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First days in Georgia

Day one: I arrive at Tbilisi airport at 5:30pm. My mother in law picks me up. I manage to understand what she is saying since I know about ten words of Georgian. On the way home I realize that the streets are in very good shape and that some houses have been repainted. Changes are visible but once you go off the main roads things are just the way they used to be two years ago.
After getting home I eat and go to the balcony. My in laws live on the eights floor of a typical soviet block and you can see the whole city from there. I can see that there is electricity everywhere and the main tourist attractions are illuminated.
For the rest of the evening I wait for Avtandil who is coming by car (yeah all the way from Germany to Georgia). He arrives at 1 am. He tells me about his journey. Large parts of Turkey had problems with floods and he was able to scare corrupt Turkish policemen off with my German identity card. Even though I was not there! He just told them that I would complain at the German Embassy if he had to pay for a ticket without receiving a proper bill. It always amazes me how well you are treated when you have a German passport?..

Day two: Breakfast is really Georgian: You can find basically everything on the table that you would usually consider lunch.
After breakfast my husband goes to register the car he came with in order to be able to sell it. I stay home relaxing.
In the afternoon we go to the main market, a place I already learned to love two years ago.

It is very dirty and in bad shape but the variety of food you can buy there is great! Georgia has many different climates, mediterrenean at the black sea, mild in the center and quite cold in the mountains. Georgians say that you can go skiing and swim in the sea on the same day. The market really reflects this. You can find soooo many different things and also vegetables and fruits that would already be out of season in October?s Germany. I want to see everything but my father in law is in a hurry and anyways I do not have a camera with me to take pictures. Afterwards Avtandil and me go for a walk in the city center. The streets are new and you can see that the important buildings are under construction. Especially the hotel Iveria is going to be a first class hotel again. It was under soviet times but for the last 15 years it was inhabited by refugees from Abchasia. The Shevardnadse government did not want to provide adequate housing for them because Abchasia is still considered to be a part of Georgia. Therefore refugees were not integrated into society because they were meant to go back some day. Somehow feels like Palestinians in Jordan and Lebanon.

The hotel Iveria when it was still a refugee camp

Police cars circle through town to keep public order. I am told that the police men are no longer corrupt and are actually there to help the people. In the city center on Rustaveli Avenue we bump into a friend of us from Germany. She is also Georgian and home for a visit. It really feels strange to meet someone you know at the other end of Europe. We decide to visit her in the evening.
In the late afternoon we pay a visit to the parents of a friend of ours. He is also studying in Germany and gave us some presents for his family. We arrive when they are just about ready to eat dinner and are immediately invited to eat with them. His father tries to fill me up with dry red wine but at some point I protest and hide my glass from him. I eat too much.
After leaving we try to call our friend whom we want to visit. The number turns out to be wrong and my husband has to talk to an unfriendly Georgian women who thinks he is a pervert.
We go home sad that we cannot go for a visit. When we get there my mother in law has already prepared a typical Georgian fish dish. Since I am not hungry I go to bed. Later that evening my husband comes to me and wants to give my a kiss. I almost start puking because that fish dish contains sooooooo much garlic that he stinks like hell. I tell him to let me sleep and breathe into the other direction??.

Day three: A lazy day at home. In the evening we manage to find out the right phone number of hour friend and finally visit her. We spend a nice evening at her place. Some friends and family are also over. People start to talk abut politics. Two of the present women have worked together with president Saakashvili while he was still minister of justice. They do not have any contact with him anymore because he is too busy. No one seems to like him and they call him ?the crazy? one because he is always screaming when he makes a speech and promises a lot of things which do not happen in the end. I try to tell them that a lot of things already changed and that the people also have to be active instead of complaining all the time. ?Yes, but I am not interested in politics!? is the answer??

During the night I am suffering from Jet lag. I cannot sleep. I stay awake until three am surfing the net.

Day four: My mother had told me a couple of month ago that our Lutheran priest from Germany became bishop of Tbilisi. What a coincidence. I decide to visit him even though the last time I saw him was when I was eight and I am not even religious. We spend more than an hour to find the Lutheran church of Tbilisi and when we get there we learn that he left the day before to Oslo. I understand that he is not very happy in Tbilisi and that he tries to get away as often as possible. Hmmmm, maybe 65 is not a good age to start all over again in a foreign country whose language you do not speak.
Afterwards we go into the city center to eat a Georgian specialty "Khadjapuri". That is bread with cheese in the inside. We find a nice restaurant that offers three diferent types of it. We order two. Very tasty. Almost tastes like Pizza.

Avtandil orders yet another specialty green woodruff (Waldmeister) lemonade. It is quite good and not too sweet. reminds me of Kindergarden times.
Correction! Its Estragon and not Woodruff, but it tastes and looks similar

Tarkhuna lemonade it?s the one on the left up front
7.10.05 18:50

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