Virtuous cycle

Bartlomiej Owczarek weblog

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Most expensive tea ceremony

Wow, I must get out of this country fast, otherwise I will get broke in no time. Today 200$ come and gone.

In the morning I had no money so I changed the first 100$. I wanted to go to the Forbidden city. I was actually going there when I reminded myself that I’m still a bit sick and I needed more coca cola to cleanse the stomach. But in this annoying town you cannot buy coca cola or even water anywhere near the Mao’s corpse storage.

While I was walking looking for a drink and more and more pissed with the city, I met two very nice Chinese girls. Only one, Ping, spoke usable English, though. She said that they were going to the tea ceremony so I joined.

The tea ceremony was ok and I learned couple of new things, even though there seems to be a discrepancy of opinions as to what tea exactly should be made using a clay tea pot. Here they use it only for green tea. In Yunnan they told me that the pot is good for anything but green tea, which should be prepared in porcelain cup instead.

Tea ceremony scam

After the ceremony I bought the tea pot. 300Y together with a porcelain one, after some bargaining. The girls bought some tea without asking for the price.

In the end we get the bill – 2000Y! Tea ceremony was no exactly for free, it seems. And the tea costed 1000Y.

Suprisingly, the girls are little moved by spending 1000Y on the tea. Ping buys from me another 100$ note just to show off with her friends (she’s never seen dollars before). We found bookstore incidentally and I buy lots of textbooks and CDs for learning Chinese. Fortunately, the store accepts credit cards. Then suddenly it gets late and I miss Forbidden City, again.

But I come back to the square in the evening to walk around and make some pictures. Near the big gate with Mao on top of it I am approached by two girls who are art students and have their exhibition next doors. I go with them, after declaring that I’m not going to buy anything.

Inside I buy the lacquer painting of old Chinese master. The master wants 1000Y in the beginning, but it ends on 600.

Packing of painting

My new piece of art is very big and I don’t know how I will smuggle it to the plane on Sunday.

Update: read unexpected follow-up to this story.


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  1. September 25th, 2009 | 9:54 pm

    […] Most expensive tea ceremony […]