May 14, 2011 Baba needs a vacation

Posted in Rodger's Russia Book | Posted by rodger |

Baba needs a vacation. She has had a 2 year old child hanging onto her 10 hours a day for almost a year, and no one can take that forever.

Baba is an old socialist survivor and, to her, a vacation includes enemas, mud packs and an EKG. This was the standard in her younger years and much of her mind still lives in those years.

I suggested that we send her to Nalchick for a week or ten days. The city is full of Spas that offer mineral water, massage, enemas, warm beds and bad tasting healthy food. They are commercial enterprises now and many offer upper class services. The prices are cheap, too. With all treatments, it runs less than $60 a day.

Baba insisted that she would go to the free pensioners’ spa in the mountains. No need to spend money when there was a free spa that she had heard good things about. I was surprised that any of the old workers spas was still operating. They were a common reward for workers under socialism. You went down the street, up to the mountains or to Sochi depending on how much clout you had, and then you stayed in a nice healthy state run spa.

Baba phoned the spa. They are in the mountains about two hours from here near the beautiful Blue Lakes. The person on the phone said that the spa was housed in an old but beautiful converted administration building. They took 40 people each month who normally stayed for the entire month, but could leave earlier.

They didn’t have massages and enemas, but they had fresh air, scenery and two showers – for the forty people. Ok, maybe the beds were old but there were never more than four in a room, and they also had one television for each 20 person wing so there was something to do.

Baba asked who usually came to such a ‘’paradise” and the lady said it was mostly very old, very sick people who couldn’t afford medical treatment and who came to the spa hoping that the fresh air and healthy life style would cure them.

Next week Baba goes for seven days to Nalchick – to a nice resort with marble floors, and enemas, and a pool, and massage, and an EKG.

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