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Friday, July 29, 2011

PARADISE

TRIP TO PARADISE

I was with several American Peace Corps volunteers and showing them around the city of Batumi. I took them over to the lemonade factory. Note, this is not 'lemonade' as it is thought of in the states - at all. Think of it as 'flavored sweet sodas' and you're on the right track. I've really enjoyed several of the flavors of soda and this time we were fortunate enough to meet George and David - the sons of the owner whose name eluded all of us who went on the tour. George and David were kind enough to show us around the factory. I've been in modern American factories (of various products) and this one I felt was very interesting because everything was hand done - from the mixing of the soda, the washing of the bottles (recycling here), applying the labels with glue and even filling the bottles and putting on the bottle cap. I thought this was a very interesting tour and was grateful to be able to go on it. I hope to get to show other tourists this (should they be into it) in the future.


Peace Corps volunteers


Heading into the lemonade factory

Manually sticking on the labels




Remember bottle caps in the Fallout video game?



Washing out the old bottles - by hand



George - son of the owner and guide on our trip











The finished product - I like it and the price is very right


The men who make it happen, standing under the sign for the business


Detail on the men who make it happen, the owners two sons, the owner and his brother


I wanted to extend my warm thanks for making us feel very welcome and giving us a guided tour of your factory!



FOOD

When people throw out food, the food dies. Since the food has no sin, it goes to Heaven. Because Americans throw out half the food they produce, America feeds Heaven the most. That means God loves it. [This may be considered silly but it strikes me as silly as an invisible man who lives int the clouds and needs our money.]



GEORGIAN CUSTOMS, FOOD

I am told that it is very unusual to see a Georgian eating by themselves. They will do it but prefer not to.



GEORGIAN CUSTOMS, ALCOHOL

Large Supras (including but not limited to funerals, weddings, birthdays, etc) wine rather than cha-cha is the drink of choice. It is not unheard of to have cha-cha instead, just rare.



GEORGIAN CUSTOMS, WOMEN

Unlike in Azerbaijan, at Supras (and social gatherings) women are seated at the same table as men.



GEORGIAN CUSTOMS, BIZARRE SAYINGS

If a young woman cleans off her plate, she is told she will have a handsome husband. [This strikes me as odd because in fact doing so could cause the opposite. Unless their husband has interesting tastes.]

In both Azerbaijan and Georgia, a dropped fork indicates you will have guests coming. This is a very weird and silly saying that oddly enough got proven just after we were told about it. A fork was dropped and later unexpected guests joined us in the amazingly difficult to find without a guide 'White Room' restaurant. Needless to say, we were all impressed at the statement after that. So, if you are feeling lonely, merely drop your fork. If it doesn't work, move to the Republic of Georgia and try it again.



GEORGIAN CUSTOMS, SCHOOLS

Oddly enough, there are no sports teams or anything like that. This confused me and I asked how which schools to be in awe of and which schools to shun were figured out in Georgia. I was told the usual method of determining such rankings was through street fighting. I am not kidding. They also have allied or friendly schools who help them give 'what for' to disliked schools.



ANOTHER RECOMMENDED BOOK

I recommend reading this for both men and women. I have no idea if they have it in other languages but it is worth the read time...





PHILOSOPHY

While I was camped out in Batumi Hostel, I met up with a dutch guy who I call Alex. He had a large, hard bound book that he was writing in and pasting post cards and whatnot into. He was putting no small amount of work into it. I related to him the story of Henriƫtte (who I call 'Harry Potter') and how she had followed either her grandfather (or great grandfather) from notes in his diary about his travels during world war two. I said that perhaps some day, his kids or grand-kids will follow him on his travels - so make them interesting and keep accurate notes. He said that he would like that. I told him that it is a better memento than most people leave - which is their couch. Personally, I think that leaving some heirloom like that is a lot more interesting - and potentially life changing than say another silver tea set or some shit. What is sad about this is that I've come across a lot of travelers who have been traveling for years. They have some vague memories of their travels and nothing written down to show for it. They have only excuses as to why they don't write things down. "I'm no good at writing." "It takes too long - I'd rather be doing things." "I'll write it later." It's the same bullshit over and over - and it is tragic.



YUMMY

Have vampire problems? Are your vampires rotting corpses who have a thirst for blood? Are your vampires easily mistaken for zombies? Are your vampires just not 'glittery' enough? Try this product to keep them away!
Thanks to experienced vampire killer Jana (yeah, she got the punks from Twilight, don't you fucking worry) for pointing out the logical connections!



WIT ISN'T WORTH IT

I was told it would be expensive, but I wanted to check to see what was expensive. I went down to the post office and got a quote for how much it would cost to send the $5 notebook filled with my notes to the Czech Republic. Twenty six GEL. Currently, that is $16.25 USD. Fuck that - I'll wait till I get to a different country. The people at the counter of the post office told me it would be cheaper to mail it in Turkey.



STRANGE PROBLEMS

A guy I met in the hostel named Gilad Polak (Israel) does 'adventure therapy'. While I thought in itself that was an interesting profession, he also told me something more interesting. His donkey got eaten by a wolf. I must admit, that's a new problem.



POLAND

From listening to an American who lived in Poland until a couple months ago and a guy currently living in Poland, it turns out that Poland is about the same price as Georgia, with the possible exception of the capital city being a little more. Even on that point they were not in complete agreement. This is exciting to me as it may put Poland onto my future travel plans.



AZERBAIJAN

Listening to Peace Corps volunteers who got sent to this country talk about it, it isn't really striking me as one I'd like to visit for a couple reasons. First, they follow the 'do unto others' philosophy when figuring out visa costs and lengths. For example, it is costs $50 to get into your country for their natives and they can stay for 2 weeks, that's what you get going there. That may sound fine on the surface but it kills their tourist industry. Which apparently isn't set up at all. I've heard for an American to get in, it is expensive and you don't get long. With the exception of one guy who requested it, none of the Peace Corps people seemed thrilled to have been stuck there for two years. In the Peace Corps, you request a general region and then they send you an invitation letter to where ever they need you regardless. You have the right to refuse the invitation but unless you give some sort of good reason, you probably won't get another invitation to a different country. And, you are stuck there for two years. It doesn't sound good to me.



COSTS

Baklava: I went to a store and asked how much a piece was. 1 GEL per piece, I was told- or I could buy it by the kilo. How much per kilo? 25 GEL. Cool. How many pieces per kilo I asked? 22. WTF.

Horse rental (in some part of Georgia I'm not in), 40 GEL per day.

Pack of weird cold medicine you put into hot water that works really amazingly well, 1.5 GEL

Knife sharpening from a street vendor, .60 GEL

Decent cigarette lighter with a built in flashlight, .50 GEL

Eye drops (natural tears variety, thumb sized container), 6.5 GEL



TOP TEN READER COUNTRIES

The top ten countries reading the blog within the last thirty days are in order of readership below. I see Jordan is number six. Note that if the border to Syria is able to be crossed (twice...) then I will be coming to your country soon. By that I mean Jordan.

United States, Georgia, United Kingdom, Finland, Australia, Jordan, Canada, Ukraine, Germany, New Zealand



YOUTUBE

In case you didn't catch it, the German forklift safety video - with English subtitles.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

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