Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A night cap. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

...A Sichuan teahouse is a unique place.  It usually sits in the embace of a bamboo grove or under the canopy of a large tree.  Around the low, square wooden tables are bamboo armchairs which give out a faint aroma even after years of use....a lid is sunk loosely onto the cup, allowing the steam to seep through the  gap, bringing out the fragrance of the jasmine or other blossoms.  Sichuan has many kinds of tea, Jasmine alone has five grades....Older men spend a lot of time there...The waiter has a kettle of hot water which he pours from a couple of feet away with pinpoint accuracy.  A skillful waiter makes the water level higher than the edge of the cup without it spilling over.
Customers go there to read, to meet and chat. There is often entertainment - storytelling punctuated with wooden clappers.
Perpaps because they had an aura of leisure, and if people were sitting in one they were not out making revolution, teahouses had to be closed...Pack up!  Pack up! Don't linger in this bourgeois place! No more chess playing! Don't you know it is a bourgeois habit?

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