Portland Classical Chinese Garden
Before CT starts to work on 10/20, we have two weeks to visit tourist sites in Portland. Yesterday we went to the Portland Classical Chinese Garden "Lan Su Yuan" (蘭蘇園) in downtown Porland. This garden is relatively new. It opened in 2000. The name is from "Portland (波特蘭) " and "Suzhou (蘇州)". "Yuan" means "Garden". This garden represents the sister city relationship between Portland and Suzhou, China. The artisans and craftsmen who constructed this garden are from Suzhou, and even the materials and stones were shipped from China.
The garden is generally well-designed. Many plants are indigenous to China and the audio tour gives them chinese explanation, such as "歲寒三友 - 松竹梅". Some famous poems are written on the wall or doors as decoration, such as "月落烏啼霜滿天..."。The audio tour translates the whole poem into English, which amazed me...I think perhaps I become even more able to appreciate the scene and meaning by English explanation...
The entry for each room also has its own chinese title, such as "入勝" (enter a wonderful place). This place reminds me how much chinese literature we actually learned at school. I do appreciate the beauty of chinese words and literature although I acknowledge the political conflicts between Taiwan and China. I wonder if the teenagers in Taiwan still study and memorize this after Taiwanese government changed the education materials.
One special place in this garden is its dining place "the Tao of Tea". Almost 50 kinds of chinese tea are serves here. It also has some tea snacks, such as moon cakes, 蠶豆酥...etc. (Yes...I always notice the food...)
It's actually interesting for us to see these Americans enjoy the original smell and taste of oolong because we heard some Americans add milk and sugar when they use very high quality tea leaves with a nice tea pot. I smelled the aroma of sweet osmanthus (桂花) in the alley (the first time I found it in the USA), so I ordered sweet osmanthus oolong and some tea snacks. It's very relaxing to enjoy the beautiful view of the garden in a nice weather while having a cup of tea.
Many American and foreigners can learn some chinese culture by visiting this garden. Although we haven't found very authentic chinese restaurants in Porland yet...we think people here actually know some chinese culture because of "Lan Su Yuan".
...more pictures on google album