Russia- Day 7

April 9, 2010

Sergey giving a toast

We arrived in Nizhnevartovsk at 6 a.m. on Friday morning.  Sergey and two of his friends were there to greet us and to take us to our hotel.  The town is still buried in snow and we spot a few cars in various parking lots that are literally snowed over.  Temperature is -21 degrees Celsius, which converts to -6 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cold in anyone’s book!

Sergey took us to our hotel and helped check us in.  The entire 5th floor in comprised of suites and most of them are for us.  I was blown away at our room.  It is probably bigger than our first house and is appointed with the finest of furnishings.  The biggest bonus for the boys is there is an open commons shared by all of the rooms with a very nice ping- pong table.

After a long nap, Sergey was back with a large bus, which took us all out to the outskirts of the city to a “country club” of sorts.  The family had rented a cottage that consisted of a large dining area and a bathhouse.

Grilling meat outdoors

Food was spread out like a Thanksgiving feast, men that work for Sergey were cooking meat outside on the barbeque grill and the Alex took everyone on a snowmobile ride around the frozen lake.  The kids particularly enjoyed this!  The girls gathered and went to the bath house (bana) together.  When they were finished, several of the men including the boys and me were treated to the bana experience.  It is basically a dry sauna with traditions thrown in like whipping the body with oak branches and having ice-cold water and snow thrown on you.  It was quite an experience for us!  The boys are real troopers as they participated in everything with great enthusiasm.  We ate and drank until 8:00pm before heading back to the hotel.  Several of Alex’s friends are staying on the fourth floor and they ventured up to the 5th floor commons for more drinking and socializing.  I gave up by midnight and went to bed.

Hayden on the snowmobile

Tomorrow is the big day for Alex.  I’m not sure yet what to expect but it’ll be fun I’m sure!  I think the after-wedding celebration will be held at the hotel but other than that, we are all being kept in the dark.  I do know that Irena (Alex’s mom) has arranged for all of the girls to be picked up in the morning and taken to get their hair done at a salon.  The hospitality that Sergey and Irena have shown us is wonderful and they have certainly gone above and beyond to show us the best of their culture.

Caleb and Alex on the snowmobile

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One Response to “Russia- Day 7”

  1. Jeff said

    It’s great to see that you guys are having such a great trip. Can’t wait to read about the wedding.
    Looking forward to seeing all the pictures, and hearing about them as well. ~ JC

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