A teahouse whe
Ihave visited a number of ancient water towns, often to leave feeling disappointed. The cafés with modern interiors, the stores selling cheap versions of cheongsam dresses, the silver trinkets and sometimes tacky souvenirs, and even the stench of stinky tofu stalls.
The traditional, easygoing lifestyle that local residents there followed for thousands of years — the soul of the ancient towns — seems to have gotten swallowed up by crass commercialism and a loss of charm.
Just like other ancient towns, Qibao Old Street in Minhang District has become a popular tourist attraction. It’s only about a 40-minute drive from downtown Shanghai.
As I strolled through a shabby back alley and over a stone bridge there, I found a hidden gem — the Qibao Teahouse.
It’s located in an area of shops selling local culinary specialties like pig’s trotters and boiled lamb. But it’s more than just a site for having a cup of tea. The teahouse features a placard outside announcing entertainment on tap for the day. Perhaps a performance of traditional storytelling, which originated in the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279).
When I stepped into the teahouse, the customers — all elderly men — looked me up and down. I suppose that they seldom see younger women there.
Even the mosquitoes gave me a “warm welcome,” resulting in six insect bites in half an hour.
“The elderly patrons are mainly in their 70s and 80s,” said a female cashier surnamed Wei. “The oldest is in his 90s. Your young skin is much more inviting tha mosquitoes of cou portunity to bite y
I paid 20 yuan (US performance. That sive than advertise
“The price went explained.
How had that af asked.
“It goes without “That you think th sive, let alone the o
Nevertheless, the crowded. Of its si nearest to the antiq was the most pop people seated th among themselves eye on passers-by o
No doubt becaus some of the old men in a local dialect. T seemed to center a tionships, politics, and food bought in
“I leave home at and walk 30 minut every day,” said an “It’s my daily routin away around 20 ye here to pass time.
The Qibao Teahouse combines traditions of drinking tea, socializing and watching storytelling performances.
A storyteller gives
A laohuzao, or liter traditionally used t remains in the teah