Monday, July 24, 2017

My Russian Sauna Experience

While I was in Russia I really wanted to experience a true Russian banya. Unfortunately, after two years, I hadn't had the opportunity, so A and I did the next best thing. For months and months he kept saying we should go to a sauna. We never actually got around to it because it always wanted to go during the week when it was cheaper, but I just couldn't make it work when most of my classes were in the evening or at night. For his birthday, I decided we really just needed to make it work. I'm really bad at buying gifts for guys, so I knew he would like this. The only problem was he wouldn't let me pay for it!
We went to VIP-Complex Rai (VIP-комплекс “РАЙ”) and had the best time! We had the whole place to ourselves for 4 hours! You might think four hours is a lot (because I did) but the time flew by! When we first arrived I was running around looking at and taking pictures of everything. It was so big and it felt like there was so much to explore. Then we finally decided to go between the pool and the sauna. I started to feel sick after about an hour because we didn't eat lunch and the heat of the sauna wasn't helping. We ordered some food - bring your own food! It'll be a lot cheaper - and I started to feel much better.
After we ate we decided to play some pool. I felt bad a few weeks earlier because he really wanted to play somewhere and I didn't want to go so I decided to suck it up and play. Now, my only experience playing was at my grandparents house growing up, and I didn't even know how to play then; we would just take the balls and try to hit the other ones without the sticks. It was a huge surprise when I ended up winning. Thanks grandma and grandpa Albert!
After I beat him at pool we went back and forth between the sauna and pool again. I also managed to slip and hit my head on the tile floor after trying to do a cannon ball in the pool and getting a ton of water up my nose. Despite all that I had such a good time, and I'd definitely go back.
About 20 minutes before our time was up we decided it was time to pack up and get ready to leave. A called an Uber and on our way home I saw a drunk man passed out on the sidewalk. Russia leaves you with some great stories. We stopped at A's apartment so he could grab some things and on our walk back to mine we passed these wooden animals. I was glad that they were finished before I left although that wouldn't have stopped me from taking pictures. There was a goose also but it was not very photogenic at all.
A took a video of the sauna, and I decided to include it because it's more detailed than the pictures I included and gives you a better idea of the layout. Enjoy!
Have you been to a Russian banya, public sauna, or private sauna? What was your experience like?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Kommunisticheskaya Street

Sorry for the long, unplanned radio silence. My last few weeks in Russia were busy with cleaning, packing, and meeting with friends. Once I got back to the USA I've been busy with unpacking, and really not having any motivation to open my computer, yet alone write a blog post. I had intentions of writing a bunch of posts in Russia because I knew this would happen but things didn't turn out that way.

I'm back in the USA now, and I am missing Russia like crazy! There are still so many things I haven't done, so you best bet I'll be making my way back in the future. One of my first photos in Russia was taken here! I wanted to do a more comprehensive post of the street but I never got around to it seemed to rain almost every day my last month in Ufa. Don't worry, I still have a few more Russian posts left but my love for the country will never be over!
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