18 September, 2007

Quick Tea-Related Update

Recent days have been spent

i. locked in a vast (vast, vast) Chinese university

ii. scouring Maliandao in a Brownian-motion sort of way

iii. sitting in tea-houses and playing Go/weiqi with my fellow engineers

There's not much of tea-related import to say regarding (i), except getting Chinese tea in a Chinese university is like pulling teeth - they all drink Lipton teabags (!). The photograph shown is a charming statue outside the arts faculty.

(ii) is a little more interesting, with a few finds of minor interest, and lots more bland tea encountered. I've been popping into Xiaomei's shop on my way past each time, and it reminds me a little of "Cheers". If you translated the Boston bar into a Beijing teahouse, changed the waiters for tea-vendors, and swapped Dr. Frasier Crane for a lecturer in Buddhist studies, you'd have Xiaomei's shop! It's a great place, and I've found a few things of interest in there.

(iii) is fairly self-explanatory, though it can be a little depressing to be playing the elegant game with people who are trying to find ways to write computer programs to "break" it, in the same way that Western chess has been broken. Business and pleasure do not mix!

Deep-fried silkworm chrysalis, anyone?


MarshalN said...

I think I've talked about the "Cheers" effect before, and Xiaomei's store is definitely a "Cheers".

Only some stores on Maliandao are like that. Others are not at all, as you probably noticed -- some are eternally empty.

If you keep going back to Xiaomei's you can find some interesting things there. Many are hidden. Have you tried those cooked bricks on the right of the table (along the wall)? Wet stored. Also, have you tried the "Orange Label" that LB and Xiaomei like a lot (and which I don't fancy as much)?

小 約翰 said...

Finding an oasis to mentally unwind within Beijing’s vastness is not an easy task. Software engineers are a separate sub-species, regardless of ethnicity, play erratically, and mess with their logic. john

speakfreely said...

So, how is that deep-fried silkworm chrysalis?

Steven Dodd said...

Solving Go should be pretty easy. Just create a state machine with every go board possible with moves to make in each case. There can't be that many :]

MarshalN said...

Oh yes, it's been tried

I think it takes a few years for a computer to make a move given current technology :)

hster said...

I prefer my chrysalis steamed the traditional Korean way. You can actually get these beasties canned or in a chip bag in the States. I don't think it's legal to import bugs for human consumption here so the Koreans label it as "Fish Bait". Despite the cartoon family snacking away in front of the bag, there hasn't been a chrysalis crackdown.