When we got back to the hunting lodge, it was nice to take the boots off and wash with some warm water. It was not until I sat down on my stool by the dining room table that I realized how sore my back side was. Horse riding is a workout and it works muscles that just don’t ever get used during other activities. And, the seat itself was a bit sore as it had constant contact for the whole day.
We broke open some beers and soon enough, out came the vodka. I had my “obligatory” shot and then stuck to the beer. I’m really developing a disdain for vodka. Khashy brought out hot chai (always served with goat or horse milk) and I realized that I was starting to develop a taste for the chai. It was not as strong as most tea I’ve had and it was unsweetened. It sort of tasted like weak tea mixed with goat milk; it is certainly somewhat of an acquired taste.
After a while, Khashy served a delicious meal of goat, potato, carrot, and some other vegetables. The Kazakh meals are heavy in oil and were rich and filling. With the cold weather, your body uses a lot more energy and I ate everything that I could.
Following dinner, Alpamys took out his dombra and played some traditional Kazakh songs.
The light in the room was powered by a 12 volt car battery that was powered during the day by a solar panel. All energy used in this home was either collected in the sun, or brought in the form of small AA batteries. The home was heated by horse and yak dung. I always wondered what burning dung smelled like and I was surprised to find out that it is odorless.
Alpamys played wonderfully. The boys crowded into the room with the men but the women never crossed the threshold. They stayed in the kitchen or just into the doorway; the sexes were clearly segregated in this traditional Kazakh household.
Alpamys played wonderfully. Everyone listened in and on some of the more traditional songs, everyone (except Baatar and I) joined in and sung along. It was a nice break from television and Nintendo. Because the light from the 12 volt flourescent light did not provide ample light for video, I asked Alpamys to play his dombra for me in the morning so that I could share it with you:
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