It was a full day and the time had finally come to end the days labor. The orphanage Bakery project was at last underway. The frames with their tough galvanized coating went up with little effort and the drywall hung in place with equal ease.
I did not work up a real sweat but still had a good tired feeling. I was ready for the Hotel and the fold out bed. But old slewfoot had other plans for me. I was about to enter a realm I never could have imagined. It was a seemingly harmless invite to take a "Russian style bath". My loving wife reassured me it would be an "experience".
The Director of the orphanage assured us we were to be welcomed by a simple family who had a "Banya". We were loaded into a waiting van and taken to the quaint location down a muddy road. Who could have imagined that a simple structure made of wood and thatch could contain the horrors that awaited poor lil me. After introductions and seemingly friendly looks my wife and I entered the now infamous abode of the Banya. It was an ancient structure built maybe as far back as the time of Krushchev --who knows? It had all the charm of a barn and after some intense scrutiny I realized what the building was. "Honey this IS a barn" I said to my wife. She grinned and led me in by the hand. I knew something was wrong when I did not see a tub-even more alarming was the absence of a shower head. The ceiling was just the right height to make you duck your head or else. I could almost see the demented munchkins who had been the chief architects here. There were two cauldrons in this forsaken place-one had cold water and the other boiling water. A cackling fire was at work under the hottest water that ever met steam. My wife smiled a strange smile and said "watch this" as she poured water over heated stones. Steam hissed and churned upward reminding me of several lines in Dante's Inferno. Suddenly she reached out and grabbed some leafy branches lying nearby. She dipped them in the hot steamy water and then in the cold for the slightest time. Whack!!! She hit me on my sweating backside!!! Stunned I asked "Are you mad at me"? Whack!!! I guess she was but I didn't stick around to ask the second question. The heat in the place had me looking to see if a well done indicator had popped out of my navel. I felt like a turkey in more ways than one. "Where are you going" she asked as I grabbed a large saucepan and dipped and poured cold water over my head. "This may seem like a great way to bathe to you but my name is not Rasputin," I called back. She just giggled in a menacing sort of way and went about pouring water over herself.
Well, anyway I somehow survived it and wrote this just to warn all my friends. Beware of the infamous "Banya". It is very traumatic to say the least.
Oh by the way I have a tendency to exaggerate at times-Did you know this??
Dale and His "Banya" wife Janice
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