Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flashback Fri...Sunday: Ladna, Lada!

The traffic today was horrendous. We thought for sure we'd die of carbon monoxide poisoning on the way home from the suq due to sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for so long. While we were sitting there I was noticing all the types of cars they have here. Some cars are really big, but most are rather small--fiats, ladas, those mini Chinese buses that are skinnier than your average car.

All the taxis here are painted black and white, but it's still quite easy to tell the make of the car. In Jordan most taxis seemed to be regular American sedans; here, though they're all European small cars and they pile people in them like none other.

Seeing so many ladas surround me reminded me of life in Russia. My host family owned a lada and when I first saw it I wondered how we were going to squish me and all my suitcases into the tiny little car. Amazingly enough, everything fit.

Then I wondered how the tiny little car was going to make it through all the ice and snow. Amazingly enough, it made it.

Everytime I questioned the car's abilities the car proved me wrong. Ladas are one tough car. Seriously. They can push through just about any amount of snowy-muck and if they break down, you just get a couple of your friends to flip the car over for you, so you can work on it, and then flip it back over when you're finished. And off you go. We only got stuck a few times, but even then the car was so lightweight that it didn't take much effort to make us unstuck.

They're small though. I always wondered how my super-tall host dad managed to fold his legs inside and scruntch his head low enough to see out the windsheild. For the first few days I was there, things were fine and I fit in the backseat perfectly, without bumping my head on the roof.

But then my host family became increasingly concerned about my fertility and took measures to make sure that my future children's lives were protected. They began piling blankets on my seat to shelter me from the cold. Sitting on cold things can decrease your fertility because they freeze your ovaries, according to Russian superstition.

At first I tried moving the blankets aside, but I was informed that I was supposed to sit on them. So I did, which was fine. But then they kept adding blankets to the pile. Everyday my head got closer and closer to the roof. Soon I was sitting on a pile of blankets, with my head cocked to the side and would bang my head on the roof every time we went over a bump. It felt like a living version of the Princess and the Pea.

I was all too happy when spring came around and my blanket pile shrunk enough that I fit comfortably in the car again.


  1. I think I am your only reader who can ABSOLUTELY RELATE TO YOU!! I love that thought! I've been thinking about Sasha and his driving alot lately-because I get nervous driving around in the snow in our little car. But Sasha was fearless. The ice and slush never deterred him from driving quickly, even over that dang bridge.

    And, once he insisted on giving all of the girls a ride home after a get-together at our apartment. That put 7 people total in that vehicle--and we all fit! But, my head got bumped a couple of times on that trip. :)

  2. Speaking of our host family, my long-lost host-sister of sorts, have you heard from them recently? Have their address? Anything?