Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dmanisi: A Pig, A Cow, and a Dead Woman's Nightgown

Vodka and chacha in Dmanisi, Georgia

Sandy and I went to Dmanisi to spend the weekend with Jennifer. Plan: Check out the birthplace of the so-called first Europeans.

But damn it was cold and rainy. Cold rain. Brrr.

Upon our arrival, we saw a pig follow a cow down the road. If we lived in a fairy tale, both would have been princes, cursed by a bad fairy they'd offended.

Dmanisi, Georgia

Jennifer has a gorgeous view from her bedroom balcony.

Dmanisi, Georgia

The rumor was that a woman died in Jennifer's flat. A teacher. In Jennifer's bedroom? Or the second bedroom, where Sandy and I slept?

Dmanisi, Georgia

I don't know. But when I pulled back my duvet and lifted the pillow, I found a woman's nightgown under there. Wah!!! I tossed it across the room as if it were a snake. 

So I said Dmanisi was cold and rainy, yes?

We spent the weekend in Jennifer's cold flat, sometimes in the kitchen and sometimes in Jennifer's room, but always with the lone space heater cranked by us, drinking a bottle of pretty good wine, nail polish remover cheap vodka, and chacha. We ate khinkali, crackers, cheese, sausage, and cookies. We experimented with adding cherry jam to the vodka and the chacha to see if we could offset the paint stripper effect, and learned that this was fairly effective with the vodka, but did nothing to dampen the chacha's exuberance.
Dmanisi, Georgia

Jennifer made some excellent Turkish coffee on Sunday morning.

Incredibly, we sat in the kitchen and talked from the time we arose in the morning til about 3:00 p.m.

Then we piled on all of our cold-weather gear and hied off for the marshrutka back to Tbilisi.

Whereupon we stumbled on an interesting cultural something-or-another.

Sidebar: It happens that I have a fondness for small acts of insurrection. I believe an empire can be toppled by a sufficient number of micro-rebellions. 

We arrived at the bottom of Jennifer's side street and crossed the main drag to await the marshrutka on the other side. Ah, there is a private student of Jennifer's, also waiting in the cold, holding a bag.

We engage in a little chitchat, then note there is a marshrutka up the street about 500 feet. Ah, maybe that's ours. We wait for it to continue its way toward us, after what we thought was a pause to drop off or pick up a passenger. But no. It just sat. Ah, but here comes another one! Maybe that's our marshrutka. But no. It stops in front of the first marshrutka.

This was all quite puzzling. I ventured a guess that perhaps new marshrutkas will continue to come, and each will stop in front of the previous one until eventually there will be one in front of us and we can get on it and it will go to Tbilisi. 

Oh, and by the way, I asked Jennifer's private student, where are you going? Tbilisi? "No," she replied, "I'm going to give this bag to my sister."

"Oh?" I asked. "Where is she?"

"She's on the marshrutka up the street."

"You mean the one right up there? That we're looking at? Your sister is in there right now?"


"OK, wait. Are you telling me your sister is in that marshrutka right up there, right this minute, in the marshrutka, that we are looking at right now?"


This turn of events was so fascinating to me that I completely forgot my prior fascination as to why these marshrutkas were just sitting up there to begin with, not to mention why we continued to stand and wait where we waited while they sat where they sat.

".... mmm, so have you considered walking up to the marshrutka that your sister is in and giving her the bag?"


I pondered all this while we stood, shivering, in the cold rain while those marshrutkas up the street idled, no doubt with the heaters on.

I said, "Let's do it. Let's walk to those marshrutkas and see what happens."

And we did.

The student gave her sister the bag. Sandy and I got on the marshrutka. And we went to Tbilisi.

Note: There was another story about the marshrutka that has to do with a television (where? we don't see a television) and Sandy being told to sit on the pull-down seat and us not understanding why when there were regular seats still available, but later we did understand, but .... I'm tired now.

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