Like with many ‘rest days’ on my trip they very rarely turn out to be just that, ‘rest’ This was the same today as both Derek and I headed over to Sophia’s apartment to catch up with blogs, couch requests and of course number one priority washing!
None of this looked possible earlier in the day and it looked like we were destined to spend the entire day inside Sveta’s apartment as neither of us could for the life of us figure out how to open the steel door out of her apartment. In the end after much sweat and toil we had to enlist the help of a couple of passing boys and tossed the keys out of the window to try and help us unlock the door. Never before have I left so helpless or for that matter so useless but this doors locking system has to be seen to be believed.
Similarly Derek and I also had difficulty operating a washing machine whose instructions were all in Russian. Nevertheless in true British fashion we prevailed in the end.
With blogs, telephone calls and all other Internet activity done and dusted we headed back to Sveta’s apartment with another of her friends Lyazzat. Sveta had arranged with her neighbour Sergei to drive out to her Dacha. Dacha is the Russian word used for a seasonal home or second home. We piled into Sergei’s car and took the short ride to the outskirts of the city. Sveta explained to us that she very rarely gets the time to come out here to her Dacha and when we arrived it was clear for us to see that the garden had become a ‘little’ overgrown. However this if anything added to the charm. One might call it beautifully disorganized.
The garden was host to an endless variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers enough to run a small grocery store. Inside the small cottage was ample room to house at least two people, although I’m not sure it’s the kind of place you’d want to stay during the extremely cold winters here. In a word it was perfect; perhaps all that was missing was a deckchair, a pot of tea and a radio.
Sergei, Some bloke, Sveta and Derek
My time in Uralsk has been short but it will certainly leave a deep impression on me. Such wonderful hospitality and such warm-hearted people, it’s been a privilege to be in their company and share this time with them all.