"Satsivi, kindzmarauli, churchkhela": 10 unmistakable signs that you are in Georgia

AIF columnist Georgy Zotov captures the main features of Georgia, the main one of which is that you absolutely do not want to leave it. So, you are in Georgia if…

"Satsivi, kindzmarauli, churchkhela": 10 unmistakable signs that you are in Georgia

"Satsivi, kindzmarauli, churchkhela": 10 unmistakable signs that you are in Georgia

A post shared by Geor­gia (@georgiatravel) on Aug 4, 2016 at 3:23am PDT

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After a week of traveling, you try to force yourself not to drink Georgian wine for at least one day. The task is not quite feasible, extremely complex and even sometimes simply catastrophic. For example, here you refused wine. And be honest. You don't drink it for an hour or even, I'm afraid to say, two. 

But suddenly someone makes a toast: "To the great Russian people!" This is followed by a more dangerous toast: "To the great Georgian people" — and here, too, you need to drink, if you took the first one, otherwise you will offend the hosts. The final toast (as a test shot): "For the friendship of the great Russian and Georgian peoples!» After that, you raise the fourth toast yourself, and then you don't care. Still, you won't remember anything: in the morning, photos on your smartphone will tell you a lot.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMi4XMZhfLJ/

You do not understand why the hell there are Arab and Indian restaurants in Tbilisi. Who eats there at all? Do they get at least two visitors a day? You are in ecstasy, around the clock and tirelessly savor chkmeruli, khinkali, satsivi, chakhokhbili, khachapuri and mtsvadi (this is a pork kebab) with satsibeli. Washing down the food with mukuzani, saperavi, tsinandali, wazisubani and kindzmarauli. You are surprised to notice that the prices for Georgian cuisine in Georgia itself are two or even three times lower than in Moscow and St. Petersburg. It is better not to talk about wine at all — you can buy a bottle for 150 rubles. However, this is understandable — salaries in Georgia will not compare with Russian ones either.

Any Georgian in a conversation with you will be sure to scold their government. Past or present is no longer so important. The first president Gamsakhurdia, and the second Shevardnadze, and the third Saakashvili, and the fourth Margvelashvili will get grandiose, from the bottom of their hearts — the latter seems to have done nothing so terrible, but just "here's for the company". Good citizens of Georgia cover the leaders of the state with such unique turns of fine literature that it is strange how the earth does not open up, Tbilisi does not stagger, and the ears do not wither. At the same time, 87 percent of voters voted for Gamsakhurdia, 73 percent for Shevardnadze, and more than 96 percent for Saakashvili: the result is the same as in Turkmenistan or North Korea. You start to ask: who the hell chose them then? The reaction is complex-from the words "eeeeeee" to a sad wave of the hand and an offer to just drink.

"Satsivi, kindzmarauli, churchkhela": 10 unmistakable signs that you are in Georgia

Once you make friends with someone, you will experience for yourself what Georgian hospitality is. This experience is not for the faint of heart — the survivors tell chilling legends. You will not be allowed to pay in restaurants for anything at all, and feasts will haunt you around the clock. Even in the outback, where they live very poorly, the owners will get into debt, get out of hand, and set you a royal table. On the one hand, it's sad — that's the way people live. And on the other hand, you know-you have to eat and drink everything that you are treated to. Otherwise, the hosts will be terribly offended and, thinking that they did not please the guest,they will take and set the table again. Then you will not get out, there are no escape options. 

A post shared by Geor­gia (@georgiatravel) on Oct 29, 2015 at 2:17am PDT

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You get used to the fact that at every turn the grandmothers at the sights, restaurants and churches very menacingly ask you for money. The average pension in Georgia is very small — about 3,500 Russian rubles, and utilities: gas, electricity, water-are significantly more expensive than in the Russian Federation. Foreigners roam around Georgia in herds (tourism accounts for 7.3 percent of the local GDP), so the old ladies are divided into the following — those who simply demand, grabbing you by the sleeve — " hey, bicho, give me money!", and those who sell churchkhela on the street, but persistently: it is better to give up and buy it right away. Because otherwise you will be followed for a long time and persuaded. And the churchkhela, by the way, is delicious.

A post shared by Geor­gia (@georgiatravel) on Jul 11, 2015 at 1:23am PDT

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Дом Юстиции.

For some time you have been closely studying Georgian money-lari, although you would like to call it "dollars", it is too similar, and the exchange rate is 2 lari 45 tetri (Georgian kopecks) for 1 US dollar. Lari is an old word that simultaneously means "treasure" and "property", and tetri-coins that were in circulation in ancient Colchis. For our money, one GEL is (at different times) from 23 to 24 rubles. The prices are as follows: taxi in the city — 5 GEL (for the whole day, from morning to evening-100 GEL), dinner in a good restaurant for one person — 30 GEL, ticket to the museum — from 5 to 15 GEL. Even after the incorporation of Georgia into the Russian Empire, until 1835, it had its own coin minted in Tiflis — a silver abaz: five abazs of that time were equal to one ruble. Modern Georgian coins and banknotes are similar to the euro, a tribute to the momentary fashion. It is not so easy to exchange them outside the country — they are taken only in the banks of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and then not everywhere.

You find out that Georgians speak exactly like Vakhtang Kikabidze in the movie "Mimino". In conversation with you endlessly used- "listen, katso", "uh, genatsvale" and "bicho" (boy) - this is not a parody, it's really a style of conversation. "I'll tell you a very smart thing, but don't be offended" — in general, a hit of local expressions. Active gestures when communicating-similarly, not a myth. You enjoy the Georgian variety of Russian as a taste of khachapuri. Sometimes (fortunately, quite rarely) you come across a person who explains himself in Russian without the slightest accent — and this fact immediately puts you in a panic state. Oh, my God, what happened? Why aren't you in Georgia? This can't be happening. You can finally surprise the residents of the republic by memorizing a couple of phrases in the Georgian language. Such a balancing act is not expected from visitors — they will be delighted and surprised.

A post shared by Dream Trav­el Geor­gia (@dreamtravelgeorgia) on Nov 19, 2017 at 7:53am PST

You survived after visiting the Tbilisi sulfur baths, built in the XVII-XIX centuries — there at different times steamed the Shah of Persia Aga Mahomet Khan, Alexander Pushkin (who confessed to writing in his diary how he was cruelly beaten by the bath attendant Hassan), Alexander Dumas-the father, and relatively recently-the singer Sting. The main and most beautiful outwardly bath (here just stayed "in what mother gave birth to" Pushkin and Dumas, so now they charge godlessly for washing) is called Orbelianovskaya, and it is built in the form of a blue Persian mosque. Your head will go round after swimming, you will feel that a tank has passed over you. The baths are located on natural hot springs, and it is not recommended to swim in the pool with such water for a long time — you must periodically get out, otherwise you will feel bad. By the way, the name of the capital of Georgia comes from this place — according to legend, the Georgian king Vakhtang Gorgasali hunted a pheasant here, the bird fell into the spring and boiled. In place of the fresh broth, the city of Tbilisi was immediately laid, because the translation of the word "Tbilisi" is warm.

You begin to automatically pick up the Georgian polyphony (even without knowing the language at all), because they love to sing here, they know how, they sing everywhere, and people's voices are usually good. The most favorite songs are "Suliko", "Tbilisi" and the songs of Vakhtang Kikabidze, but they are popular in tourist places: but each village has its own tunes. By the end of the trip, if you sit in a cafe and they play Russian pop or American rap, it already seems like a personal insult to you. By the way, in 2001, UNESCO recognized the music of Georgia as a "masterpiece of oral intangible heritage". What this means is hard to immediately understand-but obviously insanely cool. Historically, only men have ever been engaged in music in the country: now this rule is no longer observed.

A post shared by Geor­gia (@georgiatravel) on Feb 29, 2016 at 4:39am PST

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Стинг и Крис Ботти в Тбилиси. 

And the last thing — you are afraid to admit to yourself that you really do not want to leave here.

Keywords: Travel | Georgia | Tbilisi | Signs

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