Boulder and Dushanbe friendship
I recently spent some time in Boulder, Colorado with an old friend. On Saturday morning we worked our way through the Farmer’s Market tasting all the samples we could find. We ended up among the food stalls with tables under tents and live music playing. We had a prosciutto, spinach and smoked Gouda crepe from Savory Saigon, a Vietnamese food tent. Your first reaction might be “crepes?” “from Vietnam?” but you must remember, the French spent a lot of time in Vietnam.
From there we wandered into the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, which just happened to be next door. Boulder and the city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan became sister cities back in 1987 when Tajikistan was still part of the Soviet Union. From 1929 to 1961 the city was known as Stalinabad. Dushanbe was built on the old Silk Road and was part of the Persian Empire. In 1929 it became part of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic. The Boulder Dushanbe sisterhood survived throughout the remainder of the Soviet period and to the present despite civil war and other problems.
The Tajiks built a beautiful teahouse with Persian influence using their local artists and craftsmen in Dushanbe. Then they took it apart, packed it up and shipped it to Boulder where it was re-assembled. There are carved plaster panels, colorful ceramic panels, a carved ceiling, twelve carved cedar columns, and a copper sculpture at the center of the room. The teahouse opened to the public in 1998.
In exchange, the city of Boulder presented The Cyber Café and Friendship Center to the people of Dushanbe. It was to be a restaurant, Internet café, learning center, and fun spot. After a few delays it was built and opened to the public in 2009. Since electricity in the area can be unreliable it came with large solar panels and received the ‘Innovation: Sustainable Development-Energy Award’ from the Sister Cites International Awards.
The Teahouse serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea. The traditional Tajik dishes, shashlik and plov are on the menu along with a wide variety of dishes from around the world. They have over 100 varieties of tea.
Kathleen Gamble was born and raised overseas and has traveled extensively. She has a BA in Spanish and has worked in publishing, printing, desktop publishing, translating, and purchasing. She also designs and creates her own needlepoint. She started journaling at a young age and her memoir, Expat Alien, came out of those early journals. Over the years she has edited and produced an American Women’s Organization cookbook in Moscow, Russia, and several newsletters. Her first book, Expat Alien, was published in 2012 and she recently published a cookbook, 52 Food Fridays, both available on Amazon.com. You can also follow her blog at ExpatAlien.com.