I had no idea that a tour on King Street South, to Tsue Chong Fortune Cookie Company and the Wing Luke Museum, would transform into a “tea” adventure for the European Muslims.
One of them caught me off guard by asking me if she could buy a tea ball shaped like a marble, which blooms into a flower when hot water is poured on it.
If tea is what they want, that’s easy to find in Chinatown/International District. We have hundreds of kinds of tea all over this community. The only problem was that we only had five minutes left and their bus was waiting outside my office. Then, I remembered that New Century Tea Gallery is next to my office. It had those magical tea balls, wrapped like a caterpillar’s cocoon.
They’re not cheap. They’re about $2 each.
Had they told me earlier, I would have started the tour at the tea shop so everyone would be able to sample the free tea, experience the tea ceremony, and watch the tea flower bloom inside the tea cup.
I have hosted many international groups before, but they never have time for shopping.
Watching them shop was like watching little kids get excited for their first New Year presents. While my guests had fun exploring and asking sophisticated questions about tea, their escort kept bugging them to leave because they were running late.
It was supposed to be an educational visit to learn about the struggles of a minority newspaper in America.
Yet, the tiny precious tea and the tea cups they bought could have been the most memorable item for these folks during their month-long visit in America. ♦