I mentioned below that several new tea stores have recently opened in Ulaan Baatar. This Is certainly an improvement in the tea situation here, but the stores are still lacking in certain kinds of tea, namely Pu-Erh and the more unusual varieties of green tea. So I winged down to Beijing to stock up on what was not available here. From the second the plane left the ground in Ulaan Baatar to the second the door slammed behind me in my room in the Yong An Hotel in the Sanlitun Embassy District exactly two hours and forty-eight minutes had elapsed, a new record for me on the Beijing commute. This was aided by no line whatsoever at immigration and a bus leaving for Sanlitun the moment I stepped out of the arrival terminal.
I immediately called my friends Ms. R. and Rezwan and we all headed for our favorite Uighur restaurant not far from the Forbidden City.
Axis Mundi of the Tea Universe. In addition to the main four-story market which has dozens if not hundreds of stores selling nothing but tea and tea drinking accessories—cups, glasses, pots and whatnot of every imaginable variety–the street itself is lined with hundreds more tea shops.
A sight to make any tea lover swoon
Ms. R. is a hard-core bargainer and she was able to get most of the tea I wanted for one-fourth of the asking price. I won’t say there were not some heated exchanges between Ms. R. and the otherwise charming young ladies who served the tea and quoted the prices, but for Ms. R. all this was just water off a duck’s back.