Saturday, March 31, 2007

Day at the lake .. Song Shan Wu .. Donngguan

Impressive location, for new hotel .. at the head end of the largest lake in the Dongguan City jurisdiction. Located between Da Ling Shan town and Da Lang town
At this time a little remote, but soon a transport network will build, currently takes about 7-10 min to get a car to come to hotel.
The no 2 wing is open (on left) Fit out on No 1 wing continues.A network of smaller lakes feed the main lake, locals make this a weekend fishing and picnic getaway.
Need more land .. Mei Wen Ti 沒問題 No Problem .. just move a near by hill and fill the hole
Construction workers; temp home .. these guys lucked out, and got a lake view, in the shade.
The world over, nothing changes .. Workers work .. supervisors; sits and thinks!!! Poster boy for what to do with your Hard-Hat

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pu-erh - Oolong & Cha Bei (六 盃 )

Nice collection of new teas:
Taiwan, Koa Shan Oolong & Xiaguan Tuocha Tea (Grade A for Domestic Market) Heather, might have to fight you for these hand painted cups ..
Tea party on the balcony: ..Just arrived from Taipei, via express courier; Kao Shan Oolong Tea: We brewed 4 pots to share with friends in the office this morning. Very smooth, mild flavour, with pleasant after taste.

Xiaguan Tuocha Pu-erh Tea: .. Two at 250 gms. This style packaging: Tuocha, Bowl shape, Birds Nest, Bowl shaped brick. ( Green or Raw /Uncooked / Sheng 生 )
The ‘Xiaguan Tuocha Tea’ (Grade A for Domestic Market) produced by Yunnan Xiaguan Tuocha Co., Ltd. Yunnan Xiaguan Tea Factory. Developed for the first time at Xiaguan in 1902 with a registered brand called “Songhe”, trademark; Crane under a Pine tree.
This tea uses improved broad-leaf tea species from different famous tea mountains, and belongs to the series of top grade compressed tea. The tea is a bowl-shaped mass of leaves, regular in shape tightly-compressed, with shinny luster and strong scent. It’s liquor looks bright yellow, taste is refreshing with sweet aftertaste.

Morning Flowers

Hi Robbie, thought you'd like these: ..
Beautiful table flowers in club room: .. DSC02823
DSC02822

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How to store your pu-erh tea

During the past few days some questions came up about Pu-erh tea.
Why is it called; “Pu-erh" ?Pu-er, Pu-erh .. English representation of very old, Yuan Dynasty (1271 ~1368), town name: 普耳 in Yunnan Province (雲南 "south of the clouds").
Pu-erh town was the collection/staging point for tea produced in the surrounding areas, being readied for shipment on the “Old Tea Horse Road.” “Cha Ma Gu Dao”
Now the modern town of: Xishuangbanna (西雙版納) easy for you to say!
What's the best/right way to store Pu-erh ?With friends living in various regions of the world, Temp and Humidity are main concern that affect tea in storage.
The most important being:-Avoid direct sunlight.
-Avoid other fragrances. (Kitchen - Cigarettes - perfumes- etc)
-Maintain a humidity level of 60% to 85%
-Maintain a proper air flow.
-Avoid wide fluctuation of temperature.

Importance of Humidity:
A certain level of humidity is required to allow proper fermentation. Humidity levels as high as 85% are ok, provided there is proper airflow, to dry the tea and allow some period with a lower level of humidity around 60%.
In California, I have No special temp. humidity controls, normal house temp. With slightly dryer air, tea will take a little longer to age. If it gets too dry I supplement using small bowl of water or damp cloth, adjacent to tea in storage.

Keep the bamboo leaves on bundles:
The bamboo leaves will help to protect the tea from excess humidity because when the weather gets a little bit humid, the fiber from the bamboo leaves expand thus blocking the humidity.

Storage:
Storing cooked (black)and raw (Green) pu-erh tea together?
(That's how they are in the shop when you you buy it!)
It’s ok to store cooked and raw pu-erh together in the same room. It’s also possible to mix them for storage, mixing them together, will allow teas to benefit from each others fragrances.

However, Purists will always prefer to store raw pu-erh away from cooked pu-erh even storing pu-erh tea from different factories separately so that the characters of the tea are not mixed.
Some have specially constructed Tea Cellars (like storing wine) with sophisticated control systems. They use the annual control charts to back up claims when they sell their tea.

Main thing is to enjoy your hobby .. the are; NO Hobby Police.

New day, New Hotel, New Tea Pot

China lifted their Block on "Blogs" .. good to be in contact again ...
About 8:45pm .. managed to start setting up in new digs (nice digs at that)
Moved out of Hui Hua in Chang Ping .. just too much construction noise .. will miss the location and proximity to all Chang Ping has to offer ..
Now at the; Hyatt Regency Dongguan Song Shan Lake. A true stand out in this area of China.
Sitting room .. looks like tea time: ...DSC02797

DSC02798 

DSC02814

DSC02812

DSC02816 The Song Shan Lake development is world class planning. Approx 75 Square Kilometers developed by one of Hong Kong's Very rich;  Mr. Lee.
Lets see if I can capitalize on rural setting and get out and run!!!!

I went over to Liang An (Twin Straights) for a light dinner. This gave us a chance to visit another tea buddy (pictures later) Could not resist this extremely well crafted pot. Very simple with good ergonomics.
New Tea Pot:.... DSC02801 We spend most of our time drinking and discussing Pu-er .. "the market has really gone crazy" Demand and prices are on the hockey stick curve.  Do your homework before you buy Pu-er for investment. You must only deal with people you trust. Research information .. cross check what you find with at least two trusted sources. Buy it for the taste and enjoyment and you won't be disappointed.
In the tea game: ""Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est. Knowledge is power

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Book and movie review

Not new releases, but, I just got around to them:....
Movies:
The Prestige, enjoyable to watch, once, not as good as the Illusionist (good movie). Love on the Heath; (Scenes of a sexual Nature). Don't even waste your time .. made for a small audience, one that understands British (English) social culture and language .. an afternoon on Hampstead Heath (big park in London)Book: Wild File, formulaic, therefor predictable, characters established to fit the aging Hollywood action movie actors. Basically a book generated to become a movie.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Night shots

Saturday evening .. downtown Chang Ping
Heather this looking from out from your side .. night shot with New Century prominent The Hui Mai .. sister to Hui Hua hotel

Picture post ..

Here are a few pictures from around Dongguan area:
Home Depot or B & Q, the infamous DIY craze hits ChinaRobbie, this looks nice simple tub to take a soak in:Or we could go Japanese style: ....
Showers of all styles: ...Don't see much steel consturction in this area:Basketball after a days work:...
Thai Basil restaurant, in the foreigner section of Dongguan. New tea shop, just opened in January ..
Very nice, but pricey as its in the high rent district. Across from Thai Basil ..
Unlike most tea shops, this one is aimed and foreigners: .. items well displayed, uncluttered, prices displayed, and no atmosphere.
Ideas for room renovation:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Must be nice

Robin and Heather, just back from Hawaii .. Sean is off for a week in Mexico .. Matt's in Vietnam for 8 days ... me .. just enjoying work in beautiful Dongguan .. kind of like being in the UK without the cold and rain .. can't see the sky, but you live in hope that one day you might see the mythical yellow orb.

Robbie, glad you liked the movie review .. I watched 4 more DVD's this weekend .. so bad I could not watch them to the end .... Dave and I will go this weekend and try to get "300"
Bye the bye the Pu-er tea cake I sent home is a gift from Mrs Yang.
The 3 cakes of Pu-er I got on my last trip have doubled in value .. now selling for 400RMB
She offered to buy back for 300RMB ...

Planning a trip to the near by town of Cha Shan 茶 山 (Tea Mountain) and they say what's in a name.
In January I visited a supplier there and found the name fits ... pictures next week. also will get some pics of bowling ally.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

*blogs blocked ..

"It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him." JRR Tolkien.

Mainland China has blocked various free speech and information web sites .. not sure for how long. Still able to publish but cannot access blogs ... see message from Blogger Team
Hi there,
I'm afraid that your local government has been blocking all Blog*Spot pages from being shown within that country. I'm sorry about that, but unfortunately there's not much we can do. If you have access to another server, or if you would like to purchase a hosting service from another company, you can still use Blogger to publish your blog there, and you will probably be able to view the results.
Sincerely,
Nick
The Blogger Team.

Blog problems

Having various problems accessing Blogs .. might just be a "China" thing ..
I can get to my dashboard and manage the blog .. but cannot view mine or other blogs.
Also some Blogger help sites are not loading .. tried various PC's and service providers.

Robin and Heather made it back from Hawaii .. it'll take a few days to get adjusted .. more time at local beaches will help.

Matt is off to Vietnam for a weeks vacation. Hi first visit, will interesting to hear his first hand account.

Lot of activity in moving manufacturing from China into Vietnam! Cheaper and less government "bullshit" bureaucracy. Will be investigating this in some detail. This coupled with the emergence if India, will but pressure on China .. need to see a revision of the import/export/duty/regulations .. not only on the national scale but at the intera town-province level ... worse than the old days in Europe ..
Immediate reaction is to move in-land, away from current development areas. Lower labour-building costs but pay later in transportation and time to deliver ...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Good Oolong

One of my favorite Oolongs .. Taiwan High Mountain. This one has a strong flavour with no bitter / tannin taste. Also is forgiving in the brewing temp and steep time. Easy to brew when you have a couple of balls to juggle at the same time.This brew number five .. and the flavours and test are first rate .. a real treat to brew and enjoy.
As you can see; these are nice hand picked full leaves, not machine picked.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Prize Pu'er Tea

These fabulous cakes of Yunnan, Pu'er will age and appreciate over the next few years.
First:
A 400g cake from the; 2005 China Food Safety Annual Conference.
September, 23rd. -25th. 2005.
Second:
The commemorative Twin Golden Dragon Seal Package. No. 8627 of 9999.
From the: First Yunnan International Pu'er Tea Expostrade Fair.
September, 22nd. -26th. 2006

Seven Cakes at 150g each.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

House that Robin built

Robin, thx. for the pictures ... great to see you back in the digital picture world.
GREAT kids Play-House
I hope Ben and Ashley have as much fun in it, as we (Robin - Don and myself) had building it.
"Golden Rule" of home construction:
"Cut twice - eyeball often and go to home depot many"
Dutch doors and carriage lights, 90% complete ..

Makes you want to be a kid again, just to have a play house like this .....

All goes well

Lunch at; Thai Basil, extremely nice restaurant in Donngguan city. Located in a foreigner residential area, a section is all bars and restaurants. Lot of western residents and weekend Hong Kong'ers. Nice range of Thai and Indian foods, great Nan bread. As usual, too much food was ordered, so the take away box was well filled.

Hawaii update, Robin made a couple of very nice, typical Hawaii SCUBA dives, can't wait to see the video. Heather snorkeled most of the day.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Good places to find

Finding treasure is 90% looking and the other 90% is luck .. In a very local workers shopping area, 10min walk from Hui Hua, I found the; Boton (BoDeun) Food & Beverage restaurant.

A great find, good food, reasonable prices, wide rage of food types and cooking styles. Clean and light, a small gallery style 2nd floor over looks the larger first floor. Wireless Internet is provided and convenient AC power, a real find in a surprising location.
Andrew and Heather this one is for you ...
Next, was of all things a, Bowling Ally. Bizarre location, Old section of Chang Ping, at the boundary of industrial buildings, small general stores and apartments. The building looks like a High Class Bank !! The Marble recreation club .. American style bowling ally on the 2nd floor, sauna, exercise room and restaurant. Actually bowled a few games .. lets say, if I'd been playing golf, I'd have been proud for my scores ...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Table for 11 十一 人

Great Company .. Great food .. in Shi Wan, big surprise for our regular Chef. A couple of times a week its just the 4 of us .. tonight we have a party of 11 .. Everybody had a good time.
John, Matt, Sim, Ben, MK, TC, Mr. Huan & side of Dave's head.

Looks a fight for the check ..買單 (Mai Dan)
More of the crew; Mark (next to Mr Huan) Mr Jian and Dave (DJ)
Cheers TC .. 乾杯
NO Crazy finger!! 希奇古怪 指頭 不