Today was a pretty good 2nd last day in China . . . although I spent most of the morning and afternoon indoors because it’s now like an outdoor sauna in Changsha with an average temperture during the day of 35 and with humidity factored in you get 40+ . . . ugh!
Julianne and I did venture out around 6pm to go to a tea house downtown with our student assistant and his girlfriend. I didn’t know what to expect but hoped it would be nice–and it was awesome!
I brought along my Canon 1v film camera because I wanted to shoot the last 10 frames on the roll in it. I should have brought my Canon 400D (aka Rebel Xti or Kiss Digital X) because the outside of the tea house had traditional red lanterns and wooden architecture! I’ll post the film pics I took after I get them processed in Canada. I really hope they turn out well because the tea house was a fantastic last outing to do with our friends.
Inside the main entrance there were traditional clay pots and cups made by artists who specialize in the methods. We then headed up some really old looking wooden stairs that sagged a little when I stepped on them which made me a little apprehensive. On the second floor we walked into a beautiful large open room with high ceilings.
In the center of the room was a four-wooden-pillar covered seating booth with old tree stump stools and wonderful looking cups and a tea set. The lighting was calming and Julianne and I were impressed with the general atmosphere. Wooden Buddha statues, clay traditional tea pots and cups, herbal teas, and other traditional tea house decor gave the place a very wonderful look that, yes, I keep emphasizing, lol.
We were led by a short Chinese woman (not wearing high heels!) in a traditional flower print dress down a hall with paper lanterns and traditional style wooden paneling on the walls to a small room with four chairs and a table. We sat down and a few minutes later the woman came back with a traditional tea set.
In South Korea I was fortunate enough to have experienced traditional Buddhist tea ceremonies on more than one occassion so I was very curious to see how it would be the same and/or differ. From what I remember it seems like the woman only did about half of the steps I recall witnessing by a Korean English teacher and friend who studied for years with a Japanese traditional tea ceremony master. Also, the tea set she used seemed rather cheap although the tea itself (green tea) was fantastic in quality.
We also had plates of fruits (watermelon, canteloupe, etc) and it went very nicely with the green tea. Julianne and I talked with our friends for nearly two hours, and had a great time discussing everything from cultural differences in Chinese family upbringings to education system differences to how Julianne and I met for the first time . . . it was a really nice evening.
I’m still kicking myself for not bringing my digital camera because the instant upload to the Net and blog about it convenience was absent–but that’s part of the pleasure and fun of film photography.
I’m just hoping that half of the 10 frames I shot are ‘upload worthy.’
Anyways, time to go do some packing.
Only one day left in China–woo!