Saturday, November 27, 2021

Gulf Shores, Alabama: Thanksgiving 2021

My original Thanksgiving 2021 plan was to hie myself to Lafayette for a splendid weekend of live music and dance and reunions with old acquaintances. 

 

 

Until my rational brain kicked in. Hold on there, Mzuri. There are too many folks in the Lafayette dance community who disdain the vaccines and masks AND who likely will have like-minded family members coming in from around the country to visit. And you've got a trip to New York City planned with one of your descendants in mid-January, which you do not want to fuck up with illness after already waiting so long to make this trip because of, you know, the pandemic that just won't leave. 

So I decided to stay local for Thanksgiving. 

I went to the beach! I chose Gulf Shores. 

Gulf Shores Alabama 10th Street Beach. Thanksgiving 2021.
Gulf Shores Alabama 10th Street Beach. Thanksgiving 2021.

'twas a gloriously sunny day, with fine music from my playlist on the drive down, and a pleasurable coffee surprise at a CEFCO. Bourbon pecan. Would that taste good? Well, it has the word 'pecan' innit, so it must be good. And who cares that I'd already had my usual coffee rations for the day. Or that it was already the afternoon, generally past my time to indulge. It was Thanksgiving! Do it! I did, and it was grand. 

 

Bourbon pecan coffee at CEFCO, Alabama. Thanksgiving 2021.
Bourbon pecan coffee at CEFCO, Alabama. Thanksgiving 2021. 


Sugary, putty-white sand. 

A lil rollicking wave action. 

Other people there, but not a crowd. 

Many black shells; rather elegant. 

 

Gulf Shores Alabama shells Thanksgiving
Gulf Shores Alabama shells Thanksgiving

 

 

Gulf Shores shells Alabama. Thanksgiving 2021.
Gulf Shores shells Alabama. Thanksgiving 2021.
 

It was just right. 

I did have sweet potatoes on The Day, too, so it was all Thanksgivinny.


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Nomadic Thanksgivings

I marvel a bit at my Thanksgivings since I went rootless in 2010. 

In 2010, amazingly, I was in Playa del Carmen, Quintano Roo, Mexico. At a jazz festival! A brother and our mother had come down to spend time with me. One of the highlights: 

"...terrific music, a gorgeous orange moon that hung from a cloud, a starry sky, fresh breezes, warm sand..."


Eugenia Leon band, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico. November 2010.
Eugenia Leon band, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico. November 2010.

In 2011, on a layover en route from Caucasus Georgia to Missouri, I was at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. An excerpt: 

"Istanbul's Ataturk Airport ... reminds me of one of the original Star Wars movies where our heroes go into a bar that's filled with beings from all over the universe, with huge variances in how they look and behave.

"A better descriptor is that the Ataturk Airport is just a modern-day version of a stop on the ancient Silk Road, where Europe, the Asias, and Africa intersected at a daily bazaar of color, language, clothing, food, drink, and custom."

 

Layover at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey. November 2011.
Layover at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey. November 2011.

 

Note: Ten years later, I still use that backpack. It is my portable office when I'm on the road.

In 2013, I had landed only recently in Lafayette, Louisiana. An excerpt: 

I’m in a new place, now in Louisiana. Still building my nest, so there’s that as-yet unsettled feeling, but in the main, as I walk down one of my new streets, I have to stop sometimes and look around and wonder at the pleasure of it. Not just being here in Louisiana, but the experience of New Mexico, of Caucasus Georgia, of Ethiopia, of Playa.

There is wonder, too, at the deep benefits of technology that allow family and friends to connect on important days of the year, despite the physical miles that are between them.

 A simple day today.

At home, ate some roast chicken, sweet potatoes, and pumpernickel toast. Drank pumpkin spice coffee. Listened to some trance-inducing, bone-reverberating music from Tinarawen.

 

In 2016, I did one of my favorite things - go to a big parade! In El Paso here, here, and here. It was a big parade. 

 

El Paso Thanksgiving Parade 2016
El Paso Thanksgiving Parade 2016

 

I spent 2017 Thanksgiving in Missouri with my mother, two siblings, and a niece along the Ozark Scenic Riverways. Echo Bluffs State Park was our base. An excerpt: 

There is a herd of wild horses at Echo Bluffs. The horses wander through the campsites at will. They poop there, too. Under normal circumstances, this might be an annoyance, but it's wild horse poop, so it has some panache.

Wild horse, Echo Bluffs State Park, Missouri. November 2017.
Wild horse, Echo Bluffs State Park, Missouri. November 2017.

Thanksgiving 2018 found me in Mexico City, where I spent a month at a guesthouse that welcomed tourists like me, academics doing research in Mexico, and at times, like when I was there, refugees. While Trump spewed his pus-filled rhetoric about the members of the caravans coming up from Central America, I broke bread with some of those nefarious "criminals" from Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. An excerpt

A young woman from Honduras, [a refugee] from one of the caravans, will give birth in about two weeks. Where? She does not know. She and her husband have a cheeky, chortling one year-old who loves to kick a ball in our community room. Can you even imagine what would prompt a young couple with a small child and another due, to leave everything they know behind, to walk into an uncertain future?

On Thanksgiving, a group of us from the guesthouse - tourists like me, guesthouse volunteers and staff, and refugees - attended a theatrical performance. That was pleasant, yet not as memorable as the chicken soup that the Salvadorean men shared with me one day at lunch.

 

Salvadorean chicken soup for lunch, Mexico City. November 2018.
Salvadorean chicken soup for lunch, Mexico City. November 2018.


In 2019, with the COVID an alarm not yet sounded, I was on the road to Texas from Tucson. Missions: Become a Texan + test out ChezP as a "caRVee," as I'd be overnighting at an interstate rest area for the first time. An excerpt about the Thanksgiving Day leg of the trip: 

I left Tucson early Thanksgiving morning, amidst dire weather warnings swirling about the nation. I'd kept my thumb on the forecasts for my route, and for the most part, it looked cloudy, yet dryish.

Although my drive began dry as I left Tucson, much of the first day was a tense slog through light and middlin' rain.

No matter. Such things are like painful labor and delivery - a bitch during the process, but the moment one arrives at one's destination, all is forgotten in the delight of a journey safely made.

Texas-I-10 EB Pecos West Rest Area near Ft Stockton. Thanksgiving 2019.
Texas-I-10 EB Pecos West Rest Area near Ft Stockton. Thanksgiving 2019.


Last year, in 2020, I packed a car-picnic lunch and went for a hike at Tannehill Ironworks Historical Park, in which is the southernmost terminus of the Appalachian Trail, as pronounced by a road-hugging sign. An excerpt:

Alabama does not like shoulders: I walked carefully to the sign after I parked my car in the lot beyond the fee booth. I walked carefully because Alabama disdains shoulders, and maybe pedestrians, too: If we wanted y'all to walk on the road, we'd'a built y'all some shoulders!

Appalachian Trail Terminus, Tannehill Historical State Park, Alabama. Thanksgiving 2020.
Appalachian Trail Terminus, Tannehill Historical State Park, Alabama. Thanksgiving 2020.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Mobile, Alabama: Laundry Economics

 

El Paso Laundry building, Chihuahuita, El Paso. November 2016.
El Paso Laundry building, Chihuahuita, El Paso. November 2016.

In Mobile, I have access to washers and dryers that are onsite and free. I've not been blessed with this amenity since Alamagordo! 

Such luxury means a return to a weekly regimen instead of the biweekly routine of Birmingham. 

It means a year's direct cost savings of $221 and an opportunity cost savings of 65 hours in sitting-around-waiting-for-laundry-to-process time. 

Because the appliances are in the same building as my apartment, I don't even have to factor in the inconvenience of inclement weather. 

Because the appliances are in the same building as my apartment, I doubt if something dramatic like these two incidents (one on the laundry shed roof in Opelousas and the other in the laundry room a few doors down from my apartment in Alamogordo) will happen, as it requires a key to access the building. 

Lavanderia (drop-off laundry), Mexico City. November 2018.
Lavanderia (drop-off laundry), Mexico City. November 2018.

Related posts

2020: Laundry Economics of the South (Birmingham)

2020: Laundry Economics Revisited (Tucson)

2019: Volunteer Laundress (El Paso)

2018: Mexico City: My Laundry

2013: The Economics of Laundry (Lafayette)

 

Clothes drying on line, Rustavi, Caucasus Georgia. September 2011.
Clothes drying on line, Rustavi, Caucasus Georgia. September 2011.





 

 


 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Mobile, Alabama: Rutabagas

 

 

An altar of rutabagas. Mobile, Alabama. November 2021.
An altar of rutabagas. Mobile, Alabama. November 2021.

When I was a teen, I enjoyed several weeks-long stays with my mother's mother, May. She liked to cook me lunch. May introduced me to two vegetables, boiled, that I'd never had at home.

A turnip. 

A rutabaga.

Each was a curiosity and mildly pleasing in an almost-sour sort of way. Alt-potatoes, you might say. 

May prepared the exotic-to-me vegetables one time only. Since those two experiences, decades ago, I may have experimented with a boiled turnip once, but otherwise, I never ate either again. 

But now I'm in Mobile, Alabama. And in the last two months, I estimate I've eaten a pound of rutabaga a day. 

This is because I have become accustomed to do my weekly produce shopping at the Mac's Produce Market over on Old Schell Road. There is a bin of rutabagas there. Fifty-nine cents a pound. 

I slice the wax-and-skin layer from this graceless, blobular root vegetable, chunk up the yellow flesh (which requires some muscle), boil it, then sear the chunks in my skillet to put on a little char and coax its inherent sweetness out some more. I season the rutabaga with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and some Splenda.

Because of the weekly pile o' rutabagas at Mac's, I thought there was a connection between Alabama and rutabagas, but I find no evidence of same. 

How long will my rutabaga run last? Dunno. Prolly til the local supply disappears or the price jacks up.

Sidebar: Note my little herb garden of rosemary and basil. 


Related posts

2019: Tucson, AZ: Food Rescue

2016: Antigua, Guatemala: Inside the Municipal Market

2016: El Paso: Back in the Kingdom of Ants

2013: Lafayette, Louisiana: Oil Center Farmer's Market in Winter

2012: Istanbul: Larceny and Spice (and leeches)

2011: Rustavi, Caucasus Georgia: At the "Big" Market


Sunday, November 7, 2021

Pensacola, Florida: An Afternoon at the Beach

Sunset, Pensacola, Florida. October 2021.
Sunset, Pensacola, Florida. October 2021.

 A new friend took me to Pensacola, Florida. 

I'd never been. To me, "Pensacola" has always been synonymous with "spring break" - college students swarming the beach, drinking, and .... swarming the beach and drinking. 

What else is there in Pensacola? 

Well, I still don't know, because my friend and I plopped our chairs in front of the Gulf of Mexico and we simply sat and chatted while we periodically pulled out a cold beer from the cooler between us. Heck, we didn't even stand up and put our feet in the water. 

Sunset, Pensacola, Florida. October 2021.
Sunset, Pensacola, Florida. October 2021.

 

Or even go to the restroom. 

 

Sunset, Pensacola, Florida. October 2021.
Sunset, Pensacola, Florida. October 2021.

 

We saw a pretty sunset, though. 


Sunset, Pensacola, Florida. October 2021.


Saturday, November 6, 2021

Mobile, Alabama: Fungus Foray at Historic Blakeley State Park

Petite white mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.
Petite white mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.
 

Mushrooms. Umami. Mmmm.

Despite their predilection for growing on dead stuff, mushrooms are often pretty, or at least intriguing, and to bite one is to transport me to a sensual reverie of flavor, aroma, texture, and chewiness. Earthy.

Fungi Farm, a local commercial mushroom farm, hosted a mushroom foraging foray at Historic Blakeley State Park in early October.

Mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.
Mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.

 

'twas hot and sweaty work, but so satisfying to be in the woods. We were a group of at least 25 people.

One of my favorites was this velvety mushroom that reminded me of the so-soft lamb's ear leaves. And on its underside, you could leave your fingerprint. 

Mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.
Mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.

Mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.
Mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.

Major lesson learned from the foray: Bring a pocket notebook! Alan, a Fungi Farm principal, helped identify the mushrooms we found, and although the names of many remain rooted in my head, the matching of same with the samples are fuzzy. Like said mushroom above. But some names include (mixing common names and scientific names of individuals and genus) turkey tail, false turkey tail, boletes, russula, and .......

 Below is a sample of the group's foraging finds.

Mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.
Mushroom, Historic Blakeley State Park, Alabama. October 2021.


A slide show below on my cumulative mushroom collection over the years and locales.

 

Mushrooms

 

 ###

 

 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Mobile, Alabama: A View From My Window

Mobile is lush. 

Live oaks, magnolias, rain, crepe myrtles, ivy, rain, azaleas, rain.

A view from my window

Mobile Alabama view from a window. September 2021.
View from a window in Mobile, Alabama. September 2021.


Views from windows past

View from my apartment before the teardown. Birmingham, Alabama. August 2020.
View from my apartment before the tear down. Birmingham, Alabama. August 2020.

View from my apartment after the tear down. Birmingham, Alabama. November 2020.
View from my apartment after the tear down. Birmingham, Alabama. November 2020.

View from Tucson apartment. May 2019.
View from Tucson apartment. May 2019.

 

View from apartment terrace. El Paso, Texas. September 2016.
View from apartment terrace. El Paso, Texas. September 2016.


View from my Antigua host's house. Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.
View from my Antigua host's house. Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.


View from Opelousas apartment window. Opelousas, Louisiana. March 2015.
View from Opelousas apartment window. Opelousas, Louisiana. March 2015.


View from apartment. Lafayette, Louisiana. November 2013.
View from apartment. Lafayette, Louisiana. November 2013.

View from apartment. Alamogordo, New Mexico. October 2012.
View from apartment. Alamogordo, New Mexico. October 2012.

View from apartment. Alamogordo, New Mexico. October 2012.
View from apartment. Alamogordo, New Mexico. October 2012.

View from my bedroom in Old Rustavi. Caucasus Georgia. September 2011.
View from my bedroom in Old Rustavi. Caucasus Georgia. September 2011.


View from my bedroom in New Rustavi. Caucasus Georgia. August 2011.
View from my bedroom in New Rustavi. Caucasus Georgia. August 2011.



My bedroom window at Azeb's house. Nazret (Adama), Ethiopia. February 2011.
My bedroom window at Azeb's house. Nazret (Adama), Ethiopia. February 2011.


View from Playa del Carmen condo. Mexico. November 2010.
View from Playa del Carmen condo. Mexico. November 2010.

 



Thursday, November 4, 2021

Mobile, Alabama: The Rainiest City in the Continental US

 

A rainy Alabama afternoon. July 2020.
A rainy lunch in the car. Alabama. July 2020.

  

Mobile, Alabama, is the rainiest city in the continental United States.

Wait, what?!

Mobile, Alabama, receives more than five FEET of water every year, with an average of 59 rainy days per year. 

Seattle isn't even in the top 20. 

I have pulled out my vastly under-used yellow poncho that I bought 10 years ago when I lived in Caucasus, Georgia. 

yellow rain poncho
Yellow rain poncho. November 2011.

 

Because after a year and a half in COVID isolation, I am not going to let rain keep me inside. 

 

Some other rainy times and places

 

Sources


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Mobile, Alabama: My New Home Sounds

In my Birmingham sphere, I heard these sounds:

  • Wail of the fire engine and EMT truck from the next corner
  • Ringing of the bell from the Orthodox Church
  • Rumbling of the train on the track on the other side of the highway 
  • And always always always the whirring rolling thrumming of the car and truck tires on the highway pavement above me

In my new place in Mobile, it is quieter except for two constants. 

One is the nostalgic, soothing heartbeat of an ordinary, inexpensive, battery-operated wall clock my mother gave me a couple of years ago, which had been hanging on a wall of her petite dining room. 

 



tick   tick   tick   tick   tick   tick   tick   tick   tick   tick

 

And there's another sound, more assertive:

Dock

Donk

Dunk dunk

Dick

DUCK

Dick

Dack duck

That is the drip onto the top of my window air conditioner/heater from the window air conditioner/heater on the floor above me.

My dripped-upon window unit. Mobile, Alabama. September 2021.
My dripped-upon window unit. Mobile, Alabama. September 2021.

Omnipresent.

It's not a bad sound. It's just a never-ending sound. 

Kind of like the constant humming of the white-winged doves in Alamogordo

 

Nesting white-winged dove in Alamogordo, New Mexico. March 2013.
Nesting white-winged dove in Alamogordo, New Mexico. March 2013.


As we enter fall, I'm sure the drip will cease as the air conditioner upstairs eventually goes dormant.

Occasionally, a lumbering plane flies low and loud across my horizon. Not anything like the sonic booms of my Alamogordo apartment, but so low and loud - a rumbly loud - that sometimes I wonder if the plane is about to plow into a neighboring building.  None has, yet.


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

10 Years Ago: Sighnaghi, Caucasus Georgia: City of Love and Crunch

 Original post here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sighnaghi: City of Love 'n Crunch

"Oh, whoops, budishi! Are you, like, getting married right now? I'll just take this little snap and be on my way, then." Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
 
Mission: Visit Georgia's City of Love and eat Mexican food. If necessary, look at a church.

Sandy came in to Rustavi from Gori yesterday to spend the night so we could get an early start from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi. We were to meet Marie and Eberle at the Samgori metro/marshrutka station, where we'd take the 9:00 a.m. marshrutka to Sighnaghi. This was a 1.5 hour trip. Six lari.

I'd learned already that there's a marshrutka from Rustavi to the Samgori station in Tbilisi, and Nely had cautioned me, when we flagged down a driver, to ask, "Tbilisi metro Samgori?" and not just "Samgori?" because there is also a village named Samgori.

So in the dark and rainy dawn of our departure, Sandy and I pulled out some lari from the ATM on the square, then walked toward Rustavi Bazari for the right marshrutka. There's one! It has #15 on it.

We hailed it to a stop, and opened the door. "Tbilisi metro Samgori?" I asked the driver.

"Ki, ki." was the reply. "Yes, yes."

As we got on, I asked again, "Tbilisi metro Samgori?"

"Ki, ki!" was the reply from both the driver and a passenger.

Sandy wondered aloud at my purpose in repeating my question when the answer was so obviously answered affirmatively the first time.

Sidebar: It is a blessing/curse that my brain is a factoid-attractant. Some of my family members, both nuclear and extended, enjoy/suffer the same gift/affliction. (And, as you can see, there is also a need to be precise in one's language.  I happen to think the two are connected as part of a syndrome, perhaps Asperger's Lite.) 

I replied that it had been my observation in life that people's brains operate similarly to the auto-complete computer application. (Which has been confirmed by research.) That is, we think we hear what we expect to hear. So if the driver hears my accented voice, his brain is going to struggle a bit, but catch up in time to hear the last word I say, "Samgori," and maybe conclude, erroneously, that we're looking for the village and not the metro station in Tbilisi. So I just ask twice to give him time to process the entire phrase. And save myself stress.

Sidebar: Another blessing/curse that runs in my family is to give tediously detailed thorough explanations in response to questions. Sometimes, though, based on prior negative thoughtful feedback from more normal people, we catch ourselves in time, and just say, "Umm, I dunno." Which creates other problems, but ... 

So while I'm responding to Sandy's question, I'm not noticing where our marshrutka is heading until I realize, "Hmm, this is a different route than usual through Rustavi .... uh, oh, .....this is feeling like a ride on Marshrutka #22 or, God forbid, #4. ... why are we turning here ... and wait ... are we going over that bridge there?"

And out of my mouth to the driver: "Budishi [excuse me], Tbilisi metro Samgori, yes?"

"Ki, ki." [Yes, yes.] said the driver and two passengers.

OK, then. And I see that we're back on familiar territory, albeit a new route for me via marshrutka. ... and then, we take a turn, heading for not-Tbilisi and not-Rustavi .... whoa. And then we go by the cemetery ... now I'm really getting tense ... and now we've passed the cemetery into new lands that are decidedly rural and going-to-the-village-and-not-Tbilisi-metro-Sambori-like, and....

"Budishi," I say to the driver, "Tbilisi metro Samgori?"

"Ki, ki!," responded the driver and several passengers.

And then we turned left and entered the Azebaijani-Georgian village, whereupon the mashrutka slowed to granny gear to pick up villagers. By this time, I've resigned myself to accept wherever the marshrutka takes us.

I tamped down my concern about getting to Tbilisi by 8:30, using Sandy as my cue. After all, she was calm and apparently unconcerned. .. and then she asked, "What time is it?"

When we looked at the time, we saw we only had 15-20 minutes to not only get to Tbilisi, but get to the metro station. No way was that going to happen; we were still out in the hinterland. And I told Marie that very thing when she called a second later.

But miraculously, the universe tilted in a certain way and we spilled out from the village onto this highway and into Tbilisi and into the metro station only 5 minutes late. Wow.

Fast forward ... Sandy, Marie, Eberle and I are on the marshrutka to Signhaghi. Six lari one way. The Signaghi marshrutka leaves Samgori station every two hours on the odd hour.

En route to Sighnaghi, we whizzed past the monument to the First Tractor in Kakheti, which I only knew about because Nely had pointed it out to me when we went to Kardanakhi a few weeks before. The monument is the actual tractor, ensconced upon a pedestal.

We also, thank God, whipped briefly down and to Bodbe Monastery where St. Nino is buried, thereby technically speaking, complying with Nely's wish that we visit that sacred site. My protestations to her of church overload had fallen on deaf ears.

A hot chocolade

Yes, -lade. Hot, thick, chocolate-y to the max. A pudding, really. A demitasse-sized, sensory experience for the delicious warmth of the cup and the intense chocolate taste. We consumed this in a restaurant/hotel in a courtyard adjacent to Signaghi's cultural museum.

Mexican food

Homemade chips, maybe even fried with lard. In a country with very good food, but a shocking lack of crunch, this was the highlight of the meal. Crunch.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.


Wait, the second highlight was the spiced coffee - cinnamon, cloves, orange peel. Fabulous.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.


Beautiful view of the mountainside and faraway valley, framed by a happy orangey wall.

The museum

The museum was nice. I wish I could be more descriptive, but I'm just not a museum person. You'd think I'd learn that by now, and just go have a cup of coffee while companions take all the time they wish looking at important historical stuff in glass cases. Yes, I know this is sacrilegious, but I'm not getting any younger, and I think from now on, I'm going to take a pass on such things. I can count on one hand the museums that made an impression on me.

Terrific, postcard views from one of the windows, though.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.

 

The church

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.


Even though all of us were pretty done with churches, Signaghi's old church was compelling. So much so, we walked up the stone steps to check it out. And then, damn, we heard singing emanating from within.
 
And walked into a wedding.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.




As we left the church, another wedding party was arriving.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.


The wall

One of the things Sighnaghi is known for is the remains of the 8th century wall that originally surrounded it completely. The photo below is poor quality, but you can make out the wall.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.


Pheasant's Tears

I'm not going to talk about the taxi ride that ultimately was for a distance about 500 feet but which cost 4 lari. I've released that incident. Pretty much.

Pheasant's Tears winery is brimming with the ambiance of living a good life. Good food, good wine, good friends and family. Traditions held dear. Fire in the fireplace. Brick and stone work. Lovely blue baticky (but not) tablecloths.

Menu read beautifully on the chalkboard on the wall. Still sated from our Mexican (chip) feast, we had coffee and tea. It was a great way to enjoy the pleasing environment without putting too much of a dent in our wallets.

I was hoping to get a photo of the co-founder, John Wurdeman, to take back to Nely, but he was not in town.  

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Pheasant's tears kitchen. Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Pheasant's Tears pantry. Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.

Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.



So, summarizing Signaghi. Certainly it's a tourist town, and one could argue that it's been a town Disneyfied. It's also an expensive place to visit, with most eateries and lodging being upscale. Overall, though, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I saw that still felt "authentic," whatever the heck that means.  It was definitely worth a day.


Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.
Sighnaghi, Georgia. November 2011.