My hometown is at the southern part of China. I like tea. It is my old love to drink tea. Every morning, I am wakened by the flavor of jasmine tea. I had my own teapot even in my very early years. In my opinion, the life can be full of pleasure if only it have jasmine tea of spring, tribute mum of summer and some good books and songs.
I like travel, and unconsciously, I started my journey alone. Besides clothes and other traveling-requisites, there is a set of tea sets in my traveling bag. The thin flavor of tea can relieve traveling fatigue of me. Wherever I reach, there must have tea to accompany me. Sometimes, tasting local tea of foreign land is more impressive than staying in cafes.
German Fragrant Tea
When I first tasted scented tea from Germany, I was almost choked up by the fragrance.
This fragrance is so intensive that it seems to rush into your brain. Even when you taste a little, the fragrance 9eems to be kept in your body for several days.
In autumn I first came to Germany, and it is the right season that Germans began to make wine. I had been lived in a small town of the central Germany. There was a little shop of local tea. Those flowers dried by hand were mixed with German special local tea leaves, and then they were all put into many translucent glass bottles. German beer and wine are my favorite, but it is the first time for me to take German tea. All along I had thought that only Englishmen loved tea, and perhaps the whole Europe was caught by a coincident fashion that became the common habit of taking tea with rolling up heat in the white porcelain pots.
When I visited the beautiful Rhine, I tasted this kind of German tea for the first time.
In the yacht, I used to take some beverage. A girl next to my table was silently taking a golden tea, whose fragrance deeply attracted me. It is such an unbelievable fragrance that we cannot describe it in the fixed concept of tea. The dancing petals m the cup and spicy tea made me warm all over. It is unbelievable that cold Germans can make such, exciting and it seems like that they had collected and put all sunlight in the short summer of Germany into this fragrant and refreshing tea.
Along the sides of Rhine, there was no grand and grotesque cliff, "but now there were a lot of old-down castles that were telling the old story to the river. As usual from the radio, we could discontinuously hear some introductions to the old architecture, but sometimes I would like to imagine the stories behind them.
Standing on the empty area of a little hill, we can see a' statue of a woman on the top of a far mountain. It is said that it enjoys the fame as Germany Statue of Liberty. It is pity that it is too far to see it clearly, but a big stretch of vineyard on the foot of that statue showed its charming hue in the wind of the autumn.
Although there was loneliness difficult to tell in autumn rain, it had its own gloomy beauty. It rained intermittently along the way very much like the bitter mood a maid. Fortunately I have a pot of fragrant tea, which is good to relieve me of German bleak autumn.
Shanghai Form Tea
Shanghai people love tea, especially green tea and scented tea. They seldom like Gongfu tea of Min Nan (the southern part of Fujian province) or Gaiwan tea of Sichuan province. They like to drink tea in an easy way, that is, they love the fragrance and form of the tea more than the content of it. So teashops in Shanghai are like adornments that lament themselves lonely around the twinkling neon lights.
With Red Teashop spraying along the Shanghai streets like foam, teashops seem to be youngsters? chess-card Tooms. Even some people sit in the swing chairs, drinking orange or lemon tea and squinting at streams of people on the busy Huaihai Road.
In fact, Shanghai has the most famous teashop in China, not for its quality of tea, but for its location. The teashop named Mid-Lake Pavilion is situated in the middle of Nine-Turning Zigzag Bridge outside Shanghai famous Yu Garden. Whenever leaders of foreign countries visit Shanghai, they all like to come there.There is a wall full of their photos taken in this teashop.
There are crowded streets outside the windows of the teashops, and the Mid-Lake Pavilion is like an island.When you sit here, have a cup of tea with more form than content, and watch tea leaves spreading in the delicate cups, you feel like giving your body a cozy stretch. There are red wooden furniture, doors and windows. Outside the windows there are archaized larmiers that obliquely cut into the unclear sky. In the distance, the skyscrapers of Lujiazui, Shanghai landmarks, are shining coldly and solemnly in the sunlight.
The Temple of the Town God and Yu Garden are like pocket miniascapes in these big multicolored assorted cold dishes. Every tree and piece of grass delicately trimmed to the form the foreigners think it should be like in China, while Mid-Lake Pavilion is the finest dot of the miniascape. Air seems clammy in the early spring of Shanghai, and red lanterns under the eaves enkindle the remnant festive atmosphere of the new spring. This little pavilion has stood on Nine-Turning Zigzag Bridge for more than two hundred years. Merchants,tycoons, writers, poets, and foreigners with the blond hair or the blue eyes once came there to watch the sea waves up and down.Carved banisters still stood there, but it is hard now to find the whereabouts of those tracted by people. Today most of those who take tea in this seemly silent little pavilion are tourists at-tracted by its reputation. Sometimes the tired passers-by strolling around the Temple of the Town God came there for a rest.
Occasionally, there are one or two tea-drinkers who carefully make Tikuanyin tea (Iron Goddess Oolong) from Anxi and look at all flesh inside and outside the windows leisurely. They are the true stubborn waiting man in the tea shop. They usually sit in a comer beside the windows, and hold tightly their own silence. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow, another man with true name will stand and look outside where he sat.
In the past time, there are many similar old and famous teashops around the Mid-Lake Pavilion, for example Beamish Pavilion. Now these teashops have become the place selling tea sets. On this street called Shanghai Old Street, there is another little teashop called Shanghai Old Tea Shop. Except the sales of tea with faint scent, there is more threadlike nostalgic feeling. With the big films like lower. Years drawing a large audience, the 1990s Shanghai once again become another symbol chased by people of the new century. Whatever Zhang Ailing (a famous authoress born in Shanghai)or Xintiandi (an urban tourist attraction imbued with Shanghai historical and cultural legacies)mean to people, they are lust for the past that is always the most beautiful.
Crazy About Tea of Min Nan
If you do not come to Quanzhou, you will never know how fanatical the Min Nan people are crazy about drinking tea. In Quanzhou no matter in the shops, offices or the houses of ordinary people, the appearance could be crude and the furniture could be simple, but only the teapoy must be located in the most staring place of the room and it is absolutely can not be missing. The tea was packed by little vacuum package singly, like candies, whenever, only when the guests seated, the host, like magus, would hold out a package of tea from pocket, drawer or some other places, and invited the guests to drink together. (Cups did not count drinking tea te but by rinse, and one rinse means rinse all the tea completely)
So the life of whole Quanzhou city was beginning after drinking the first handleless cup of Oolong tea. When ail kinds of electrothermal bottles were boiling and rising out of water vapor, host brushed the cups dilatorily, and rinsed a cup of tea, poured the first cup,and then the tea could be fragrant. When they did that, perhaps they were talking something with you, but they were unconcernedly, ,because this was the time before they have drunk the tea. Men of Quanzhou became expressive and held forth after they drunk several cups of tea, there were also kinds of pose to adding tea, until the fragrant of Oolong tea enter their brains, this was the culmination of the first rinse.
Once by accident I entered an old house which was reserved beside the roadside, when the squeaky wooden door was opened, I saw a set of simple tea set was putting in the courtyard, and several chairs were dispersing, They were expecting those white headed hosts to come again and seat idly to talking something at ail times. This picture of simple scenery could affect people to have feeling of weeping, When time goes by, young became old, all the thing in beardless time were deposited little by little, how fervent I hope to make this warm scene as a sign of the end, and let all things melt into this mellow smelling of tea.
The habit of drinking tea here was putting a package of tea into a little handleless cup. Everyone rinsed the tea in the same way, as they were used to from childhood, but the number of cups was not decided, because people would join this rinse of savoring tea and chatting at any moment. So in Quanzhou drinking tea was not a decoration but a part of life, it was not morning tea of Guangdong people, because tea was not for enjoy delicious food; it was also not tea shot of Sichuan people, because it was not a special whither for dispatch time.
All through the time Quanzhou was a business city, autobikes and the flow of people were crowded in the narrow street, everyone looked very they busy, they were busy to go to the next aim, and they were busy to earn the next trade. But when they went back home, the noisy busyness was stopped, because there was tea.
If you want know the taste you should of Oolong tea, you should rinse one by yourself. Entering the ancient house tea pot situated near the Tumen street, you can see several old men listening to the man who told stories in Minnan dialect, the goldfish swimming and swinging their tails leisurely in the big stone-made urn which served as teapoy. The owner of this house must had been brilliant, in this ordinary narrow gate were a three-door big room. Have suffered the years, the became more unyielding, like chrysanthemum, statedly and kind. In the inner garden there are several tables of young people, they also drinking tea, playing chess and chatting, laugh can be heard every now and then.
Tea is ready, on the little square teapoy, the slender blebs were dancing reelingly in the glass teapot, turned into smoke and flee out, scooped a full spoon of tea, put into the white tea cup, and when you poured the water you can feel the wave of the tea stretching of its body. Brushing the cup, pouring the tea, smelling the fragrant smelling, everything is so natural. The faint smelling of the tea was poppling in the air, and the old audience were dispersed gradually; only the mynah was remained and cried out something in Minnan dialect, the waitress with long plaits was laughing and playing and she changed the water for the goldfish in the stone-made urn,someone kneaded eyes and came out the room, this morning will also begin with the Oolong tea.