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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Snow Vacation

I have never been a snow person.  I don't like being cold and snow is, by definition, cold.  So why anyone would want to go up and spend several days in the cold is beyond me.  I can understand skiing, as I used to ski in college, but really I'd rather go somewhere warm.  Everyone has their preferences.

But I have come to enjoy playing in the snow over the years, much to my own shock.  It's kind of fun if you have the right clothes and the weather isn't too bad, and the children do enjoy it.  So this winter I decided that we needed a little family snow vacation.

Uzbekistan has several ski areas (resorts is much too strong of a word) within 90 minutes of Tashkent and there are lots of little hotels and dachas in the area.  My Russian teacher, who knows everything, recommended a 'resort' with both a hotel and cottages. 

It looked okay on the website and I liked the idea of a separate cottage, so we took the plunge and booked a cottage.  I was kind of shocked at the price - $180 a night is a lot for Uzbekistan, but I figured that's the cost of going on vacation.

The weather here has been very spring-like recently so we were a little unsure how much snow there would be up in the mountains.  The drive up was very sunny and cheerfully spring-green and we didn't see any snow until the last half hour of the drive.  But as we climbed up into the mountains, the snow got deeper and thicker until we got to our destination.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.  It's not any fun to go on a snow vacation without any snow.

And it was a good thing there was snow because there wasn't much else to do.  The 'cottage' was disappointing (to be generous), especially for the price.  I was imagining a fireplace and couches perfect for lounging but instead we got a kitchen smaller than the bathroom and a table.  With three bedrooms upstairs.  

Thankfully the children were happy to be somewhere else, so they thought everything was great.  Hm.  Brandon reminded me that I was expecting too much from Uzbekistan, and he was probably right.  

Thankfully there was a pristine, untouched meadow within walking distance of the cottage, so we had lots of snow all to ourselves.  

Brandon hates crowds which is why we stayed away from the ski areas, and skiing with small children is always a terrible idea anyway.  There aren't any ski schools to abandon them at, and there's no way I'm going to try to teach them.  Not even I am that crazy.

The children had a great time digging holes, 

Climbing in holes, 

And building snow persons.

The weather was warm enough to be hot if you moved around too much, so we made sure to spend a lot of time just hanging out.  A chaise lounge would have been nice.

One definite downside to snow vacations versus beach vacations is that the tolerance for snow playing is about two hours and then everyone has to come back inside and warm up and dry out.  This is the part where the 'fireplace and couches' would have been really nice.

But sadly all we had were uncomfortable chairs and a TV with about five working channels, all in Russian.  So we watched Russian TV.  Because any TV is better than no TV, right?  Thankfully we found a sports channel and got to hone our appreciation of diving, ice skating, downhill skiing, hockey, and cross-country skiing.  Also, we got to watch a Women's Day concert which was too bizarre to be borne for more than fifteen minutes.  Watching TV from other cultures is always entertaining in an anthropological kind of way.

Thankfully I didn't have to cook dinner in the practically non-existent kitchen because there was a restaurant of sorts.  The options were limited, but they didn't require any work on my part which is about all I wanted anyway.

What the 'resort' did have, however, was plov-cooking facilities.  I wondered who in the world would come up to the mountains to have a vacation and cook plov, but they were very popular during our time there.  In America, we grill; in Central Asia, they cook plov.  

By the end of our three days, Brandon and I were happy to go home and get sleep after two nights of amazingly hard beds, William waking up in the middle of the night, and the children waking up early in the morning.  But accommodations aside, the rest of the weekend was quite pleasant.  It's fun to get some snow time and away time every now and then, and the children all declared the entire thing a success.  But next year, I'm looking for somewhere else to stay.

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