Stone Basin

Stone Basin
at Ryo An Jin

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Day 1 at home in Hong Kong

May 3
Arrived into HK at 6 am. The flight was seasonably empty, the other passengers civilized, I had two seats, and the other woman was asleep the entire trip. No crying babies. Off to a great start.
Supposed to meet up with Sebastian Beckwith of In Pursuit of Tea at 10am, so I hit the ground running. Mr. In Pursuit is a long time adventurist and traveller. He of course could not be counted on to get lost or be late, even if he couldn't tell the difference between Mandarin or Cantonese. It was all Korean to him, he said.
We were supposed to meet at our friend Wing Chi Ip's beautiful,classic teahouse at the Hong Kong Park, next to the tea museum. Sebastian didn't recognize me until I was within 2 feet of him and close enough to smack him. It's because he's over 6 ft tall and white, and I am just the perfect size to blend seamlessly into the crowd in Hong Kong. Even the toilets are the right size for a change. Indeed, I feel at home.
We enjoyed a short selection of vegetarian dim sum (made by nuns I am told) and of course, proper servings of tea. I had an An Ji White, which was more of a needle green. Seb stuffed the almond covered caramel chocolate sticks I brought with me as a gift, melted from the sweltering HK heat. Wing Chi did not arrive until our second foray back to that teashop, after we went to visit with his Japanese employee at the Ladder St. shop. Almost exclusively enjoyed by European and Japanese tourists I noticed. Yuki his employee is from Nara, Japan, but lives in HK and makes great tea. She also speaks good Cantonese, amazingly enough, giving people hope everywhere that you don't have to be born speaking it to speak it. We tasted lots of Cliff Teas which WC favors. Then, I whipped out the new Phoenix Honey Dan Chong for WC to judge, and he deemed it extremely good quality considering I only paid 10 percent more than last year. All teas are going up in price this year and going down in quality, because of greedy Pu Erh trading and Global Warming. Yes, it's getting hotter everywhere. I remember the puddles I made just standing still, the sweat shooting out like bullets.
I am unhappy to report that the food situation was sub standard today. Other than some nice dim sum at Wing Chi's Lock Cha, the noodles we had for lunch was soggy and the dinner was strange Shanghai fare. It's weird to order anything without pig's blood soup, they said, so I might as well get on with it and stop this vegetarian nonsense. I didn't tell Sebastian that part about the pig's blood because he will have turned a whiter shade of pale. So we ate and decided we had to have a drink at Lan Gui Fong, the pub street for ex-pats. After a couple of beers and lots of brain storming for a new URL for In Pursuit of Tea, I passed out from jet lag and knocked over my beer. That was my great adventure of the day.Sebastian would have liked to kick me, but he was carrying about 100 lbs. of luggage up and down the cobblestone streets of Hong Kong for me.


ying-ling said...

Have some great vegetarian food in Taiwan.


henry814 said...

thanks for keeping us updated! looking forward to hearing more about your trip as it progresses...