North America | United States of America (USA) | California | San Francisco – Shopping for China
I never thought I’d be so cheesy. But here I am, wandering up Powell St. in the SF Chinatown amongst shops that carry anything from ivory statuettes to hello kitty dolls just like a tourist. My mission was to find gifts to bring on my trip to China, and I figured no one knew Chinese consumers better than the Chinese merchants.
I picked up some deep sea shark oil while Daniel gawked at the chicken feet and halved fish. He’s going to be in more even bigger shocks for the rest of the trip. Walking past a lone protestor for an independent Taiwan, we stopped by my favorite spot in Chinatown, Taiping Tea House on the corner of Powell and Broadway.
The whispering guests, laquered furniture, and the Chinese harpist rendered some peacefulness amidst the hubbub. The owners are a husband and wife team, both tea aficionados. They claim that the tea house is the only one of its kind in the entire country, and even some of these revival style tea houses in China were inspired by their establishment. Growing up in the communist, then fast-developing modern China, I linked the slow grace of this place to images of the idyllic aristocratic life that exist probably only in my imagination, even though most of the clients are non-Asians. Sometimes even I’m shocked by these fascinations and how ‘foreign’ I’ve become.