I was visiting from California, but the teahouse had traveled even further. It had been given to Boulder from its sister city Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, a small country of the former Soviet Union, situated on the old trade routes of the Silk Road.
The teahouse was constructed in Tajikistan, then deconstructed and sent in pieces to Boulder where it was reassembled. Please read more about the teahouse at http://www.boulderteahouse.com: the country, the paintings and carved plaster panels inside the teahouse, the exterior tile panels, the carved and painted ceiling, and the Fountain of the Seven Beauties. Over 40 artisans created this lavish display. Throughout the building–inside and out–the Persian influence is pervasive. We sat near one of the intricately hand-carved cedar columns—twelve in all and each unique.
I wish it was closer so I could more easily make my way through the over 100 teas available. I’m a fiend for jasmine tea and had a lovely Yin Hao tea, both iced and hot—a green tea made with fresh jasmine blossoms. My sister had a white peach tea, and my brother enjoyed a nutty tea recommended by our server Jefferson: an organic Houicha green tea where Sencha tealeaves are roasted over a high heat.
Both the lunch Pan Bagnat and the Mediterranean Salad were superlative. I also savored a Russian tea cookie with my final cup of jasmine tea. If only I could do this daily!
What did Dushanbe receive in return? From the sister city website: Boulder-Dushanbe Sister Cities presented a Cyber CafÈ (now called the Cyber CafÈ and Friendship Center) to the people of Dushanbe, a place where both physical and technological access to the rest of the world is difficult. The Cyber CafÈ is a restaurant, an Internet portal, a learning center, and a place to have fun. Our gift to Dushanbe reflects the culture, style, sensibilities and resources of Boulder: its technology, Western openness, and education. The Cyber CafÈ and Friendship Center provides a valuable resource to the people of Dushanbe and opened in 2009.
Hopefully the Boulder Cyber CafÈ has reaped great benefits in Dushanbe. For their gift of the beautifully crafted teahouse in Boulder, I am so very grateful.