November 16, 2007

Trip to HEMAH glassworks.

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 4:05 pm by Jenn

On Wednessay, I was invited by a member of the International Women’s Club to go on this trip to HEMAH.  Those of you who speak Russian, know that this is pronounced “Nehman” glassworks.  HEMAH is a crystal/glass factory about 2.5 hours from Minsk.  Here is a link to their website .  There were about 25-30 women who all currently live in Minsk, but are from all over the world.    Most everyone spoke Russian.  The tour left around 8:30 and we drove to the Grodno region of Belarus (to the west of Minsk).  We had a police escort which I found was very amusing and even more amusing when it turned from a one car to a two car escort. 

 Of course the drive was very pretty….lots of snow covered villages and trees.  I’m sorry that I forgot my camera, because it really was beautiful.  I’m also sorry because I wasn’t able to capture a picture of the restroom facilities that we stopped to use.   I’ll try to describe it, but trust me you HAD to be there to truly appreciate it. 

So, we stop at what I would say was a truck rest area.  There were picnic tables and a restroom.  The restroom was a one person unit shaped like a mushroom…that’s right a mushroom.  Now remember there is snow everywhere.  So the bus unloads and 25 women head toward this mushroom.  I sit on the bus, trying to figure out how much longer until we get there, can I hold it, etc.  I’m in no big hurry to go outside given that it is cold and there are 25 women in line ahead of me.  I finally decide to go.  THANKFULLY I learned my lesson and never leave home without toilet paper or plenty of napkins in my purse….again thank you Vera Bradley for designing the Villager!  Ok, so the line is going pretty fast, I head to the line and about that time notice that women are coming out of the woods adjusting their clothing!  You know it must be bad when women opt for a snow covered forest.  Still, I’m thinking….how bad can it be and opt for the mushroom.   The two women ahead of me said, “Not bad, just stinky”.  So in I go.  Well, I’m at first taken back by the smell, (somewhere between jiffy john and composte) then I forget about the smell and can only focus on the large toilet shaped HOLE in the concrete in front of me.  I’m thinking, ok, how do I do this, I have to hold up my coat, squat, balance, not fall in, not pee all over myself and wipe.  I CAN DO THIS…(for those of you from “The Beach”, remember Forrest and Gretchen’s wedding)…I was worried.  Well I managed to accomplish that mission and now I just had to figure out how in world to get out of the mushroom without touching anything.  It was impossible.  Thankfully, there was plenty of snow to wash my hands with (and hand gel in my purse back on the bus).   I start walking back to the bus and the first thing I hear is “Jenn, what’s that on your shoe?”  I look down and much to my relief, it is just a leaf.  LOL  Now, back to the bus and NO MORE TEA for me and Thank God, I didn’t pick today to try stilettos!

It was a very interesting experience with a tour of the factory and museum, lunch and shopping (of course).  I bought a few things, I already have more crystal than I need so I couldn’t really justify spending/buying too much.  I bought a gift for our housekeeper for Christmas and some just in case gifts to keep….just in case.  The “big” purchase was a large crystal brandy glass (I mean large) that I plan to use as a centerpiece during the holidays.  I think I’ll fill it with pinecones for Thanksgiving and colored glass balls for Christmas.  Jeanne would be proud.



  1. Heather said,

    Awww, Jeanne would be proud. You need to remember your camera, woman! I wanna see pics!!! By the way – I’m posting a link to your blog on my site – NOW! :O)

  2. Ruth said,

    So, “HEMAH” is pronounced “Nehman”??? I do not envy your having to learn Russian. Although, if I could snap my fingers and speak, write & understand Russian – love that. I’m such a lazy American.

    I will start with Spanish: “Mucho Amor” – sounds pretty much like, “Mucho Amor.” Gotta love the Romance languages.

  3. sjsmart said,

    Spanish is a piece of cake compared to Russian. The letters in Spanish are pretty much what you expect them to sound like. In Russian not only do you have 10 vowels, but you have letters that in English make one sound, but in Russian make a totally different one which makes reading interesting. In Russian, Г = g, Н = n, Р = r then they are symbols…I won’t even get in to those. It’s tough, but practice makes perfect, well kind of.

  4. Mom said,

    I so remember that bathroom bit from our camping in Italy. I was afraid to take you in there for fear that something tragic would happen. Thank God you were still in diapers that summer!!!!I am anxious to see that brandy snifter myseld!

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