Thursday, July 17, 2008

Finding My Sociable Self

I thought about staying behind in Bishkek while the crew went on holiday. I was having fantasies about empty apartments, privacy, and unscheduled time. Then I spoke firmly to myself. "Al," said I, "You are being a hermit. Get over yourself. You might actually enjoy yourself if you do." Thank goodness I listened, because I was right.

The first stop of our vacation-within-a-vacation was horseback riding. I was expecting lazy nags plodding through a well-worn trail through a forest. I was expecting to be afraid nevertheless, and I was expecting to be thrown from my nag and wind up trampled and dead on the ground. I was wrong.

The drive to the stable should have convinced me of how rugged the trail was going to be. We traveled across narrow dirt roads up into the mountains. At one point, our van, laden with thirteen people and their gear lurched across a bridge made of logs. The logs rolled under our wheels as we passed. The driver just laughed when we gasped. "We do this all the time," said our English-speaking guide, and I tried not to imagine all of those previous trips weakening the structure of the bridge.

I climbed up on my horse apprehensively, and received instructions. "Chu" means go, and "Prrrr" means stop. I barely had time to hope that my horse would be understanding that my American tongue just doesn't roll its R's. And then, within five minutes, we were climbing mountainous trails and viewing breathtaking scenery. I clung to my saddle with my arms and legs as we descended into valleys, and I relaxed my grip ever so sligtly when we headed up the hills again. It was two of the most thrilling hours of my trip so far - the view so gorgeous and the transportation so exciting that the time passed quickly. It wasn't until we reached the shephard's hut where we were to sleep, that I realized how hungry I was. My hunger had been anticipated and a giant feast lay before us when we entered the hut. We ate with gusto, appreciation, and good humor.

And so it was that I found my sociable self inside of an isolated hut in the middle of the remote mountains of Kyrgyzstan.


jenn said...

Good to hear the crisis has past. Amazing what the universe will send to us, when we ask and it is needed.

Right now I could use toddlers that nap. They are sleeping in beds without walls, as they were climbing on top of the walls scaring their mother. I thought I could trade scared for safe, gah. But is it really safe not to nap?

We all miss you and are proud / happy that you didn't hole up hermit style in berzerkistan. Is anyone else reading Doonsbury?

Lizzie said...

You are an amazing woman. Let's go horseback riding when you get home. Or not. I think I would have gone mad by all the togetherness required of such a trip. I also think everyone would have wanted to kick me out of the group by now, too.

Elizabeth (Charley and Benjamin, too)

Anonymous said...

On expecting the worst, and why those with no sense of direction should not trail blaze,

Buddy and I went to the big rock today and I realized I've never been ther without your protection. I know you could carry me to the hospital if I fell down a cliff. What would Buddy do? I had the worst scenerio imagined in vivid detail while climbing in my flip flops. Then I decided to climb a new cliff to the gate, but Buddy was sensible and would not follow. Well, I got disoriented and finally arrived at the wrong side of the fence surrounding the park. Hooray I know where I am, and all I have to do is climb over the fence and find Buddy. Well I started climbing imagining the worst or near worst (a big hole ripped in my pants) which did happen, and had a safe landing. Buddy soon came running toward me with a relieved look on his face. See you soon, love Judy
PS. I can't find spell check, so chill.