Noticed a tea shop in the neighborhood: don't think this is the one Marshal suggested to me for aged pu, but I decided to take a look anyway since it's very different from the other shops I've been to. No air conditioning and lots of cakes on display:
The owner was in the back and I was looking at cakes. He had a pretty pronounced limp. I told him I wanted some bo lei, but just a little to try since I was trying different teas. I ended up picking up 150g of loose shu for around $9. No name or year. He had some Yixings too, which I checked out, and the difference in quality between mom and dad's tourist specials and his was staggering, but I will hold off on Yixing purchases until I get to Marshal's place. The prices are higher at this place and the one he attempted to push had a lid that dropped off when inverted, so I grinned and put it back. Still, the overall construction of his pots was much better than the ones gathering dust at home.
What surprised me was he had a wall of pictures of foreign tourists visiting him (I am going up on that wall, HK-born or not), which I didn't expect for such a simple store, but the area is developing quickly. A Best Western just opened up across the street. Sadly, these older, more traditional businesses may be forced to close in the near future.
While drinking some gaiwan-brewed bo lei, he told me that the owner of the steak restaurant next door, who is in his 80s, drinks the pu regularly. He says it's the reason the owner's in good health, even though he smokes like a chimney.
I tried a cheap 2010 sheng (only $5 for 200g) and a slightly older one. Very different from the sheng I have here. He told me the Chinese much prefer shu, but that sheng is good for us foreign people to help get our fat moving since we eat too much cheese and stuff. lol
All in all it was a pretty cool learning experience hanging out and drinking some bo lei. The bag he gave me had a hole in it, however, so I left a fine trail of shu all the way back to my home office. I was wondering how the heck I had tea on the floor when I had just hoovered last night!