Published: June 30th 2011June 30th 2011
ok so its been a while. honestly work hasn't been that stressful, in fact i wouldn't mind some more assignments. so i am not even gonna talk about work.
so last saturday we finally were able to go to kazbegi, a village on the georgian military highway. this road was built in the 1800s and honestly i dont think it has been updated/fixed since. the roads are pretty crappy but not as bad as i expected. so this road was built to connect tbilisi to vladikavkaz in russia. nowadays, obviously u cant go to russia and borders are crossed and kazbegi is the last major town/village. kazbegi is famous for 2 things: 1. mount kazbek, the 3rd highest mountain in Georgia 2. the Holy Trinity Church and monastery on top of another mountain. for anyone who has ever looked at the georgia, armenia,azerbaijan lonely planet guidebook, it's the image on the cover. in fact kazbegi is kind of the symbol/landmark of georgia. kind of the golden gate bridge of georgia. I dunno.
ok so we signed up with a tour agency to take us, it cost 40 lari about $24USD and it included lunch and dinner. we left tbilisi early saturday morning, correction-we were SUPPOSED to leave early, but just like all russians/georgians/eastern europeans/(most women) everyone was late and so we left late.
the georgian military highway was beautiful. we stopped along the road to take pictures of the mountains and scenery. it was this highway that inspired lermontov, pushkin and a host of Georgian writers. i can see that now. it was amazing. honestly i felt like i was in the alps except it wasnt as cold. it was a von trappe moment (dont judge me, sound of music is one my favorite movies).
so when we got to kazbegi, i knew it was a big mountain, but i also heard that with a tour they drive u up. so as u pull up to the city i can see the church on top and i say to m, "soo glad we dont have to climb that mountain" well i spoke too soon. ten minutes later the driver says "ok see u soon" and 'kicked us out of teh van'...what followed was a hellish "walk" up the mountain. 1. it was a mountain 2. i was wearing jeans and crappy tennis shoes. it is not something i want to do again anytime soon. but it was well worth it. the views were amazing, the church was small but beautiful, the guides were helpful, spoke russian and english so it was a success. the entire time i was hiking up the mountain i kept thinking 'how did they build a church here in the 17th century?" and we had a 'road" to guide us. it was beautiful. the descent was easy but still took a long time. on the way home we stopped for khinkali. for those of u who dont know what khinkali are, they are big meat dumplings with broth inside as well. there is also a technique in eating them so u dont spill the broth all over your plate.
it was nice to be on a tour cuz we met some interesting ppl-latvians, canadians, germans and some more georgians. additionally it was really nice to practice my russian and meet some new ppl.
the next day we experienced our first supra-a georgian feast/party with toasts, food etc. this one was a khinkali party. our host family taught us how to make them . dare i speak ill of pelemeni and be scorned for life by all living russians, but khinkali taste so much better. georgian food has more flavor and spice to it. dont get me wrong, i still love russian food and eat it here, but georgian food is amazing.
so the supra was a lot of fun. basically its kind of like a russian dinner party with lots of drinking except toasts go on forever. one person is designated the 'toast master' aka tamada.it is his( i dont think females are tamadas often, but i guess its possible) duty to make toasts. he makes sure everyone has a drink and that everyone is enjoying themselves. sometimes a tamada even has an assistant toast master, and it is his job to add onto the original toast. also when a toast is being made u cant drink. ucant drink unless a toast is made ( i am not sure how strict they are about that, cuz i drank in between toasts) so pretty much now i get why they drink so much for each toast. its cuz they dont know the next time they wil drink cuz it depends on how long the toast is. moral of the story-drink a lot at once ;)
soooo we made the khinkali from scratch. i say that i will make them when i get home, but i will probably have more of a managerial role in the process, marina can handle the actual cooking ;) just kidding (kind of). its not that labor intensive if u have a bunch of ppl making them.
ok so when everything was set and done we began our meal. basically it consisted of a lots of toasts. i dont remember all htem but here is the gist of what they covered/to whom/what we toasted to: the host family, the guests, the kids, ancestors, love, friendship, the deceased, the future....it was a lot like a russian party. reminded me of babi nadia and didi ercole's parties except no one was "singing" italian opera. it was really fun and it was nice to have been to a supra cuz everyone was telling me about it before i left. so now i can i have been to a supra. when everyone left and it was time to clean up was when it got interesting. i was hanging out wiht my host dad who speaks perfect russian. he got his medical degree in russian and actually spent most of his teens and 20's there. he told me he left georgia a boy but came back a man cuz his formidable years were in russia. we talked about how sad it was what russian georgian relations had come too, how russians and georgians acted liek family before. everythign was good but in the 90's things went down the drain. its really sad. but i guess what makes me feel OK is that there really isnt a lot of animosity towards russian people. to the government yes, of course. but to russians and russians like me, they are receptive. whenever i speak to ppl here they assume i am ukrainian simply cuz it would be impossible to find a russian in georgia.
words of wisdom i learned:
wine + milk = diarrhea (not from experience, but my host dad told me that, cuz i had a glass of wine next to a glass of milk)
before drinking unpasteurized milk put in through a strainer, i tried some and it was a little chunky
before i forget our host sister's cousin had a baby yesterday. we havent met him yet, but andreas was born yesterday. he has 2 older brothers who are adorable and i cant wait to meet the little one. in our host family there are so many kids, its so nice to play wiht them etc since in our family i am the baby and this baby is getting old :( (dont even wanna think about about my birthday coming up....)
thats about it for now, sorry it wasnt that funny
i have some funny stories but i will wait to tell those in person