04 March, 2008

Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

Montana is seriously cold.

Despite all of our ski gear, we're still getting chilly. From a tea-drinking perspective, there is a slightly different issue: it's also very, very dry here.

Even though we get about 12 inches of snow per day here, the rock-bottom humidity makes for cracked hands and dry faces. The retired marine drill-sergeant that we met on the aeroplane specifically recommended that we use hand cream regularly whilst in Montana. When a senior marine recommends something like hand cream, you know the situation is serious.

This must make storing tea particularly tricky. I never leave home without packing my trusty badger-hair brush, yet it's so dry here that the bristles fan out like a cheerleader's pom-pom:

One solution to this problem is hinted at by the presence of two very large white devices tucked away in one of the cupboards in our hotel apartment. A search using Google Images indicates that these are humidifiers:

Plug them into the electrical supply, fill them with several litres of water, and a steady mist of water vapour is released into the atmosphere, to counteract the extreme lack of humidity. Though perhaps (along with air conditioning) one of the least environmentally-friendly atmospheric adjusters that one could obtain, it certainly does the trick. I think any long-terms plans involving Montana (and thus involving moving some pu'er over here) would require a more permanent, less energy-demanding solution to the humidity problem.

Following the previous Half-Dipper tradition of attempting to get weiqi/Go pieces into as many photographs as possible, here's our current best substitute (above). Conveniently, they're made large enough so that one can play with even the most dry, cracked hands...

(As ever, clicking on a photograph will display the complete version.)


nada said...

nice photos today David, I particularly like the first one.

I also like your ingenuity with hanging the badger brush, what a great way to let it dry without a stand.


nada said...

out of curiosity, when choosing from your selection of teas to bring away with you, what did your opt for?

Bryan said...

What's your favorite everyday drinker?

tb. said...

I hope you're enjoying the scenery of Big Sky; I have several colleagues that were born and raised there that can't say enough about it. It's certainly on my to-visit list, though perhaps when it is a bit warmer...


speakfreely said...

I really like that first photo too.

Hobbes said...

Dear Nada,

Thanks for the kind words regarding the photos - I wish I could take the credit, but the beauty of the scenery is doing most of the work, I assure you.

In terms of teas, we packed some samples from Teamasters, Houde, the remains of Carla's lovely 90s Song Pin, some of Imen's dancong, and a few others. Plenty to see us through!

Dear Bvowles,

A good question! No day of mine would be complete without a young shengpu. One of the less expensive bingcha for daily consumption, perhaps the 2006 6FTM Banzhang or similar. Typically, I'll open the day with a heavy hongcha - maybe a dianhong, or a Bailin Gongfu (from Fujian).

Dear TB,

Being born in the surroundings of Big Sky must be a wonderful start in life. The cities would feel like cages afterwards; I imagine that you colleagues feel the urge to return. Then again, I'm sure we all feel the tug of home to some degree.

Dear Carla,

Thankee, it was a random shot fired off before leaving for breakfast. I'm sure there's some Zen lesson to be learned in my quickest shots being my favourites, while my most premeditated and planned shots come out to be much more mundane...

Toodlepip all,


小 約翰 said...

Cold? Folks from Dongguan go to Montana to warm up. john

Hobbes said...

They serve Scottish porridge here, John, you'd fit right in... :)