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Shanghai's quintessential teahouse has floated atop the lake at the heart of Old Town, in front of Yu Yuan, since 1784. It was built by area cotton-cloth merchants as a brokerage hall. Tea drinking was forbidden inside until the late 1800s, when it became what it is today. Believed to be the original model for Blue Willow tableware, the five-sided, two-story pavilion with red walls and uplifted black-tiled eaves has served everyone from visiting heads of state to local laborers. This is the place in Shanghai to idle over a cup of tea, seated in front of the open windows. Huxinting (meaning "midlake pavilion") is reached via the traditional Bridge of Nine Turnings, so designed to deflect evil spirits who are said to travel only in straight lines.