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?