Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Flashback to July 2011: To Gurjaani, A Weekend in the Country

Five years ago, I lived in Caucasus Georgia. Gosh darn it was hot in July! On this particular weekend, I was able to escape the city and visit the countryside. The charm of Tuscany has nothing on rural Georgia.

Of course, even Rembrandt paintings have the occasional fly on the fruit.

Friday, July 29, 2011

To Gurjaani: A Weekend in the Country

Today, I took a marshrutka from Rustavi to Gurjaani, with the assistance of my host Giorgi. I'd spend the weekend there with his mother, Nino, and her sisters and other relatives. But first, today's Building Behind Me:

Building Behind Me 072911

It was good to get out of Rustavi and to see actual countryside again. The breeze coming through the window felt good. I noticed that the Georgians are a quiet bunch in the minibus. No thank yous to the bus driver when paying their money and getting off. And the bus driver feels no compunction about stopping on a spot in the road that forces a disembarkee to step into weeds.

At any rate, presently we arrived in Gurjaani and soon enough I saw Nino and several young'ns anxiously looking out for my arrival. Nino felt very relieved when I came. We walked down a gravel-y road between strong, two-story, stone-and-brick houses, all in the same style.

Gurjaani residential street

Gurjaani house

We didn't walk far before getting to Nino's parent's homestead, where Nino's sister, Maia, lives. Forty days ago, their mother had died, and this get-together was a customary gathering that occurs 40 days after the loved one's death. It marks an end to a period of mourning. (I seem to recall Ayano, of the Bale Mountains in Ethiopia, telling me of a similar process. Once the 40-day mark occurs, the next and final note of the mourning is the first year's anniversary of the loved one's death. I wonder if the same happens in Georgia.)  

Entering the family compound, I see beautiful flowers, a table under a grape arbor, at which several men sat amidst food and drink, and women and girls coming toward me. We went inside the house, where the women soon filled a table with breads, fruits, fish, meats, cheeses, and other things I can't remember. With the dusk light coming in, it was all very Rembrandt-ish.

A supra in Gurjaani, Georgia. July 2011.

A supra in Gurjaani, Georgia. July 2011.

A supra in Gurjaani, Georgia. July 2011.

A supra in Gurjaani, Georgia. July 2011.

Served with dinner was a very nice local wine. Many beautiful toasts wishing me, my family, my country, and then everyone's family and country well.

I loved the mackerel, lightly battered. Very meaty. Hostesses were Maia and sisters Nino (my hostess), Mzia, and Nely. Maia was their mother's primary caretaker before she died. She'd been blind for some years. Also present were Nely's and Mzia's granddaughters, Little Nely, Nino, and Mariami. Neighbors also stopped by, including Nika, her sister Vika, brother Martin, another neighbor Giorgi, Ketel, Manana #1 and Manana #2, and Manana #2's daughter, Tina.

There were numerous beds in the  house's lower level. Mzia, I discovered later, slept on a bed outside in the courtyard.

.... umm, did I mention the squat toilet in the brick house outside? Yeah.

The family and neighbors --- very pleasant and hospitable. 

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