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Friday, July 1, 2011

STING IN BATUMI

STING IN BATUMI

While typing this, I was listening to a very old Sting singing a couple blocks away at a concert. I didn't have tickets and couldn't see anything from the street. Due to the president of Georgia being in Batumi (this is current rumor) there are 2-6 (unarmed) policemen at every corner. So, I decided to return to the hostel and type up some of my notes.

[Note: After Sting and the concert, they lit off fireworks. Being in a seaside resort town is rough. Oh, yeah.]

This stuff following starts a couple days ago:

I was out wandering around and saw a guy (still alive, I believe) being hauled off in an ambulance. From the green leafy stick in the injured man's stretcher (possibly in the man himself) and everyone looking up, I am presuming that he either fell/jump/was pushed. The only floor that didn't have people staring from it was the fifth which also had an open door. If he did drop from the fifth floor and survived it (after falling onto a tree) that is pretty impressive. What interested me is how the police were handling it. A wailing woman who I presume was a relative of the injured man was allowed to wander off. The landing area was wandered around in by lots of civilians - not roped off. The crowd eventually dispersed and I wandered off. I didn't take any pictures of the crime scene as I didn't want to attract the attention and irritation of the local police.

While I was out wandering around, I found a place that served 'haga puri' that Lasha had recommended. Despite the small restaurant, the loud music emanating from it and an uncooperative lady behind the counter who would have certainly failed any game of charades she had ever played, I managed to get this dish. It is a boat made of bread with a big thing of butter in the center as well as some cheese and a half cooked egg. I tried a few bites, paid and left.

Last night along with Sam, Fish, Santa, Iraq-Lee and Lasha we were playing a very strange game. I'm not sure if it was 'cops and robbers' or 'mafia'. There were the same number of cards as players with all of them being face cards except two which were aces. These were shuffled and then every person got a card. Hence, two people were 'mafia' and the rest were civilians. One person said "Everyone close your eyes." There was a pause then they said "Mafia open your eyes." Pause. "Mafia close your eyes." Pause. Everyone open your eyes. In this way, the two mafia people know who each other are. Then, the players launch into a big speculative conversation about who the mafia are. Eventually a vote is taken and someone must show their card. When the card is shown, the person is out. It could be a mafia that is killed or a civilian. If the civilians are whittled down to the same number as the mafia (who could tie any vote two against two) then the mafia wins. If not, the civilians win. It is an interesting game but I am not in a hurry to play it again.

Disclaimer on all of the Georgian customs, proverbs, sayings, etc - these are ones I have been fortunate enough to learn from my hosts and I could have messed up in translation and such but I got them as close as I could.



GEORGIAN CUSTOMS


When the Tamada (toastmaster) is chosen, sometimes the rest of the Supra (party party, so to speak) drinks a toast to the new Tamada.

The purpose of the Supra is not to get drunk but to talk to each other.

How to know when to drain your glass every drink - see what others are doing.

Iraq-Lee "Good drinkers are as famous within their community as good footballers are in Georgia."

If you don't wish to follow the Tamada's rules, you must leave the Supra.

During the Supras, the old attempt to teach the young toasts from the older generation.

Outright drinking contests are very rare.

A good phrase for the traditional third toast: "People are not dead so long as people are alive who remember them." - Iraq-Lee.

You aren't suppose to sip on your drink until it's time to drink.

If someone is leaving and you do a toast to them, this indicates it is time for them to leave. Timing on this toast is important.

The mother is the most important person in every Georgian man's life.

There is a correct and incorrect format for Supra toasts. You don't toast something like "I like women" but you could toast "To all beautiful women".

In a Supra, there are special poems which in themselves are toasts.

The only songs which may be sung in a Supra as toasts are special 'national songs'. These are sung with three voices minimum and are sung 'A cappella'.

If you want to instantly pick a fist fight with a Georgian man, insulting his mother, sister or girlfriend will make it happen. [No, I haven't done such a thing, I am merely recording customs I have learned about.]

Georgians respect each other and don't say bad things to people they don't know very well.

I had asked Iraq-Lee's girlfriend, Kate, about women's roles during Supras. She told me that if the Supra was close friends, the women take turns toasting along with everyone else. If it is a big Supra with strangers they just say "I agree" and drink. Generally, she said, the Supra toasts are for men. During a 'friends Supra' people just generally toast whatever is on their minds without regard to what toast has gone on before.



BEST QUOTES OF THE SUPRA

Iraq-Lee talking to Santa on women's rights: "I'm sorry you are a woman."

From Sam who is a stand up comedian came up with "Sexism - it's like racism light."



GEORGIAN PROVERB

A drunk man is a truthful man.

The son is a mirror of his family.



GEORGIAN SAYINGS

"Pants friends" are friends since you were small kids.



INFORMATION BOOTH

The number I got from the information booth for a doctor was disconnected or no longer in service. The only place to stay they are really willing to tell you about is a hotel a friend of theirs owns. In other words, beware of the information you get there.



SANTA IS COMING TO TOWN

Actually, she's already here. A lady from Latvia is here and I can't pronounce her name but it sounded like 'Santa'. I said 'Santa'? She said "Others do call me Santa." After making sure she was OK with that, I decided to call her 'Santa' as well. Talk about a memorable nickname!



BATUMI HOSTEL

I am extremely happy today as I have been hired at Batumi Hostel. My wage - free bed for as long as I want to work here. Pretty much the only work I'm doing is chatting to people as they have someone else who is going to be doing the cleaning. I can't imagine a better set of circumstances for me.



SOME ON BATUMI

This is an interesting CNN story on Batumi (the town I'm living in) for those interested.



NOTHING TO DO WITH GEORGIA AT ALL

Something I was told about is 'the German Houdini'. One guy doing a girl from behind while his buddy is hiding in the room. While the girl is suitably distracted, they switch and the original screwer goes outside, knocks on the window to get her attention and waves. [Aside from the possible prison time, I can see this one going very, very wrong.] Thanks to Fish for enlightening me on yet another very strange sex thing that undoubtedly has been pulled.



COSTS

Concert in which some trumpeter I've never heard of and with 'very special guest of Sting) I believe the tickets are 400 GEL. Naturally, only scalpers have them now as you'd have had to buy them months ago.

'haga puri' (small) 5 GEL, large 8 GEL

Fairly expensive restaurant food including potatoes, meat kabob, weiss beer, 15 GEL

Side of mayonnaise, .9 GEL

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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 |

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