Things are thankfully calming down here in Dushanbe. The 'bad guys,' as the boys call them, are being hunted down out of the mountains and things in the city are just as they've always been. We're hoping that things will continue to wind down and we'll be able to get some fall hiking in soon.
We had planned to go camping during a local holiday, but the ban on leaving the city was still in place. I knew that the children would be disappointed, so I suggested camping in our front courtyard. They thought this was a great idea - all of the fun of camping without any of the trouble involved driving to some random place just to sleep outside. So I had my housekeeper get a bag of firewood and - I thought - a plov cooker to put the fire in. She brought the firewood and her own plov cooker (I can only imagine her confusion - plov is a winter dish), and we had hot dogs and s'mores for dinner.
Eleanor did not attend, and didn't even stay up late enough for the hot dogs. So her siblings gave her a flashlight demonstration as consolation before she was bundled into her own crib, safe from all of the excitement and fire. The children all slept soundly, and Brandon and I would have on our comfy camping mattresses if drivers of very loud heavy machinery didn't use our road for drag racing all night long. When we woke around 5:30, Brandon commented that he would give up all of his secrets after another night of sleep like that.
The children were horrified to learn that urban camping meant urban hiking when we bundled them into the car the next morning. We headed to Victory Park, a good-sized chunk of land situated on the hills surrounding Dushanbe. In the children's defense, the day was pretty hot and the sun was pretty bright, and only the introduction of the alphabet game prevented complete mutiny.
As we trudged along the dusty path in the hot sun, we named fruits, vegetables, animals, animals again, foods, foods again, countries, and names twice before we finally made it back to the car, soaked in sweat and caked in dirt.
So we ended the day with the only reasonable thing to do when you're urban adventuring - we went to the pool. Because if you can't enjoy mother nature out in the wilds, you might as well enjoy the delights of the city. About three quarters of the embassy families showed up too, and the children enjoyed an impromptu pool party with all of their best buddies.
The boys are already asking for the next campout. I'm hoping the travel ban will be lifted soon. Otherwise, I'm going to have to get some pretty good earplugs.