January 20th, 2011: Boulder and Denver, CO

The morning of January 20th, we woke up bright and early to the blue skies, sun, fresh snow (3-4 inches) that is not unusual in Boulder.  Located 25 miles Northwest of Denver with an elevation about 5430 feet above sea level, Boulder is the 11th largest city in Colorado that has a year round population of 97,385 people.  Famous for its liberal culture, Boulder has become a popular destination for individuals seeking the outdoors, health and wellness within view of the Rocky Mountains  
Dominick and Henry, our host in Colorado, had met at the University of Vermont some years back while living in the same dorm building.  In 2003, Henry elected to transfer to Naropa University in Boulder and later enrolled in at the University of Colorado.  Henry is now working toward completion of his bachelor’s degree and plans to enter Medical school in the next couple years. More recently, Henry had married Laura DeNirdo and now has a beautiful daughter Tala.  Dom and Henry spent the morning catching up on the details of their lives since living in Vermont and exchanged their respective plans for the future. Laura, a knowledgeable practitioner of herbal and natural healing remedies, fixed an Eldeberry syrup for Shatomi that after a few eyeglass droppers-worth, started attacking the root of the cough he had been battling for the past few days.

     Given that Boulder is a city that loves to get outside and we had planned to layover in Colorado for 24 hours, we elected to cruise the strip and check out the locals.  We didn’t have time to do some skiing however we did notice the Boulder residents nordic skiing and enjoying the fresh snow. We chose to get some exercise by going for a swim at the North Boulder Recreation Center. The North Boulder Recreation Center (NBRC) is one of two community fitness centers in Boulder and the staff at the NBRC were incredibly friendly and the facility itself was beautiful.  After about an hour of swimming and visiting with visitors to the NBRC, we freshened up and headed to Denver for dinner with friends and family. 
     Shatomi spent time with the Sova family (Chuck, Loretta, Derek, Nicole) who are Shatomi’s relatives and die-hard Bronco’s fans that have lived in the greater Denver area for 30+ years.   It’s a rare treat to visit with them in the Mile-High City, so Shatomi picked up some Lebanese food and met up with two generations of Sovas to share a late night feast of grape leaves, hommus and shawarma sandwiches. 

Dom got dropped off in North Denver where he met up with a close friend from Seward, AK named Hannah Siegle for Ethiopian food.  The two met at a great Ethiopian restaurant called Arada Restaurant, located  in a hip little neighborhood close to the highway with amazing atmosphere and food. Hannah has been living in the Denver area as a public defense attorney for the past 3 years and was in the process of purchasing her first house.

It had been several years since the two had been in the company of each other and there was plenty to exchange and laugh about.   As the evening came to an end with bellies filled, Shatomi picked up Dom and headed back to Boulder.  When we arrived back in Boulder, we spent a couple hours talking with Henry and re-telling the most memorable stories related to the trip before dipping off into a deep sleep.  Early the next morning the two travelers would push on to Shawnee, OK and stay the night with folks at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

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