Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 3 -- Boulder -- rest of the day


Wikipedia:  "The Dushanbe Teahouse was created as a gift to the city of Boulder, Colorado, from its sister city Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, in 1987.  Forty artisans from Tajikistan hand made the teahouse over a period of two years, took it apart, and then packed the pieces into about 200 crates to be shipped to Boulder.  The trades used by the artisans were passed from generation to generation within families, such as the use of nature, and repetition of patterns, descendant from traditional Persian design.  No power tools were used in the original construction of the tea house."

I read that this is the only traditional Persian tea house in the USA.  It is a spectacular building.

Incredible, intricate painting and carving embellish the exterior and interior.

The tables are fancy.

And the ceiling.  !!!

A closer look......

It is a tea house.  Dozens and dozens of varieties.

All the support poles are carved.  Each is unique.

The menu includes a lot of interesting dishes from all over.  This is pad thai (upper left corner), and I had what I believe was a Persian version of falafel.  The chick peas were much less finely ground than I'm used to, and the tomato sauce had unfamiliar spices/herbs.  It was tasty!

We ordered a couple of oolong teas.  They brought us a little sand timer, and saucers to which to remove the tea-steeping apparatus once the sand ran through.  One of the oolongs was quite similar to the iron goddess we drink at home, but the other (I think it was called Wild Yeti) was ... wilder.  A bit pine-y, a bit smoky.  Interesting.

We enjoyed our lunch, and our tea, and certainly enjoyed our lunchtime surroundings!  I would eat at the Dushanbe tea house, if I lived in Boulder.

Fortified, we ventured back out into another spectacularly nice day.  I have to believe days like December 2nd and 3rd of this year are amongst the reasons people want to live in this part of the USA.  There was something about the quality of the air.  As though it had more oxygen..........

This seems unlikely, at a mile above sea level, but what do I know.....  Maybe I just felt gladder than usual to *breathe* because I needed to breathe more often due to the lower density of the air?  I don't know.  But I was more aware of the pleasure of *breathing* than I am, most of the time.

Hmmm.  This was a fairly ordinary streetlight, but the shadow looks like an alien from outer space.....

Taking another look at the above, that messed-up bit of sidewalk is surely scarier than a tall shadowy space alien.....

We did some enjoyable shopping along Pearl Street.  As is usually the case with me, I'm either in shopping mode, or picture-taking mode.  When we started shopping, I quit taking pics.........

We bought fun socks in Sole Sisters.  The yetis in Christmas sweaters have already been given, so I can share them.  (Sockittome is the company that made the constellation socks I bought at the planetarium in Chicago.  They have a lot of great designs!)

I chose cinnamon in Penzey's.  They had five or six different cinnamons.  You could take the lid off a big jar and take a good long whiff........  I chose Vietnamese cinnamon.  My sister-in-law got us a box of spices and combinations from Penzey's one year.  They were lovely. I was excited to be able to visit a Penzey's in person!  I could spend a long time in a Penzey's..... 

We visited an apothecary/herbal-health store.  I was sort of looking for "relaxing" candles.  They didn't have a lot of candles or soaps.  It was more the kind of place where you buy ingredients, and formulate aroma therapy of whatever kind yourself.

There's a store that sells a lot of fossils!

It occurred to me to wonder, while we were there, how moral it was to shop there.  I mean -- I'm sure no paleontology is going on, keeping track of which things are found where (exactly!) and in what context........  Just digging it up and selling it to the highest bidder...........  So much info that might be useful to science, being lost right and left..............

But it wasn't until we got home and I saw these images on "the big screen" that I thought to wonder if the objects are even legitimate.

This shrimp, for example.  Apparently perfect in every detail (including those incredibly delicate and very long feelers).  Laid out in a perfectly photogenic pose................

$2500 is certainly a "legitimate" sort of price, to my uneducated eye........

But.  There were a lot of shrimp, and as you can see in this next image, they were big.  I mean -- I'm not sure how many shrimp in the seas nowadays are this big.........  Which is not to say there weren't more big ones "back then"...............

But I've seen a lot of fossils as they looked when they were found.  And they are not perfectly laid out in a photogenic pose.  They are sprawled everywhichway.  They are broken.  Pieces are missing.  And I'm thinking about bony skeletons.  These much-more-fragile exoskeletons...........  How likely is it that they were this perfectly preserved, including all of those wispy feelers?

The more I think about this, the more dubious I become that these things can be what they are said to be.............

I confess to buying one small trilobite, for $6.  I guess, having thought this through, I rather hope it is a fake.

Look at this enormous (and gorgeous) ammonite.  It was over 2' across.  Info with it says "Kranaosphinctes rabei, Oxfordian (157-163 million years old), Upper Jurassic, Tulear, Madagascar"

I didn't see a price for the one in the window, but when I googled the name, I found this very similar ammonite at Sotheby's.  Which sold for 8125 Euros.  !!!!!  I hope you'll click through the link -- Sotheby's pic is much better than mine, and it's a very beautiful object.  I would love to pet it.....  But don't need an enormous stone in my house, even if it is very beautiful *and* historical..............

The front window of the fossil shop, with Rudolf the red-nosed T. rex.  It was animated (and 6-8' long).  I liked it.

As we walked west on Pearl Street, it became residential.  It seemed to me that yards in Boulder were extremely small, by Ann Arbor standards.  I'm guessing this is because land flat enough for building housing is rare, so they'd rather put up buildings than leave room for lawns and gardens.  But that's just speculation.

There are lots of fancy old houses, and some fancy new ones, too.  We saw a set of new row houses that were all different,  and all interesting.  Lots of varied architectural details.

The sun was behind the mountains, as we walked west and more west.

Just the highest rocks still show sunlight.

We saw these houses on the side of the mountain, and wondered how the inhabitants get there.  In dry warm weather, let alone in wintertime.

We are nearing the west end of Pearl Street.  As you can see in this image, the land got higher and higher as we walked west.  Note there are rental bikes, just between us and the parking lot, at the right edge of this next image.  You could rent a bike and coast down the hill.........  In Ann Arbor, your first hour on the rental bikes is free.  I don't know if that's true in Boulder.  And we had no idea where we would return a bike. 

There was a park at the end of the street, which had some pretty vertical terrain.  We saw people walking out of the park with big dogs, and people walking around the edge of the park with little dogs.

It was getting darker, and colder.  We walked back down into town.

The helpful woman in the Tourist Information Center had suggested the top of a parking structure as a place to get a good view.

We went to the top of the parking structure over the bus station.  There were other buildings directly west of this parking structure which blocked the view of the mountains.  But when we looked a bit south...........

This is as the camera remembers it.

This is what we could see.  The square building in the center, with the snowy roof, is the public library.  The set of shapes with a dark gray roof, just left of the library, is the tea house.

Boulder was a comfortable place to visit.  We enjoyed the quirkiness and variety of shops along Pearl Street.  We were glad to have had a chance to check it out.


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