Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tbilisi Times

Tbilisi is a whole lot of craziness and fun. And to be very clear, Tbilisi is in no way indicative of the rest of Georgia. While I was home, I was reveling in the fact that my wait staff in restaurants spoke English. Now, before your say “duh”, let me remind you, I had spent three months in a foreign country with a foreign language and it is just plain exhausting to have to rely on a couple words of Georgian I have picked up day in and day out. Though, quick fun side note, the airplane from Amsterdam to Tbilisi was really cold and I said to the woman next to me “tsivia” (cold). She looked at me in surprise and asked me, in Georgian, if I spoke Georgian. I laughed and said absolutely not, and she spoke a great English, so English was the language we used to speak, but hey, my accent is good enough that she thought I spoke the whole language! Amazing. Well, anyway, in Tbilisi, the waiters DO speak English. In fact, most people you might need to speak with do. It is totally nuts. And if you are wondering I might have been happier in Tbilisi, the answer is “no way, no how!” This place is BIG. And scary. And has too many ways to be killed by cars. But it has English and it has hot springs. And today I enjoyed the wonders of the sulfur baths. I have never been to anything like this before, but I went with a friend from TLG who had, and man it was fun. I am still totally jet-lagged so I was in a fog and then there was steam everywhere, so it was normal to be in a fog (insert laugh here).
We went out to eat and I had the wonderful experience of having the menu in English and the waiters speaking English. Then I headed back to Qiso's apartment. I had already figured out that her apartment is about a block away from the hotel I stayed in when I first got to Georgia so I knew generally where I was headed. I followed the river and then got to a bridge I had never seen before. About a second later, I realized I had never seen it before because neither the apartment nor the hotel is on the river... I was supposed to make a turn somewhere. It was still quite sunny so I decided not to call anyone to find out where I was. I wandered in what I thought was the right direction and followed what I thought were familiar buildings. And the craziest part of it was, I was right! I found my way back, all by myself. I was feeling pretty proud of myself as I wound my way through the maze of tiny streets that get to the apartment. And that is when I saw this tiny dog. As I have said before in this blog, I hate dogs, and I have developed a love for all dog catchers. They are not the villeins Disney movies made them out to be. Not at all. Anyway, I had just given a talk about dogs and other things to expect in Georgia with a couple of other TLGers so I thought it was funny that I had not yet adopted the practice someone else had suggested: always carry a rock in your pocket. But all the other dogs I had passed ignored me and I thought this one would too, as I walked past. Not so. First of all, it starts to follow me and then starts growling. I made the gesture of throwing something at it (sometimes that works very well) but this time it ran in a gate and came out again snarling. This time I used the stern voiced “No” that has worked on many of the pet dogs owned by friends of mine, and it worked?! I couldn't believe it! The thing just stopped and sat there as I walked quickly up the steps into the apartment. I think it was just trying to figure out what “no” meant since it is not Georgian... Anyway, any good feeling I may have built up for dogs after seeing the pet dogs this last month is GONE. Absolutely gone. But it is better that way in this country. They are everywhere and they are dangerous. But soon I will be back in Poti where the dogs just keep me awake all night but don't try to eat me...

Note: I wrote this blog piece and forgot to post it. I have been in Poti for 3 days and have been attacked by no dogs.


  1. ahh, but if there was some good feeling built up, it can come again!


    1. ok, I didn't write that correctly... what I should have said was, "any feelings of neutrality that I developed over the month, such as when a dog was chewing my pant leg or attempting to lick my face and i didn't run crying from the room, have been replaced with stark terror... Not replaced even. My feeling has RETURNED to stark terror." I will get back up to mild dislike pretty quickly, but no, good feeling toward dogs is not... not gonna happen...

  2. Well that is a pretty open minded reply is it not? :-) Inquiring minds want to know, you said this was a small dog, We know that a dogs size is multiplied many times in your eyes, so how big was this "terror" anyway? I am glad you have not been attacked and hope that remains the case