So I got back from
But I digress. A lot went on in
Tertmet’i – So before I even get to
Jennifer's family's compound in Senaki
Tormet’i – Jennifer is in Senaki, which isn’t too far away from myself, and I know a few other people in that town; let’s just say that it’s not the
Tsamet’i – Needless to say, my buddy Bill and I hung out there until we had to take the one a.m. mat’erabeli (train) to Tbilisi from Senaki (I played pool and nardi with the neighborhood boys [the house was like the neighborhood clubhouse, people just coming in and out at any time] while Bill serenaded all the married women on the piano; a fact that he did not know at the time and was worried about later). The tickets were just 5 Lari each (approximately $3) and it was only scheduled for about 6 hours while we each got our own “bed”. We thought, “Well if we get drunk enough, we’ll fall asleep when we get on and before we know it, we’ll be in
I go from Death Camps to the cutest little girl in Senaki. Jennifer's host niece who is shown here dancing to Lady Gaga
Totkhmet’i – I haven’t taken many third-world trains, but how bad can it be? Right? Maybe it was just the people on the train, because when we got on everyone was comatose. This could have been because they had the same thought as us (let’s get drunk), but it probably meant that the only people who take the night train to Tbilisi on a Tuesday (and only ante up for third class tickets) are the poorest and most desperate… like Bill and I. The “beds” were sleeping cots stuck into any place that would fit, and were about five feet long. Bill and I are both over six feet, and we were holding onto our bags for dear life; no matter how drunk we got, it wasn’t comfortable (actually, scratch that, because Bill slept like a baby the entire trip).
Bill ready to pass out in his sleeping spot on the train
Tkhutmet’i – I would have probably been fine if it weren’t for the situation involving finding our bunks. Jennifer’s host-brother Uda tried to show us to our spots (her host-mother demanded that she drive us to the train station with Uda in her giant Suburban [another mafia dead-giveaway]), but he had to rush off the train when it started going with him still on it (when he jumped off, we must have been going at least 40 km/hr). The attendant ended up showing us to our bunks, which were both already taken. The lady in Bill’s spot got up without complaint, while the older guy in my cot was not happy that he had to relinquish his sleeping post.
Teqvsmet’i – But eventually he relented and got down. But after I got up to my bunk, all the change in my pocket fell out as I sat down. It trickled down to the bed below me, and the lady staying there gathered it and gave it back to me, which immediately set the old guy off. He demanded that some of the change was his, and when I told him ara, ara, ara, he persisted, just getting louder and more animated. So my options were to not budge and have this guy giving me the business the entire trip while probably trying to steal something from me as I fell asleep, or I could give him the few Lari in change that I had in order for him to leave me alone; obviously I chose the later. As Dennis once told Charlie in It’s Always Sunny, “There’s probably gonna’ be some dicks out there.” No matter how nice I’ve found the Georgian people, odds were I was going to run into a few crazy assholes.
Chvidmet’i – I was going to
Bill next to the largest TV in Georgia, at least that's what we believe.
Tvramet’i – But I digress. The point is that unless you’re married, you aren’t expected to have any sexual relations with you’re partner, let alone allowed to share the same room. Now I know there are many families in the states that may have the same expectations, but there’s ways of skirting the rules in the States. Here, not so much. We had a question and answer session with some real Georgians during our orientation in
Tskhramet’i – So Rob and Ashley had quite the predicament on their hands: either sit by and meet in the woods every weekend, or get married and actually be able to visit each other and close their bedroom door. You can see why it only took them about two weeks to pull the trigger.
Train Station in Tbilisi
Otsi – Hence the mass exodus of English teaching volunteers from Samegrelo to Tbilisi (by the way, people in Georgia who know what the program is, call us Misha’s Teachers in reference to the presidential power behind the program). There were to be about forty of us, and Bill and I decided to get an apartment so we could have people over if we wanted while also maybe cook something. It cost a little bit more than the hostel (about 14 Lari [$8-9] a night), but I think we were both willing to splurge just for that privacy, given the fact that at home, we have little of it.
Will add pictures later... (UPDATE: Pictures have been added)