day.
Our company told us they had planned a day out for all us ladies.
My brain immediately painted an enticing picture of a pampering spa day with beautifying treatments and massages.
What was to proceed was very different.
We packed into a bus in the morning and rode for a sweaty 40 mins to the mainland.
A dusty van then picked us up and swerved us up a mountain side, pulling up in front of a farm.
The farm is set into the mountainside and consists of a courtyard with various rooms surrounding a man-made lake for their ducks and geese, with a few pens for their pigs and dogs etc.
One side of the courtyard is set up for self-catering with tables and traditional stoves: over-size woks positioned over wood fires.
We immediately set about cooking, out in the open - a big team effort!
Chinese meals are fabulously communal, with a vast variety of dishes prepared all at once and laid out in the middle of the table. Each person is equipped with a small bowl for rice, a smaller bowl for soup, and a plate for bones, and, of course, chopsticks. From there its just reach, pick and chew!
It was a special moment, being surrounded by such happy, self-sufficient young ladies, chewing on their fish eyes and duck heads. The conversation naturally journeyed through all topics usually restricted by the presence of men, and for a few minutes we were all bonded together by the simple virtue of our gender.
After that, I witnessed an astounding amount of poses for the camera, and then we were off home again with full stomachs and smiling faces.