|My first experience with “bubble-tea” was at a little hybrid coffee shop/ book store a short drive from my University town. My friends and I went there when we needed somewhere to pile in a car and escape to on Saturday afternoons. In between shelves of old books we sipped our bubble-tea drinks and marveled over the novelty of such a bizarre, tapioca-filled beverage. The tapioca balls were as big as marbles and the straws were rediculously large to accomodate them. They came in flavors like chai, thai-tea, and mango.
Since then, I jump at the chance to buy one if I ever find a bubble-tea for sale somewhere. Here in China it is hardly a novelty. The streets are littered with bubble-tea drink-stands. The trick now is not to find where the drink is sold, but rather to find where there is a picture-menu so I don’t accidentally end up with a cup of ordinary, hot green tea (as was the case this Christmas day.) Even the American fast food joints have tweeked their menus by adding the bubble-tea drink. They come in strange flavors and sometimes the tapioca balls are replaced with little sweet red beans. I ordered one today and suddenly my mind went back to that old coffee shop/book-store. I remembered always ordering the bright orange “Thai tea” flavor and hoping the barista would give me the purple straw so it would make a stylish clash with the orange. The flash-back felt strange. One second I was in Findlay, Ohio, and the next I was back in China…
Back in China my straw was pink.
True, today was not an ideal day for biking, but a traveler can only wait on good weather for so long before restlessness kicks in. Chilly but eager, we set out with intentions of getting lost in the countryside, away from the noise and chaos of the touristy city of Yangshuo. My rental bike was a modest vehicle, but it carried me through the winding roads of the remote farm-land. We clanked over rocky dirt lanes and followed the strange contours of the fields and waterways. I watched the farmers walking about on the raised, dirt mounds that keep them above the level of plant-growth. They carried poles across their shoulders where baskets filled with leeks hung on each end.
If I am ever in Findlay, Ohio again, I will order the thai bubble tea with a purple straw. This much is true as well.
Quilts and bubble teas