2010 USA Tour : March 31st, Boise ID

HotlakeFrom Hot Lake into the Idaho prairies

Before leaving Eagle’s Hot Lake we had to investigate the nearby steaming hot lake.

It is beside an old hotel currently being restored. The lake seems to be heated by sulphur, as sulphur smells are strong, and the water is of the temperature of a hot bath. Before getting to the lake, you have to pass through its aggressive guarding geese who aim straight for nipping the toes. Have food ready for them and they are quickly your friends …. then pests.

As we set off from Eagles Hot Lake it was very cold, misty and barely any view of the mountains. However, 20 miles along the road and we entered into warm sun and scenic clarity.

I had expected a mountain drive to Boise, but along the I84 it was a continual prairie journey, largely straight freeway always heading deep into the horizon. I find that type of road very difficult to drive. I can get bored and sleepy very quickly. Claire handles that far, far better than myself, as she finds winding and mountain roads hard to drive, but I thrive on and love those.

Apart from that I cannot write more about this route as I slept through much of it and Claire did do most of the chunk of the driving.

into Boise

I had huge expectations for this town as so many folks have told me how they loved being here, how beautiful it is, and how Boise would truly be my kind of town. Therefore when we were approaching, several miles before, into busy traffic, multi lane highway and the bombardment of the usual chains I began to wonder.

We were early so off to the RV park first to register as it was only a mile away from the Shangri La Tea Room. The RV park was modern, RVs close together but brimming with facilities, and lots of notices asking us to take care of them. It was a wonderful sojourn to shower, change and be our best for Shangri La.

ShangrilaOnto the Shangri La Tea Room

Using our trusty sat-nav (gps) we manoevered through some Boise streets until it said we had arrived. The building we had arrived at looked like a formal government building for taxes or welfare, so I hastily checked to see if I had punched in the right address.

If I had walked a few yards more I would have seen the Shangri La sign.

The moment I walked in it was the veil into another world, a very warm greeting from Toni amidst a beautiful peaceful sanctuary of coloured veils, teapots, packs of teas and their various aromas. This was truly of the Shangri La tradition as when we first arrived ….. we did not see it.

After being there we grew to understand the wonder of what this place was about. Its location was the best it could be, wonderful views of the mountains, in a quiet non-distracting place and supported by a very large useful car park.

Toni insisted we had something to eat first, and their menu is remarkable. It is all vegetarian and vegan and extremely imaginative. I had their wild mushroom miso and a salad and Claire had one of their pasta dishes. We both shared an amazing plate of their home made delicious nachos and salsa. Reading that sounds like from a common menu, but the actual food and its orchestration of tastes I fail to truly describe here.

Then, of course, the tea. I had been told to try one of their own tea blends and I think mine was called “Spicy Mandarin” which was said to be wonderful to enhance breathing and i thought that would be wonderful before performing. Claire enjoyed their Keemun tea.

Tea served here is a ritual and there are egg timers on each table to encourage folks to sit awhile and truly let their tea brew. Each tea pot is served on a ring of hearts with lighted tea candles in the middle. The blended tea is served in glass tea pots so the brewing process and its changing rainbow forming and dispersing colours can be watched.

As we enjoyed the relaxing with our food and teas Bob arrived, and like Toni is instantly warming with welcome.

Also the people arriving grew and grew. It was a large turnout for the tea room this evening. I think about 60 people arrived. The food and tea had given me quite a lift. I was glowing. I think Claire was too as she served one of the best, if not the best so far, performance on this tour. I do not remember a song highlight from this evening as it was all good. I think Sitting In A Green Field was exceptional. The audience was with this show all the way. A young girl even joined Claire with a beautiful Irish dance. The same girl also wrote us a beautiful poem and drawing to take away with us. The Tea Room also had a wonderful stage covered with a Persian rug.

Tonibobhard to leave

Its always far too brief when we arrive, perform and leave. Farewells are always hard, but this time it was quite painful. We both became very attached to Shangri La Tea Room, Boise and to Toni and Bob as this was truly and expression of themselves, how they think, feel and live.

Their tradition of tea had quite an impact on us as it must have done with so many people. They arrived some years ago into this very conservative town. One by one people discovered that what Toni and Bob offered was the sanctuary they needed and now they have an incredible network of regular customer friends who jointly carry a remarkable uplifting spirit that a network such as this has grown to become.

Toni and Bob’s work reminded me of the early days of “mystical” Glastonbury in the late 60s that started with a small vegetarian cafe, but that is another story :-)


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