28 July 2012, 12:22

Beware of the Russian dacha

Beware of the Russian dacha

For weary souls, visiting dacha in Russia (also known as country homes), after a long work week seems quite inviting. Relaxing as it may seem, travelers of all backgrounds need to be extra aware of what they might get involved in. From deadly bites to thieves, this may be enough to think twice about a long weekend away, distantly secluded from reality.

Two hazards that come to mind are ticks and mosquitos. To be more specific, tick encephalitis can actually kill someone if not properly treated in time or vaccinated according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2009, 3 cases of people dying in Russia because of this disease were reported, all of them elderly. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also warns people of this endangerment. The CDC specifies that tick borne encephalitis can possibly give victims symptoms of nausea, headache, and fever, just to name a few.

Also, mosquitos, though visible are awfully terrible to deal with as itchy bites can be torturous when it breaks the skin. Mosquito repellents help to an extent, but it’s more likely for the bottle to run out than for these pesky bugs to stop what they do best.

“I think that just kind of goes with the territory of going to the dacha, “said Melissa L.Caldwell, author of Dacha Idylls: Living Organically in Russia’s countryside and professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz

In Caldwell’s book, she touches upon both positive and some negative aspects of dacha living. One incident involved vandals who came into the community of dachas and stole some gas canisters. Another occurrence she wrote about is the trash situation. Since there are no trash men picking up the pieces left behind, people take their garbage back with them into the city to dispose of. Discouraged as it is, some, leave it there, buried in the forest.

On redtape.ru, the forum named Hot in the City has a decent amount of complaints about dacha related issues. One poster wrote in 2011 about how inconvenient it is to have to lug everything to and from the dacha, as a way to prevent crooks from snatching everything from table cloths to silverware. Putting a fence in place has helped many residents get the peace of mind they were looking for, not to mention keeping out looters. Yet by doing this, isolation from their once close neighbors might take a toll on fence builders.

Bio- toilets and play sets for children are just some of the add ons people can choose to purchase for their dachas. Installing extra perks like fences and indoor plumbing can invite criticism, as many Russians feel like dachas should have a rustic feel, mentions Caldwell. Bringing in cozy amenities takes that away. That doesn’t stop The Outdoor Dacha, which is a special exhibition event that comes to Moscow. Every year they show off the fancy frills people can add to their dachas not to mention drain from their bank accounts.

Dachas are not so atrocious, as a wide number of people definitely have a unique experience. The beautiful picturesque view of the territory which surrounds them is considered other worldly Dinner paired with fresh produce picked right from the garden is a feast indeed. The delight of being away from the concrete jungle makes people over joyous

Venturing through the forest with the help of TheRealAntroid channel on youtube.com lets outsiders understand exactly what the dachas surrounding look like with a video called DACHA the movie. This can be reassuring to tourists and expatriates who may be apprehensive about visiting or renting a dacha. As well, another blogger on lifeporusski.wordpress.com expresses their reaction from going to the land of the dachas as mostly positive and content.

As summer comes to its peak, country homes, better known as dachas may never seem to become unpopular. They are a retreat for many Russian families, friends, and curious travel goers. “There’s a different rhythm, that you can be at the dacha for overnight or just for a couple of days and it feels like you’ve been there a week or more,” said Caldwell. The unity and tradition is what the dacha seems to be about. The magical moment of being able to sit in silence -- is priceless.

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