Last week ended in a way no one could ever have suspected. I won’t say what I do for a job, but one of the tasks is checking microwaves. And someone had pooped in one. No, there was no log present, or a diaper…just dark matter, a rancid smell, and a feeling of “I-failed-at-life-choices”. Worse off, my head was in said microwave when I made this unfortunate discovery.
I mentioned this unique event on Facebook. Robert “The Devotea” Godden – ever-ready with a quip – mentioned that Gary Robson, author of the Who Pooped in the Park? children’s book series, should do one titled: Who Pooped in the Microwave?
Gary’s response was, “I don’t think that microwave could ever be cleaned adequately. I say ‘ick’, and that’s coming from someone who writes poop books for a living.”
That was only the tip of the shitty iceberg, though. On top of having my head stuck in a shitty microwave, I was missing the Northwest Tea Festival. I had arranged for the time off, my handlers had worked their schedules around my absence…but then my finances took a nosedive. As such, I had to opt out of attending.
As fate would have it, though, the day of the teafest, I had money to attend. How…fitting.
Butt!…I mean, BUT there’s a silver (not brown) lining. The tea fest kinda came to me.
Pu-erh and Pizza
That following Sunday, I received word that Jo Johnson was due in. I knew she was making a stop in Portland, but I wasn’t sure as to when. We agreed to meet up for tea in the evening. Since she was staying with local friends in the Alberta area, we settled on Townshend’s Tea for the meet-up.
In anticipation, I got their early and asked for their specialty menu. Because I’m…well…me. As luck would have it, they were in possession of some mandarin orange-aged shou pu-erh. I ordered a large pot of that and awaited her arrival.
I had expected to only see Jo, and maybe her friend’s Jim and Marilyn, but Darlene Meyers-Perry was also with them! A whole mess o’ tea people! Jo and I split the pu-erh pot and talked shop, then joined up with the other three for pizza. They related to me how the NWTF went, and I chimed in…in my own caffeinated sorta way.
A grand way to start the week.
A Tale of Two Canadians
I knew Pedro and Brian – owners of the O5 Tea Bar in Vancouver, BC – were stopping through Portland, but I didn’t know when, how or in what capacity. Turns out it was same weekend. I received a phone call from Pedro right before I met up with Jo at Townsend’s .
(Sidenote: For those who don’t know who I’m talking about, go HERE. I met them while tea-picking. I swear.)
Pedro and Brian were jaunting throughout the Northwest meeting with potential co-op clients. On top of owning O5, they also ran a wholesale tea business called Two Hills Tea. While not the rare stuff that O5 featured, their selection on the Two Hills website was still mighty impressive.
As we nursed beers at Imbrie Hall, they related to me some of their back road adventures in Asia.
One of the things that is unique about this pair of gents is that they source directly from farmers as if they’re on a road trip, then they shop their wares in the States and Canada in pretty much the same way. Seriously, this is the stuff of movies.
They also related some unique teas they’ve tried, including a Bangladeshi “pu-erh” variant.
I must have this.
Gold Nuggets and GABA
My final visitors came in the form of the family Robson. Gary of Red Lodge Books and Tea was in town for a book convention and signing. He originally asked if I knew of any tea joints, and suggested we meet up at one. The closest I knew of to where he was staying was The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants. That Tuesday, I ferried him and his son there.
We went through…oh, hell…I forgot how many teas. Particular favorites for them were the GABA oolong and a Gold Nugget Pu-erh.
(You can read about Gary’s take on that HERE.)
Afterwards, we met up with his wife Kathy for sushi. It wasn’t in my budget to indulge expensively, so I settled on one eel roll and a dark Asahi. A Japanese beer that reminded me of a German dunkel – very odd.
A very pleasant outing. Now, it’s my turn to venture up their way to their teashop/bookstore. Can’t come soon enough.
Oh yes…I almost forgot. Gary left me with a parting gift. His latest in the Who Pooped…? series. Fitting, given the way my last week ended, but definitely welcome.
I only have one regret of this last week. Well…besides shattering my favorite tea mug, ripping my pants, spilling beer on myself (and later a computer), and the aforementioned “micropoop”.
The following Saturday, I attended a green tea tasting at The Jasmine Pearl as part of their Tea Fest PDX program list.
Among the usual standbys – like Long Jing and Mao Jian, which I adore – they also featured a houjicha from China! I had no idea I’d run into a unique tea at this thing, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. But I digress…
I missed another tea person by a mere two hours.
Michael J. Coffey and his partner were just in The Jasmine Pearl earlier that morning.