Our tea house hostess was a lovely young woman with a serene expression. Our relaxation started to set in the moment she bowed and began. We were about to be treated to Chinese tea, expertly measured, steeped, and served on the fourth floor veranda of a Yuyuan Market tea house.
In soft quiet tones she shared the origins of each tea we sipped. With the ease of familiarity, and reverence, she handled her tools of textured tea leaves, pots of steaming water, containers, and painted cups. She brought us along as witnesses to her culture, and tradition.
Little tumbleweeds dropped into warm water bloomed into flowers before our eyes. Delicately fragranced steam rose from our warm cups and soothed our faces.
The carved wooden fretwork of the veranda framed a view of two opposite Shanghai worlds. Huddled below us were 400 year-old pagoda shaped tile roofs. Slick towers of glass stood at the distant edge.
We delighted in this quiet tea house nestled among some of the oldest Shanghai buildings. For a while, we were sheltered from the chaotic city of 25 million people living in the canyons of steel and glass.