Red Circle Tea

Happy Birthday Guan Yin

Happy Birthday Guan Yin!

Today is Guan Yin’s birthday, the Goddess of compassion. She is also the goddess who gave the gift of tea to all people. In particular she was thanking one man for taking care of her temple when all others had forgotten her.  Generous Lady.  Moral?   It pays to remember to be respectful to those who may -or may not- have much to appear offer in return, because…. You never know!  Today is a good day to quietly thank Guan Yin for each leaf of tea we enjoy.

This morning I’ve landed at the airport in Hangzhou – the weather is springtimey here; the cherry trees are blooming and girls are wearing light weight clothes. It’s not at all like the frigid cold snap of last year where the arctic wind burned your skin on contact. No, this is a mild spring, with a gentle breeze and the promise of a long and delightful summer ahead.  This bodes well for the tea harvest.

As the taxi takes me from the airport into town, I notice here how the feel of this city is tight and restrained. Things are small and compact here, and admittedly, this is a much smaller city than Guangzhou or Hong Kong. But there’s a small town feel to it as well that it hard to define. In Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, there are at least a few signs in English. Here, there are none.  I am being steeped in China (hahaha), and if my Chinese fails me, there is little or no help in English available.  All that’s left is that silly international sign language that leaves both people feeling goofy and unsure of what’s next.

Check out Red Circle Tea's 2011 Green tea selection here.

Finally, together, my taxi driver and I find my destination.

It’s noon, and the rest of today is my day to play. I’m waiting at the JW Mariott which is kinda swanky, for friends from San Francisco just happen to be here at the same time I am.  We’re meeting up for a day of shopping and sight seeing. It’s their first time to Hangzhou, so we’re off to Low Wai Low, a very famous restaurant on the Lake. The food is indescribably delicious. I think if it’s possible Guan Yin gave mankind a second gift, it might be the chef at Low Wai Low.

Then, we’re off to explore the old marketplace, to buy some of the best handmade fans China has to offer and seek out delicate paper cuttings. If you have not seen these, they look like lace and you could be forgiven for thinking they were laser cut. But they are hand done, with incredibly sharp scissors with a large handle and blades like a sparrow’s beak.  It is an impressive art dating back hundreds of years, and this is one of the few places in the world where they can be found in this quality.

Tomorrow morning: the tea fields of Shi Feng, Mei Jia Wu, and exploring the exquisite world of Dragonwell.

  • Janine says...

    Hello from Beijing, Sina, and I am just catching up with your wonderful blog and your travels. Thank you so much for meeting us in Hangzhou - we had a wonderful time. I think our friends in Beijing are a little envious of our trip and our time at Lo Wai Lo. Looking forward to reading about the rest of your travels (and maybe tasting that Presidential tea in SF? ;) … <3

    On Apr 01, 2011

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