Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Woodsy walkabout

I hope that by the time this blog post pops up, I will be safely at home with my husband and dogs. Still, I couldn't resist showcasing one of my final walkabouts, this time on the way home from visiting my parents' friend Nani. I had to walk off all the food she and her sister stuffed me with, and along the way I happened upon a peaceful, piney park I never realized was just a few blocks from my house.

Immediately I started making a mental list of places I want to visit or revisit next time I am in Georgia. Even though it can be incredibly frustrating at times, this is a country that offers treasures around every corner and rewards for those who seek them out. Georgia draws you in and makes you want to return.

Until next time...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Farewell tour

 At this point, you'd think I'd have learned that when Larissa says we're stopping by to see someone for cake, what that really means is that we're bringing the cake and the people we are going to see will try to feed us so much additional food that we will be completely beached for the rest of the afternoon. (Don't even get me started about all the toasting...)
 Apparently I am a slow learner.

Anyway Larissa took me to say goodbye to her lovely parents and I got to sample Dodo's version of Georgia's answer to nshima or polenta, a thick corn porridge. In this case, it's served with fresh cheese marinated in minty sour cream, which may sound revolting (as it did to me at first) but is divine. Addictively divine, as in you will be immobilized on the sofa after eating an insane amount of it.
Watching Dodo stir her pot of corn totally gave me Zambia flashbacks to Ba Estheri muscling a pot of nshima into submission. Main difference: Georgians use forks, not fingers.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Culinary cross-cultures

 As I wrap up my time here, of course I am keeping up with my hobby of bridging cultures through food. I can't believe I never knew about these pastries (pictured above), which I've already forgotten the name of. Basically it's a giant circle of dumpling dough, folded around cheese and fried. Holy smokes.
Some people claim Georgians are unwilling to try new food.
I am lucky because my host family likes everything.
Alas, there is no real American cuisine besides hamburgers, and I am a vegetarian, so it's more challenging for the exchange to travel in the other direction. Instead, I introduced Larissa and Tamta to Indian food, which as you can see was a smashing success.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Scenes from the subway

Since learning how to navigate the bus system, which in most cases is quicker and and easier, I have neglected my previous love, the subway. I'm glad I went back from another go, if only to have one last look at its quirky charms.
He seemed so peaceful, drunkenly napping the day away...at 3pm.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Village walkabout

As usual, I took a few walkabouts to get to know the place. Close to Choga, apparently. I didn't walk quite that far. We were in Chorutsku. Or something. Pretty close to Abkhazia, for those of you keeping score at home.
 Old Soviet murals are everywhere, always a little crumbly.
 Yuri's driveway passes over a canal full of what I assume to be sewer water, though I hope not, since I also saw a bunch of boys swimming in it.
Of course, a little trash never hurt anybody, right?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Home dentistry

Apparently Yuri is reluctant to leave his cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, etc, to travel to Tbilisi for dental work. Luckily for him, both of his sons are dentists willing to make in-depth house calls. While we were in the village, Vaho made plaster casts to send back to his brother for tooth construction.


What is there to say? Yuri's dog Chorna (which apparently means "black" in Russian) had puppies. Endless entertainment for the humans. Well, the female humans. The guys seemed immune to all the cuteness.
 Can't stand the cute.