Tag Archive: chinatown

Xiaomanyc lived in Beijing for a year and has excellent Mandarin and Cantonese and is also beginning to learn Fuzhounese, a very difficult language to master.

Day 5 — Wednesday, April 29, 2015 — Last Full Day (Part 2)

OMG there is a lot to see in Chinatown.



chinatown-lanterns-st scene


Laundry hanging on fire escapes:

chinatown-laundry on fire escapes







We sat in the tea room at Vital TeaLeaf and had samples of some amazing teas poured into tiny thimble-sized sake cups:

The wooden tray you see has slots in it to catch poured-over tea, a brewing technique. The ceramic dish holds samples of different textures of teas.

The wooden tray you see at the upper right has slots in it to catch poured-over tea, a brewing technique.
The ceramic dishes hold samples of different textures of teas.

The first one we tried was a rose tea. It was divine — the aroma. We also tried an oolong and a lychee tea, but I had to buy some of the rose tea to bring home:

chinatown-rose tea







Some super cool shops:

chinatown-dry goods shop

Dry goods.

An herb shop. If I'd thought of it, I could have brought along Rich's ingredient list for Dit Da Jow. ~KICK! KICK!~

An herb shop. If I’d thought of it, I could have brought along Rich’s ingredient list for Dit Da Jow. ~KICK! KICK!~


Ducks hanging in the window.

Ducks and chickens and quail hanging in the window.

We stood there too long taking pictures. You can see the angry frowny face of the vendor inside.

We stood there too long taking pictures. You can see the angry frowny face of the vendor inside.

Tim had me hide my camera away, and we went into a live fish market. Down a narrow, dimly-lit alley, lined with tank upon tank and plastic tubs full of overcrowded live fish. Water on the floor. Made our way all the way to the back, where there was a quail egg vendor with a window full of live quails. Tim and Alex blocked the view from the front so I could take a quick picture.

Poor little dudes. I'd have set them all free if I could...

Poor little ladies. I’d have set them all free if I could…

I could see the “no pictures” policy in a place like that; they might be afraid I was with the health department. On our way out, I spotted a bus bucket full to the brim with live clams. So fresh they were sticking their little tongues out and squirting water at each other, and you could see them twitching, too. Very fresh.

We got some dim sum and ate it on the street.

OMG more sesame balls!

OMG more sesame balls!

More architecture:

More dual-language signage.

More dual-language signage.

Building detail.

Building detail.

The Pyramid Building.

The Pyramid Building.

The really interesting stuff was down the narrow back alleys, though.

chinatown-alley-tim & alex

Remember during the second video of the cable car cables whining in the street? Tim was talking in the background about this hall where old men play dominoes all day long. You can hear the dominoes clacking from the street.


Sure didn’t want to get caught taking this picture.

Found a fortune cookie factory! It was mesmerizing watching this old lady pull the soft cookies off an ancient cast-iron machine and fold the little slips inside, then set each one in a slot to dry.

Tim & Alex.

Tim & Alex.

Another alley.

Another alley.

Alex and I went into the Tien Hau Temple, the oldest Taoist/Buddhist temple in the United States, and one of the only ones open to the “round-eyes.” (Sorry if that offends — send your angry emails to idontcare@getalife.com.) I was terribly reluctant to go in; I didn’t want to invade someone’s sacred religious space. Tim stayed outside on the sidewalk, reasoning that two gawkers was better than three, and that since Alex is Chinese, they could make up a story in their heads that sounds acceptable (son-in-law showing around auntie, for instance). We wound our way up four flights of ancient stairs, listening to some authentic clang-y gong-y Chinese music rattling on in the building next door.

The temple’s exterior.

The temple’s incense is what I’ll remember most. It was divine. There were a couple of dark carved wooden Buddhas, surrounded by offerings of money and fruit. Intricately carved and gold-leafed wooden friezes lined the walls. Hundreds of prayer flags hung from the ceiling. An old man sat near the door sorting something. We drank in the scene for a minute. I left a $5 donation.

Inside the temple. I didn’t take this picture — I found it on the net.

Loved this hand-painted ginseng sign.

Loved this hand-painted ginseng sign.

Right next to the ginseng sign was another alley off the alley, with its own gateway and guardian lion.

chinatown-alley gateway & lion

I got a shot of the inner alley, but it wasn’t much to look at.

chinatown-alley pix

chinatown-alley lion

An amazing Gothic church:



And then we were at the entrance to Chinatown, the famous Dragon Gate:

From the inside.

From the inside.

chinatown-dragon gate-me waving

chinatown-dragon gate detail

chinatown-dragon gate-underside

chinatown-dragon gate-me & alex

Next post: Wine Night @ the Dog Park ~ Dinner Party ~ Returning Home




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