Saturday, February 11, 2012

Getting through February

It's day #3 of frozen water pipes, but I'm not complaining because it's day #10 of frozen pipes for a fellow PCV in Ganca. I'm in the southern region of Azerbaijan, so the cold wave seems not as bad here. And thanks to the year around water-truck delivery system, it is possible to get some water. The truck drove through the neighborhood yesterday, sounding a distinctive horn so that everyone could set out containers to be filled. I regretted not buying large empty jars last Fall, but managed to fill a large canning kettle. And after the truck left, I spent some time visiting with my neighbors over tea.

Although the water pipe from the holding tank to my house runs underground, there's a 10 foot long section that runs up the side of my building. I'm assuming that's where the pipe is frozen and it'll stay that way until it warms up. So far we've had snow every day for the past 6 days totalling maybe 4 inches. School has been closed 4 days due to the weather, and one morning I simply was afraid to walk due to the slipperiness. Here's a wintery scene of a house near mine.

With no water coming out of the faucets, I minimize the use of the water I do have. I use a little bit of water in a basin for washing dishes, heat a bit more to rinse the soap off, but make sure that rinse water runs back into the basin. When that water gets dirty enough, it's used to flush the toilet. I've washed a few clothes, but I don't rinse out the soap as much as I'd like to. Water becomes precious since I don't know the next time I'll have more.

Nevertheless water is essential for the national drink here - tea - which is kept ready for guests. Loose tea leaves are first put into a wire basket inside of a small teapot. Boiling water is poured from the large teakettle into the small teapot to make strong tea. Some of that tea is poured into a cup and boiling water added to fill the rest of the cup. In that way, the tea is strong or weak tea depending upon the amount of tea first poured into the cup. Both teapots are kept on a stove (petch) like mine so it is always hot. For fresh tea, simply toss out the tea in the small pot and start over. Sugar cubes or wrapped candies are always served with tea.