Oct 31, 2012
The dreaded day has arrived. I drive to the church in trepidation, preparing myself mentally for the ordeal before me. I meet the other fellows, and soon a caravan of vehicles leaves the city and goes out to the forest where the object of my torture awaits. 17 men will gather to partake in this cultural ritual of food and fellowship, in a superheated atmosphere which is supposed to be “healthy”. We drive to one of the local resorts where they have rented the “banya”.
Sitting in a steam room with temperatures upwards of 90 degree C is not my idea of healthy. But, like a lamb to the slaughter I follow. Thankfully, there won’t be any birch branches used tonight – that is the third portion of the ritual of “healthy”. The second portion is after having sat in the before mentioned oven, an individual is to experience the joy of shock therapy. That being taking your tenderized flesh from a slightly moist 90 degree C environment to an environment which is on the other end of the spectrum. For some, if possible that means a
roll in the snow. Thankfully, for us tonight it won’t be snow, but a cool water pool. At that moment, it doesn’t really matter – it has the same affect of shock to your pores and to your senses.
On the bright side, the rest of the time was great. The fellows prepared a feast with shashleek (Ukrainian shish-ka-bob), vegies, bread, and other tempting morsels. When we put all of the food out, I was a little overwhelmed. But I forgot a very important detail – the majority of the fellows were college age/mid 20’s. Thus all of that food disappeared in approx 45 seconds.
Lots of fun.