Sunday, March 29, 2015

Second Week Working 2/2: Shared Cups of Tea, an Icy Lake and a Night in a Mongolian Yurt

Let me then tell you of the place our group of people - four people in total - lived in during the second week of working. We lived temporarily in a house that was owned by a Russian guy, both a carpenter and a painting artist, who had built his own artist atleljee upstairs. So, far he had been only living in the house and village for only eleven months. We showed our group around the ateljee in which he had many great paintings made by himself and also a couple of paintings from his teacher and artist friends.

One evening when I was alone in the house, this man was kind enough to invite me to share a cup of tea with him in the ateljee. You could see the artist definitely took a liking to Japan and Japanese culture - he had done many paintings inspired by the Japanese culture and also the way he handled the tea with great care, all the way down to using the detailed oriental tea cups, spoke to me the language of him appreciating this ancient culture.

The man switched the speakers on and put on some nice meditative music and offered me some real high quality tea as he himself said. He served the tea from a special beautifully carpented tea container.

I felt really priviledged and appreciated by the fact that the man took the time to share this sacred moment of drinking tea and listening to music with me - we later changed the music from the ambient meditative soundscapes to Pink Floyd! We made some small-talk during the hours of tead/drinking but not that much was verbally shared as I didn't talk Russian and he could only speak a fwe words of English.

Nevertheless we had a great time and the man showed me pictures of some carpentry he had done in the past. I was amazed by the level of presicion and detail his work showed. His level of skill wasn't a product of accident - the man told me one project he had for a wall church, covering many square metres in area, had taken him ten years from start to finish!

After a few more working days it was time for our group to leave the village and visit last place our volunteers had been working in. And so we headed forward a healthy number of kilometres to find a Mongolian yurt equipped with a banja (sauna) nearby. The yurt and the sauna were on the shore of a lake - a lake we got a chance to hike on as it was winter time, icy ice!

During all that it took to walk the I was mesmerized by the amazing vistas and mountains surrounding the massive lake. The sky was magically blurred in the eerie colours of white and grey and for me it sometimes really looked like the sky you see in the movie Silent Hill. After the walk we came finally came to the yurt itself and I was intrigued to see that the electric lights inside the yurt were powered with solar panel.

You see, there is a lot of sun shining in Siberia and the sun in Siberia is no joke: there's much so snow from which the sun gets reflected  that if you're not careful you could easily get sunburns! This happened to one of the carpenters when he was working a whole day outside in the sun light!

Back to the yurt itself. It was reasonably big yurt, there was enough place for maybe 15-20 people to able to sleep in the yurt easily. In the middle of there yurt the was a fire place so it was a warm place to stay as long as you kept the wood burning. We relaxed for a bit and made some food.

In the evening the banja was warmed up and what a nice sauna it was! There were some ready made holes in the near of the banja and two people in our group even went to dip themselves in the cold water before coming to enjoy the hot steam of the sauna. The next day it was already a time to go back to the village we came from but only this time it wasn't only about walking the eight miles. One local man driving a motor sledge decided to help us and he drove us and and our backpacks back and forth the lake until we were all we were supposed to be.


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