The Ski Lift To Hell

Or a Closed Seasonal Tourist Attraction…Same Difference….

My father was named after a mythological warrior, akin to Prometheus, who brought fire to people. His name literally translates to warrior in our language, which although it uses the Cyrillic alphabet is not Russian. My father takes great pride in his name and tends to collect things that relate to it. In Nalchik, in the park, there’s a building made to look like the warrior himself. Of course, we had to go.

It sat up on a hill overlooking the city. I’ll post a picture below so you can see what it looks like. One building is his head, then his arm stretches out, and the other building is his torch. It’s pretty nifty. Back then, the only way to get up there to see it was to take the ski lift. Did I mention that I have a fear of heights?

So the ski lifts were single chair lifts. Only one person could go at a time. My father went first, I was second, and D was last. I soon regretted my decision. It did not look safe at all. In fact, it looked pretty unsafe. Rusty. It clanged and jolted the whole time. I was pretty sure I was going to die. Especially as the ground crept further and further away from me. I considered jumping at one point, thinking I’d only risk a broken bone at worst but I stuck it out. I had a death grip on my seat. I turned to check out D and he wasn’t doing much better. He was clearly sweating and cursing up a storm. That was all I needed to set off the giggles.

My father thought I was having fun and took some pictures. I wondered why they didn’t offer a few shots of vodka before letting people climb onto the ski lift for their own sanity. I didn’t understand how my father was fine during this. I was sure the damn thing was going to snap into pieces at any moment and I’d fall into the trees below. If I was lucky, maybe the branches would slow my fall. But, amazingly enough, we made it up to the top in one piece. When I got off the chair my legs were rubber and I needed to sit for a while. D joined me. I was glad I wasn’t the only one in a sad state.

The building was closed. It was a restaurant during ski season, hence the ski lift, and we were there midsummer so we were only able to walk around outside. It was pretty cool, though, that they took a little known myth and made a building out of it. There were a lot of things in the area that related to us and our history and I hadn’t expected that. I knew our people came from the mountains and were driven out by the Russians so I thought our history would have been erased but, here, people were still telling our myths. It made a big impact on me. Enough so that the ride back down was less terrifying.

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