Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Naked Tea Shop at West Lake, Hongzhou

Dear my loving readers and visitors,

The display board at the main entrance of the west lake.

The photo was taken at the main entrance of the west lake.

"Ripping water shimmering on sunny day,
Misty mountains shrouded the rain;
Plain or gaily decked out like Xizi;
West Lake is always alluring."

These are the words composed by the famous Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo (960-1127) when he compared the West Lake to Xi Zi, the most beautiful woman in ancient China. These poetic sentiments described the glory of the scenery that inspired human beings.

West Lake, Hangzhou
Originally a shallow sea inlet, due to the laying down of silt this 5.68 square kilometers (about 1,404 acres) of water became the famous West Lake. I was told that the depth of the lake is around 2.5 meter to 5 meter and the lake comprises five distinct sections. The largest part is known as the Outer Lake and it is bounded by the North Inner Lake, Yuehu Lake, West Inner Lake and Lesser South Lake.

Held in the embrace of hilly peaks on three sides, this water wonderland has been an attraction for centuries and it is small wonder that it was a favourite imperial retreat. The lake and its surroundings have all the elements of a traditional Chinese garden on a grand scale. The natural setting of strangely shaped peaks, serene forests and springs, dense foliage and a myriad of blossoms especially in springtime are enhanced by a treasury of sculpture and architectural features.

Lotus pond

Another natural spectacle site is the tidal bore of the Qiantang River that has enthralled people for centuries. Overlooking the river estuary stands the 13 story high Six Harmonies Pagoda. Dating from 970 and built on the site of an earlier pagoda that served as a lighthouse, the name refers to the six codes of Buddhism i.e. harmony of the body, speech and thought and the renunciation of personal pleasure, opinions and wealth. A climb to the top of the pagoda carries the reward of an impressive view over the river.

Crossing the river is the Qiantang River Bridge. This is the first two-tier bridge to have been designed and built by Chinese engineers in modern times. The other great feat of much earlier engineering is the Grand Canal. Linking Hangzhou in the south with Beijing in the north, this is the longest man-made waterway in China and surpasses both the Suez and Panama canals.

I trust the above briefing of the West Lake well describe the beauty of its scenery. You can be rest assured that the splendid and diverse landscape will remain long in your memory forever.

The above photo was taken inside of the tea shop - The naked tea shop, where the ambience is not like the normal ones.

I was having tea with my friend after we had our tour; by a small boat, cost us RMB 80 per boat and  light passenger vehicle (cost us RMB 40 per round trip) which it took us round the surrounding of the whole lake.

The weather at that time was high side, slightly more than 40 degree Celsius, and we decided to pop in the nearest tea house at the final stop of our tour. We ended up in the above tea house, not the convention type. I have my lemon tea ice while my friend have green tea. The ice lemon tea, which I seldom have, was a real thirst quenching. I could feel the effect almost instantly after a few sips of it. Some critics are against the cold tea as it is not good for health. However, the heat is overwhelming that caused me to give in to it. To more flexible, a change also good as it add colors to life.

Whereas my friend was having green tea instead - the local delicate drink. He was only drinking and not the tea leaves, despite I had advised him to eat the tea leave. Some believe that the tea leaves is of good health to human body. That's why the people there rather describe the act as "eat tea" rather than "drink tea", so as to give more appropriate meaning to it. If not of the heat, I would rather go for green tea. It also will enhance the blood circulation and causing good appetite, as a result of speeding up the digestion process.

The photo below tells thousands words and it well reflect myself being too exhausted. Thanks for the cozy environment in the restaurant that gave us a good shelter from the heat and we ended up with a long chat of our good old times there.

The photo below taken at one of the traditional tea shops across the road.

It's not unusual to see Chinese tea houses and modern cafes standing side by side, and amidst the modernity and bustle of the city, one can still find serenity and beauty in the vicinity of Hangzhou's famed West Lake.

I really have lots of fun after nearly spending my meaningful time at the Hangzhou West lake and I do encourage you do the same if you have the time.

Thereafter, we rushed to catch a cab to another place for a street walk and dinner before I call off my trip there. Beautiful China - may I visit you again..

Thanks for your time and hope to seeing from you again,

James Oh

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