Afternoon Tea

posted by Russ, October 18 in uncategorized with tags ,

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afternoon tea

Photo credit: mpieracci

I step in the door, see 3 people sitting around a tea kettle.

“Hi, how are you? I bought some of your tea at the market the other night, so I figured I’d stop by and check your shop out.”

“Would you like to sit down for some tea?”

Of course I would. It seems very inviting, and though the shop is extremely small, it’s comfortable. In walks another guy who is apparently a friend of those already sitting.

“Sure…” I say, “Do you work here?”

“No, I just pour tea.”

“This place sure is cozy, huh?”

“Yea, it is.”

“I like it in here, it’s quiet and nice.”

“It is, isn’t it? It has a really good vibe doesn’t it?”

This scene is not one from a remote Himalayan or Indian village filled with vagabonding Americans. It is one that took place five blocks away from my old apartment in Ocean Beach, San Diego.

After the initial chit chat, more random conversation ensues, and probably half an hour passes. The energy in this tiny, hidden tea shop is extremely positive, like one would rarely find in a traditional coffee shop or bar. Four people sitting around drinking tea at four in the afternoon. Just sitting, relaxing, and being, and I was not once made to feel like I shouldn’t have wandered in.

“Do many people stop in here?” I ask.

“Some, a lot of people come to the window and look in then walk away. Some come in, they either sit for tea then get up right away to leave, or offer us money. We tell them, no, it’s free. But some come in and stay … like you … I think people who are supposed to find this place find it.”

An hour goes by. Another guy who actually does work there enters. He sits. Talks about a vision he had of speaking with a cockroach. I think to myself that perhaps he has been taking more than tea. After about 40 minutes he finally realizes that he doesn’t know me. We exchange introductions. Another 15 minutes later they begin an impromptu music jam session, using a long tubular instrument and bongo drum.

Two hours later, I leave. What an interesting experience.

Regretfully this happened five years ago and I never found my way back. Perhaps it’s time for another visit next time I head own that way.

Originally posted on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 6:04 AM .

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