After the a final ride in the rickshaws we visited the bell and drum towers. These towers signaled the open and closing of the city gates at one point in Beijing’s history. At 5am in the morning the bell tower would ring thus signaling the nine city gates to open. In the evenings the drums were beaten for fifteen minutes. This signaled the closing of the gates for the evening. The time was kept by sundials and water clocks.
In the bell tower we did a tea ceremony. I absolutely love hot tea; it is a glorious drink that allows you to play with different flavors. China has fantastic tea. They have been growing and drinking the stuff long enough to know what they are doing. There are over 3,000 types of tea in China.
We were taught how to properly brew the tea and how to hold the small tea cups with three fingers. The first three sips from the cup mean happiness, long life, and good luck – in that order. We tried a variety of teas: Ginseng Oolong, Jasmine, Pu’Er, and Red Tea. For whatever reason I didn’t take notes on what the Ginseng Oolong tea can do for the body but I did write down the others.
Jasmine: Good for the liver and eyesight
Pu’Er (Black Tea): (the older the better – i.e. 30 years old) good for blood pressure and cholesterol. It is supposed to help with weight loss and constipation. Don’t put sugar in it but honey is okay.
Red Tea (Lychee Rose): Good for blood circulation and sleep. It has a sweet flavor.
I took some of the Ginseng Oolong home with me. As we left the bell tower there was an older man out front and he was bouncing this feather rubber ball like a hacky sack. I tried it and do not have the dexterity. Needless to say, it was impressive.
From the towers we we headed to the airport. We were on the way to Xi’an to experience the fantastic sight that is the Terracotta Army. As always, if you enjoy my blog please consider buying me a cup of coffee.