Monday, April 28, 2008

Moving to a Great New Location

Trust me I am going to load all of the China images and blog writings just as soon as I get a minute, I thought China was a whirlwind!

The day before leaving for China I signed a lease on a new office/warehouse location that is 4 times the size of the Lake Worth location. We were desperate for the space and since everything happened so smoothly I knew this was the one.

When I left for China I left the thought and planning of everything that needed to be done behind. Funny but it was right there waiting for me to return. So after 2 1/2weeks of working everyone day and night we made the move on Friday.

My husband said that my renovation/move schedule was aggressive and believe me I could not have pulled it off without the help of many, many people.

Cody headed up the crew with great ideas on how to save money and conserve energy. Penelope, along with my dedicated, patient friends, Barbara, Riza and "the roller" aka Warren gave the place personality and color.

Everyone took advantage of the tea perks. Having just returned from China there was lots of great tea and laughs. Cody never had anyone bring him tea at the top of a scaffold before!!

Matt, our fork lift driver,shifted and moved stuff on numerous occasions for floors, doors, ceiling insulation and then headed up the physical move. My son who can't paint at all, but was a great help in lifting, hauling and bring food when we were hungry. My husband for lending moral support and keeping the business running in my absence.

There are too many names to mention but thanks to all who pitched in and kept going even when they didn't want to. All of us at Teas Etc are excited to begin the next phase of our journey and growth and are grateful to everyone who supports the business in every way.

More pictures and updates to come. Until next time, Beth

Friday, April 04, 2008

Returning and Visiting Shanghai

Returning to Shanghai after a few very long days I am catching up on some much needed rest and look forward to a couple of days of unpacking only once! I will be heading back home soon and I have to say that I am tired of packing.

I took time to get my hair done, very different then in the US, about a 15 minute massage by the shampoo girl. I wandered around an Indonesian mall which had many familiar stores. I was reminded of my friend Tiffany when I stumbled across a Hello Kitty store, apparently very popular here. I especially enjoyed strolling the European clothing stores.

Amy and I also took some time to see the Bund area of Shanghai. This lovely water front is located in an upscale area of Shanghai. With its beautiful views, lush landscaping and skyscrapers the Bund is sprinkled with eateries including Starbucks, Haagen Dazs and McDonald's. Starbucks was busy and unlike anywhere else they had 2-3 stores located within a couple of blocks of one another, suprising!

The Bund

Catch my upcoming posts that will include pictures from the Huangshan tea gardens, shopping and more.

I enjoyed the advertising on this bus.

Until next time, Beth

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Gardens of Suzhou

I am backing up a bit but wanted to share some photos from the beautiful city and gardens of Suzhou. We visited this rapidly growing area and stayed at the lovely Sofitel Hotel, which I highly recommend.

The first garden we visited was the Lions Grove Garden, one of four famous Suzhou gardens. Dating back to the Yuan Dynasty 1342 A.D. the garden is known for its lake stones and rockeries. This grand rock work forms a three layer maze, winding paths and numerous caves.

After falling into disrepair the garden was purchased by an ancestor of the original archirtecht, I.M. Pei, in 1917 and was kept up by the family until they donated it to the people's government. Lion's Grove opened to the public in February 1954.

The next garden, the Humble Administrators Garden, is the most famous of all and recogonized as the best-preserved and a typical example of clasical gardens created by craftsman in ancient China. The largest private garden in Suzhou the 5.2 kilometers was first landscaped in the Ming Dynasty 1513 A.D..

Until next time, Beth

Nanjing to Huangshan - Visiting the tea gardens

The weather is cold and dreary in Nanjing and I have spent the entire short visit in the hotel enjoying the very nice accomadations, writing and catching up with stuff in the US. Excited about the teas I have purchased in Fuding, I have a lot to share with those back home.

We board the train to Huangshan, in the late afternoon,and begin the 8 hour journey in the soft car compartment. The monkey travels with me a little token from home. Amy is off to sleep and I enjoy the countryside doted with beautiful signs of spring.

We arrive in Huangshan check into our hotel and schedule the following days meetings and garden visits. This Friday is Tomb Sweeping Day or Qing Ming and all of Shanghai will be closed so we must shorten our stay in Huangshan in order to accomplish our goals back at the office there.

We meet with old friends and new in this burgeoning city flanked by lovely mountains. Only new tea samples in this region, the primary harvests will not take place for another couple of weeks.

Visiting with Mr. Fang and all of his staff, many of who I recognize from my last visit. It is a pleasure to see everyone and they are welcoming and hospitable as always.

Mr. Fang is anxious to show us a new organic garden but the trip is to far for our short visit, next time. Organic gardens in China are far removed from the hustle and bustle of heavily populated areas. Many are located where there is zero population, which makes meeting the stringent organic requirements much easier.

We visited three gardens, had dinner and talked business well into the night before catching our plane back to Shanghai. I had the distinct opportunity to meet one of Mr. Fangs customers at dinner. This gentleman is a professor and authority on Daoism with a book to his credit. While written in Chinese, I am delighted to receive a signed copy that includes a photo of him with the youngest sister of the last ruler in the Qing Dynasty, pretty cool.

Look for my photo posts from this lovely local. Until next time, Beth