Friday, December 22, 2006

You can easily build Russian banya

You can easily build a Russian bath in your garden-plot in Wyoming, in Alaska or in Texas. And you can have a cheap small wooden hut, a simplest oven, even an electric one and just over a hundred pounds of small, wrist-sized gravels. Real Russian bath is not at all a dark house with bearded men who beat each other with an oak and birch broom as one could see in Hollywood movies. They are small wooden houses of the former USSR which were built by every poor peasant.
I have visited hundreds of baths. They were small country huts and big town commercial or privately owned. My group of workers has built several tens of country baths and big elite ones. I can tell you a lot first hand. But I remember constructing a bath in the province of Farah in Afghanistan in 1986 as my best experience. Our brigade used caissons of artillery mount ‘Grad’. And we stoked the oven welded from pipes with diesel oil. There was awful stink but how happy the GIs were! This was of great value! Many good guys still risk their lives in this hospitable country. But first of all I would like to speak about one of the best baths – a place which I visit many times and it makes me happy. It is the place where you can meet a millionaire, a rock star. But there no one care who you are. Everyone comes there for health, for unforgettable aromas, to have fun!
But in spite of my wide experience in photographing (I have another blog about photo devices) it was more complicated to shoot anybody in this place than to build banya in Afghanistan!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have backpacked across Siberia and been to dark banyas (rare dark smoke banya), clean banyas and public baths. They were usually painted wooden huts but the only certain thing was bearded men beating each other with birch branches to exfoliate the skin. You will never feel cleaner than a proper banya with snow on the ground to roll in between session.