Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tea at the (old) boat show

Some tall ships were in San Diego over the Labor Day holiday, in addition to the handsome handful regularly moored on the Embarcadero. We toured several of the boats, many of which had some interesting tea artifacts on board. I snapped a bunch of photos ...

^^^ Aboard the HMS Surprise — a replica of an 18th-century British warship (and the boat used in the fine film "Master and Commander") — this display shows food and drink spread on a floating table, one suspended from ropes in order for it to remain relatively level. In the foreground is a tea pot with a single wooden handle, and I was intrigued by the rough canvas cozy wrapping it up.

^^^ The Star of India was built in 1863, about to celebrate 150 years afloat, and has a storied history hauling workers, immigrants and cargo around the world. It's permanently moored in San Diego, and its on-board cabins are full of requisite tea set displays like those above, each of which I wanted to snatch. Though it once transported a lot of salmon from Alaska canneries, any tea it might have carried during its early runs through the southern Pacific hardly qualified it as a clipper. Still, a prop tea crate is displayed in the hold.

^^^ Also surfaced along the Embarcadero is the B-39, a Soviet submarine built in the ’60s. It's a claustrophobe's nightmare — a long stuffy tube crammed with pipes, valves and all manner of things to knock your noggin against. Between the torpedoes and radio equipment rooms is a closet galley where I at least spied this tea kettle. At least the officers and crew could sip a cup of stout Russian Caravan with their washtub full of stew.

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