Friday, December 25, 2009

The Best Christmas Present Ever

Yep, you heard it here first: the ever warm, woodsy scented blazing flame of an open fire. As we scouted places in which to have our Christmas dinner, they only made it to the list if they had that fire. The Moondance restaurant fit the bill perfectly. Alas no turkey dinner, we settled for a thin crust pizza that was a "ten".
While we were eating, Christmas Carols were playing, not Bing or anyone else well known, and a small tree lit up the darkness. (The interior of all shops and restaurants are unaccountably dim; never enough power.)

While walking and browsing and stopping for a coffee, we went into a shop named Pearl Arts. There we met Ghulam Rasool, originally of Kashmir, and his wife. I purchased a shawl and his wife demonstrated to me how she had embroidered it by hand. She used a hooking tool to pull the embroidery thread through the wool.

Ghulam invited us for tea, a common way for a shopkeeper to treat a guest/shopper and we sat down. His son, still in high school went to make the tea, and brought back a lovely black tea with cardamom and cinnamon.
Ghulam is a rug maker, he showed us some of his work and also shared the preliminaries. First he finds a pattern he likes, sometimes from Iran, and gets a photograph. He then graphs it and creates a set of carpet language directions. It is a complex process resulting in a beautiful product; somewhat expensive but surely a worthy work of art. The pattern in the picture is for a 4x6 foot rug, 18x18 knots per sq. inch. (that is if I understood him correctly)


Lucca and the Rasool Family

Lakeside got busier and busier as the evening wore on; many cars, motorbikes, street vendors, and pedestrians falling off the sidewalk. It did feel a little like the hustle and bustle of a holiday. OK not really. Just busy. 

 The shops seem endless and many are same-same. But occasionally one looks especially enticing.

Felt Items from Yak Wool

So now I end with the beginning. Upon arriving at Lakeside we ate our 1st western food of the day. I had scrambled eggs and steak. The eggs were great, so was the toast and butter; we shall not discuss the steak. 


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