According to the calendar, summer started this past week. According to Tajikistan, summer started last month. And so by now, a month into summer, it is hot. We have hit the upper-nineties, low hundreds weather that characterizes Dushanbe's long, hot summers. I water my outside plants every single morning so they don't die by evening, the air conditioner never stops running, and I don't go barefoot in my courtyard past ten in the morning.
Summer also means the end of adventuring. My family is less than enthusiastic about hiking at best, and when you throw in ninety-degree weather, hiking is just out of the question. So this means that we spend our summer Saturdays at the pool. I've gotten lazy, so this suits me just fine. There's nothing that makes you feel rich like spending hours under a sunny blue sky enjoying a nice cool pool. Work? That's for other days of the week. I'm going to go for another swim.
That worked really well for Saturdays right until the pool got closed. The embassy spent a week switching the pool from chlorine to salt water and somebody managed to hook up the pump incorrectly and kill it. With the sketchy mail situation, this means an undetermined time before the pool is operable again. Everyone is very sad.
So this past Saturday, we went for another adventure. A good friend is leaving soon and wanted to finish off her time in Dushanbe with some fun, so she invited us to come with her family (I know, I know, I was shocked too that anyone would voluntarily spend their Saturday with all six of our children) to a little 'resort' about an hour out of town.
Tajikistan has lots of these little resorts, or 'rest areas,' scattered throughout the countryside. The canyon north of Dushanbe, Varzob canyon, is littered with them. Usually they have a pool, tapchans, a restaurant, and occasionally a hotel. They look very inviting when you drive past them. I always construct an ideal scenario where we spend all day swimming, lounging, and enjoying the good life every time we pass them.
But every time I bring this up with Brandon, he comes back at me with reality. "There will be bunches of locals staring at you, the food will give us diarrhea, and the facilities will be filthy. No. Stop asking."
My friend had been to this particular resort earlier this summer, and so was able to vouch for it. After a minimal amount of badgering, Brandon agreed to come, and so Saturday morning we packed a pool bag and headed south.
Everyone, especially Brandon, was pleasantly surprised by how nice the resort was, with nicely kept grounds, a decent pool, and even curtained tapchans to put William in while he took a nap. We had a very nice day swimming, eating, lounging, talking, and watching the children play. It was just like all of the daydreams I've been having for the past two and a half years. By the time we left around five, Brandon (Brandon!) was making plans for our return visit.
We made it home around six, and having just spent the day relaxing, none of us were in the mood to make everyone do their Saturday chores. So we didn't. And then we weren't in the mood to make dinner. So instead we watched the very last Harry Potter movie while having popcorn and ice cream for dinner.
Most of the time I like to make sure my children are learning to be responsible members of society by contributing to the running of the household, learning the reality that very rarely is life all play and no work. But every now and then it's fun to just wallow in the decadence and throw responsibility to the winds. And Saturday was one of those days. It was fantastic.