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A Lazy Day for AsiaWheeling

Catching the Olypmic Spirit

We here at AsiaWheeling are in the business of raging trough the east and delivering the finest correspondence we can muster right back to you, dear reader. But there must be, in even the most savage of journeys, a moment when one catches one’s breath. On our last day in Xi’an, we lazed and worked on correspondence in Jie’s apartment.

We strolled out for a late lunch with Jie’s room mate, a fascinating woman who makes a living in the design of oil-based power plants. We dined at an interesting restaurant, with the simple minimalist theme of hot water. They had burners in each table, and the meal was started with a little performance of sterilizing the dishes and utensils in a boiling pot of water. Also, rather than tea, pots of hot water were served. Somehow the, even with the ceremony of sanitation, and the very Chinese menu, I could not shake the feeling that this place had something very in common with the Outback Steakhouse.

Xian Lunch

As we were finishing the meal, I inquired of Jie as the the nature of a shrine which sat in the upper corner of the room. She explained that this was part of a Chinese religion for business men. They worshiped the gods of profit, those who staved off inclement markets. I found this fascinating, and photographed the small shrine. There are in fact temples for this religion too. I am told you cannot photograph these though. So, if I have done something heinously offensive here, let me know in the comments.

A business Shrine

I had bought a certain black tea in Kunming, which had proven to be utterly delicious, and I was interested in finding some more. So Jie took us to a very nice tea joint of which she was friends with the manager. On our arrival, they began to make us cups after cup of of tea. We sat and chatted for some time before we even began to attempt to isolate the brand that I might want to buy. We explained to them what we were looking for, and the manager began to produce a number of sealed, colorful bags. We tasted these and then indulged in some more hemming and hawing, tea tasting, and Jie’s mentioning to us that it has been airing on the Chinese news recently that America’s work-week has been shortened to 4 days (if this is actually true… I am flabbergasted).

Stop Drinking Free Tea

We found the correct tea, and also discovered that even the smallest package was 20 dollars. This was substantially more expensive than I had planned, and now we were put in a situation. As it became obvious that we were not going to purchase the tea, Jie turned the us and hissed, “Stop drinking free tea!.” Then began an elaborate process of extracting ourselves from the place without offending the woman, and with only Scott and myself looking like asses. Scott deftly wielded his Chinese and Jie blushed. I sat there stupidly. And then we were outside walking again. As far as I can tell, things went well. Scott helped me to overcome my guilt at drinking free tea and we went back to laze and work on correspondence. Before we knew it, it was time to leave for Beijing.

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