Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tool collection at the private tea museum

Yixing clay pot making tools
Tibetan milk tea making tool
Pre-electric version of tea rolling machine

Sha Qing Tong - Kill green drum

Tea collection at a private tea museum

Qian Liang Cha - 1000 Liang Tea
A giant Fu Zhuan - Black tea brick from Hu Nan
A Jian of Pu-erh 7 sons cakes in original wrapping
A stack of pu-erh tuo

Centrol government tea gift
100 years Song Ping Hao
Red label
Chunk of a Qian Liang Cha - 1000 Liang Tea (Black Tea)
Giant Tuo of Pu-erh

Pai Fang Jie - Archway Street

Archways are built as memorial statues to commemorate special events, usually assigned by the government through out the history. There used to be more than 100 memorial archways on this street. Due to the ages of the structure, fallen stones endangered passersby, hence all were taken down, only about 30 are rebuilt in new structures today.

They are lit up at night. I am not very fond of this modernization of the tradition. Some times you just can't mix the new and the old.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guang Ji Lou - Chao Zhou

Guang Ji Lou is built above the city wall surrounding the city of Chao Zhou.
Ma Zu Miao - a temple next to Guang Ji Lou for Ma Zu whom protects fishermen at sea.
Over looking Guang Ji Jiao (bridge), entrance of the bridge.
A building about 500 yards away from the main Guang Ji Lou above the city wall. There are 2 of these buildings on both sides of the main building, symmetrically over looking Han Jiang (river).

Chinese combine bureaucracy, military, religion and everyday life together at one spot. One does not separate from another, there is something meaningful about this togetherness. I'll have to look up the history about it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guang Ji Qiao - Chao Zhou

Located on Han Jiang (river), Guang Ji Qiao (bridge was built for the purpose of tax collection. Chao Zhou has long been a sea port for oversea exporting goods, mostly to the South East Asia, even today. Large number of Chao Zhou people have been living over seas for hundreds years, bringing home cash to the family in Chao Zhou has long been the financial support of the locals. Water way were the only transportation route for exporting good back in the days, so the best way to collect tax is over the bridge.

Both ends of the bridge are stationed with bricks and mortar, the middle section is connected with movable wooden boats. Passing boats would pay the fee, went through the mid section, traveled out to the sea via Han Jiang. Today, it no long serves this purpose. Each morning, the small boats are moved aside for passing by boats, then closed again for the rest of the day. It's now a tourist spot, cost 50 RMB to be on the bridge. It's one of the 4 most famous, well preserved and unique bridges of China.

I have seen many bridges during this trip. Each bridge is unique and beautiful. What I like about the Chinese ancient bridges are their functionality, not only they connect one side of the water way to another, they provide coverage for the rainy days and protects passerby from the hot sun. If so you like to watch the water shimmer and run by you, you may spend a moment of life here on the bridge, it's romantic by itself. To meet someone, say a date, you can pick the bridge as the location, whoever's waiting at the bridge can enjoy the pictorial view and became part of the picture as others view you. A bridge this beautiful can not be missed or get mixed up as one might have to call and ask "I am at startbucks, but I don't see you, which startbucks are you at now?" I love water, whenever I see water, my mind calms as an effect. How I wish to have such beautiful bridges in LA.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chao Zhou Kai Yuan Xi

Chao Zhou being far away from the political center for centuries (even today), has avoided many man made disasters, hence preserved some of the oldest architectures in the world. Kai Yuan Xi (temple) was built in the Tang Dynasty. Most of the artifacts survived the brutal cultural revolution in recent history. Chao Zhou culture has influenced many South East Asian Countries, especially Thailand. The roof decoration uses the exact same technique using small colorful tiles for pattern making.

Monday, December 21, 2009

White Tea Plantation

Love tea flowers! Tis the season for blooms. They smell slightly fragrant at closed up.
High mountain organic white tea plantation. At high altitude, tea trees do not produce any new growth during winter.

Ladies are hand clipping tree crown for more new growths next spring.
Look how densely planted are these tea trees. This will limit the height of trees as intended. Constant clippings for more side branch growth, in turn bigger crown for more new growths in growing season. Farm style tea planting is drastically different from Dan Cong trees. There isn't enough space for the tea plants to grow as shown below. These trees are about 20 years old.This is how Dan Cong is planted (pictured below), sparingly and spacious in between tea plants, other tall trees are grown among each small tea plantation area for protection by creating micro climate in each small area. These are also 20 some years old Dan Cong trees un-pruned.
I personally do not like the look of this kind of bare looking tea plantations. It's not scientifically planted as well. When cool or warm air hit the mountain, there aren't barriers to protect the plants. In case of insect storm, the entire plantation could be destroyed.

Something is meant for large quantity, and others are meant for quality, health of tea trees and the environment. Good looks can be deceiving eh? :P