Archive for February, 2007

Tijuana, Mexico

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

CIMG1853.JPGIt seems like the compulsory day trip for anyone who goes to LA is to take the bus down to Tijuana, Mexico.  I was warned “it may be boring”, but as I said I have never been there. I insisted. Silly me, listen to your elders!! Having had lunch at 11am… we were dropped off a it’s one shopping strip – each shop pretty much the same. Hassled to come in, to have a look at porcelain figurines, pleather, and other nick nacks you’ll wish you didn’t spend your money on. 


Dragon Well Green Tea

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

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Dragon Well Green Tea is one of the most well known and reputable brands in China.  Originating from Hangzhou, a city which is known for its beautiful West Lake, the tea is highly prized for its pure flavour, and health benefits.  Green tea has been shown to be high in antioxidants, which are said to reduce the risk of cancer.  It also is an excellent palate cleanser after a meal and also for me a detoxer.  It’s also said to aid in weight loss through speeding up your metabolism!  Well, medical research aside… the tea is grown in vast fields lining both sides of the road.  The beautiful, neatly groomed bushes grow to waist height and are in perfectly manicured rows.  Apparently, traffic is forbidden in the evenings, in order to reduce pollution in the tea.  Each leaf is handpicked by workers – and only the young buds. Painstaking work, which is why it is fairly expensive.  Next, it is dried again by hand, in a metal basin, and also sorted according to its quality. First grade costs 240 Yuan for 125g (ie A$40), second grade costs 120 Yuan (ie $20), and third grade costs 160 Yuan (ie $16.67) per 125g.  We were given the best grade to try at the shop, but only dared to buy the lower quality one, lest it get confiscated at customs!

CIMG3192 (Small).JPGThe tradition is that if you are poured a full cup, it means “drink it and leave, you are not welcome”, but being poured half a cup means that you are welcome to stay as long as you like. You thank the pourer of the tea by tapping your index and third finger on the table 3 times near the cup, to say “Thank you very much”.  And the chinese say to come and “eat tea”, because the leaves are also edible.


The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

IMG_6368 (Small).JPGFrench Renaissance meets hip night club is the best way I can describe this super chic unconventional high tea venue (ie not a stuffy posh hotel).  Walking up the stairs, you feel like you’re entering a nightclub. Pitch black - save for the tea light candles lining each side of the stairs. Then, when you reach the top, it opens up to an intimate, swanky nightclub/lounge like venue, with clusters of women sitting in circles on plush lounges,  antique armchairs and French style chairs.  Towers of dainty food on tiered stands appear like towers above their heads on the coffee tables interspersed with all sorts of tea paraphernalia and flutes of champagne.  


Tea Ceremony Chinese Style

Monday, February 19th, 2007


One night on our holiday we were booked in to see the Peking Opera in Beijing.  As we sat down, we were delighted with the most death defying tea pouring ceremony, where a man dressed in traditional silk outfit came with a copper teapot with a 1 metre long, skinny spout!  He did a few twists and turns which involved swinging the teapot, twirling it like a baton and resting the spout over his shoulder from various angles, with the pot an arm’s length away!  (more…)