Tea ceremony with «students»
October-November 2008Before the trip I have already read a lot about the «students» that start talking with foreigners, and then, seemingly by chance the invite you to take tea nearby or come to the uncle's gallery to look at pictures. Aware of this trick, I decided to get into contact with these guys — Yiwei and Qinqin. At first there was no trickery as such. We talked, they invited and we went. Tearoom was at the second floor of the shopping mall not far from the People's square and Nanjing street. At the tearoom they immediately showed me the prices for tea, rather high, - just like in Moscow. They demonstrated teapots with disappearing and appearing from heat images, made different teas. One fruit tea was rather tasty. They also showed a trick with the flower that opens in the glass of water. After the ceremony they proposed to buy teapots and tea.
At the end an unpleasant surprise was waiting for me — it can be thought as a con for money. It is a charge of 100 yuans ($15 USD) per person for the ceremony proper and 100 yuans per person for the room where tea party was held. So, apart from paying for tea, I had to pay another 200 yuans ($30 USD).
In a couple of days I met my «tea friends» near the People's square. They were taking an American for a friendly cup of tea. I explained the situation to him, and the students have rapidly disappeared at that time.
In Beijing «tea-students» tried to talk to me only at the Tiananmen square, in Shanghai — at the People's square, Nanjing street and Wai Tan embankment.