Posted by Glen at 7/21/2007 1:56 PM
It might as well be 1920 and I have just finished an excruciatingly exhausting day in the field, in search of great things to present at Primitive. I feel like I am on the Orient Express, which I have just rushed to catch, slumped in my compartment, wearing a wrinkled linen suit, my Pandora, the most reliable sunshield I know, swaying on a hat hook as the train begins to chug along. Loosening my tie, I catch the scent of a cup of oolong tea, which the porter has graciously placed in front of me, perhaps because he has seen how disheveled I’ve become in my rush to make the train. It is not the day’s events that stick in my mind, but the porter’s courtesy, and curiosity, which he displayed as he examined my sorry appearance and brought me that glorious cup of tea.
But I am not on the Orient Express. I am at the Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou, China, a sparkling new facility opened only a couple of years ago. It is another piece of evidence of China’s modernization, its rise to first world status. But some things, no matter how fast China grows, will not be left behind, and tea is one of them. China is the birthplace of tea. It is a tea culture.