A few summers ago, I was living and working in Beijing, China. I had just graduated from undergrad and I was actually trying to find an architecture internship in Cincinnati for the summer to give myself a chance to relax a little before starting grad school. The firm I was interviewing with asked me if I wanted to work in their China office for the summer. "Uh, cheah!" All of a sudden I was packed up and flying half way across the world to a small studio apartment in Beijing with a circle bed. My summer there was weird, crazy, and amazing. I lived 2 minutes walking from a steamed bun stall where 3 buns cost $1 USD. Do I need to say more?
I have a lot of stories of my time in China that I want to share here, but for today I'm going to tell you about the one time I climbed the Great Wall of China and got a popsicle. I went on a hiking trip to a more "rustic" section of the wall with some work ladies. Early one morning, we met up at a subway stop I couldn't tell you the name of and wandered around the sidewalk searching for a driver to take us to the wall (when ever I type the wall I just imagine game of thrones). Searching for a driver to take you on out of city excursions is really common. I did this a few times that summer. There are guys with vans waiting at the outermost subway stops with their doors open waiting for hikers in need of rides to the countryside. Okay, that sounds really bad but I promise you (Dad) that is was fine! I don't recommend this method if you can't speak mandarin though!
We paid our driver, packed into the van, and made our way to the wall! It was a super sunny and hot day and I was ready with my inhaler. However, I was not ready for how crumbly this portion of the wall was going to be. I'm a complete klutz by the way. So I definitely felt like my legs were about to give out at a lot of spots along the hike and I clung to any stable portion of wall I could. I just remember feeling so hot and achy by the time we got to the top-ish portion of our hike. I was thankful to have not fallen off to my death and miraculously there was an older asian man in a sun hat selling popsicles. WHAT?! There's popsicles up here?! This old skinny man hikes this everyday with a big cooler on his back to sell popsicles to hikers?! And I'm 22 and about to have an asthma attack?! Lots of questions. But I was thankful for this man and his popsicles. I can't even remember what flavor it was. That summer I was obsessed with these odd fruity yogurt popsicles that I could never figure out the name of, so it might have been those. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
That popsicle tasted like bliss despite whatever flavor it was. How often do you get to enjoy a popsicle on top of the Great Wall of China and not be surrounded by tourists? Unless your the popsicle man, almost never. It was an incredible experience with an even better view. Look at those lush mountains! We finished out popsicles, explored some abandoned watch towers, and made our descent back to the village where our driver was waiting for us. I didn't fall and I made it back to my circle bed in one piece. I hope that popsicle man is doing well and still making out of shape foreign hikers, like myself, incredibly happy.
So thats my quick story about popsicles and climbing the Great Wall of China! Now, lets talk about these here Mango Green Tea Popsicles. I have one last popsicle remaining in my freezer from this batch and I'll probably have it later today with the weather being so nice and sunny. They are so bright and refreshing! If I was in Ohio, where it actually feels like summe, I'd be eating 2 of these a day. The green tea is more like a slightly sweet green tea lemonade and the mango gets really creamy once its frozen. So good! I've also been buying a million champagne mangos a week, so this is a way to make sure I don't waste a single one!
Maybe I should start a business of packaging these popsicles in a cooler, climbing up to Mt. Tam and selling them to millennial hikers? I'd probably make no money but have killer calves. Doesn't sound terrible.
PS. I start my new job tomorrow. I feel like summer vacation is over. Ah!
Mango Green Tea Popsicles
makes 10 popsicles
1. In a large pitcher or bowl, steep 3 green tea bags in 3 cups of hot water for 5-7 minutes. Discard tea bags and add the juice of 2 lemons and sugar. Give it a quick stir.
2. Peel your mango. Slice the mango around the pit into 2 meaty halves, slice about 1/4" left and right of the center of the mango. You'll be able to tell if you're cutting into the pit. Place the half flat side down on your cutting board and slice into thin slices, about 1/8" thick.
3. Add a few slices of mango to each popsicle mold. The mango slices will actually adhere a little to the sides of the mold which make placement really easy, the mango slices just slide down the sides.
4. Pour green tea into each popsicle mold. Place in the freezer for 1 hour. After an hour add popsicle sticks and pop back in the freezer for 5 hours until frozen solid. Enjoy!
* run the popsicle molds under hot water to help get the popsicles out of the molds!
1 ripe mango
3 green tea bags - I used Mighty Leaf Tropical Green Tea
3 cups of hot water
3 tsp sugar