Thursday September 18
This morning we do the unit on Transportation of Dangerous Goods. They are interested to hear that the principles are almost exactly the same in both countries. In fact, TDG seems to be very consistent from one country to another. The participants ask lots of questions. They agree that they require only an introduction, not a complete certificate course, and say my presentation is fine.
At , Taimuna
picks me up and takes me to City Hall, where I meet with Ghiorghi Karbelashvili, Deputy
Mayor of the City of
After that, I stroll along In many ways it reminds me of the European cities I
visited in 1969.
In many ways it reminds me of the European cities I visited in 1969.
At dinner, several old friends and some new ones join us. Maya is Brunhilda's Georgian friend, who teaches German language at the University. She speaks beautiful, fluent German and is a brilliant simultaneous translator.
dinner are Niko, Constantine and Nino #1.
This evening, Nino brings
her fiancÚ, Beso. My first impression is
that Beso is a simple man, perhaps a mid-level civil servant, a manager in a factory or
some such. I kind of wonder that he is engaged
to the beautiful and sophisticated Nino. When
I ask him about his work, he is taciturn and says only:
I dont really have a job.
Later, I get to sit beside him and talk some more. I find out that
Beso speaks excellent English along with half a dozen other languages and he owns a
company, which buys and sells oil! He buys oil
Beso also has a small sideline: a
company, which imports and sells computer equipment. Dea
asks me to send some pictures back after I get home, and I should send them to Beso. Foolishly, I ask
him if he has a good printer. He says, with a small smile: We should have.
Yesterday, we received two shipping containers of printers from
Friday September 19
Dr. Boris arrives this morning
with a litre of his homemade red wine and instructs me to take it home to
session doesnt take long so I offer a presentation on Crossing Borders in
After the session, Mr. Darchiasvili introduces me to his friend, Ghia Tsipuria (right), Secretary-General of the Georgian International Road Carriers Association. Ghia is an intense, Type-A personality who chain-smokes and talks non-stop. Unfortunately, although his English is good, he has a very thick accent and I have to concentrate very hard to understand him. He and Mr. D. load me in their car, without telling me anything and head out of the city. Eventually, I discover (when I have a chance to get a word in edgewise) that we are going sightseeing and then they are taking me to dinner.
drive about 20 km north of
Then we go for dinner. The restaurant is part of a resort complex on the edge of the river. Apparently, these places are very popular in summer, when temperatures routinely reach 40C. The restaurant has many terraces built on different levels, from the top of the riverbank down to water level. A large boat moored to the bank, has been converted into a floating restaurant. Water from the river is pumped up to the top and allowed to flow down in waterfalls and cascades. Even in the hottest weather there is always a cool breeze off the river and the waterfalls help to make it cooler as well. It isnt that hot in September but it is still a very appealing place. Each table in the restaurant is separated from the others by partitions and swinging doors so that guests dine in privacy. Unfortunately, the partitions dont block out the selections of Georgian Folk music, played at ear-splitting volume on a very bad sound system.
Dinner is wonderful and features a variety of Georgian delicacies. Nearly every meal starts out with a big serving of kachapuri (a cheese pastry, sort of like a pizza). Georgian salads are delicious: fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, other interesting ingredients and are flavoured with very unusual and tasty herbs. Then comes baked mushrooms, served, still sizzling, in a clay dish, that could be the best mushrooms I have ever tasted! Next, shashlik (shish-kebabs) and some small roasted birds, sort of like Cornish hens, but they are wild and people hunt them for sport.
Saturday September 20
This morning, at ,
another CESO Volunteer arrives on the red-eye flight from
Today I set out to
explore more of
At the end of Rustaveli
is Freedom (formerly Lenin) Square (with no statue of Lenin in the middle any more). I take some pictures of Tbilisi City Hall (left)
and then walk down
I stroll back across the river
and wander into another churchyard where yet more weddings are taking place. I am studying my map and guidebook when a voice
says: Excuse me.
Do you speak English? I look up
to find a very nice-looking, and very polite, young man in his late-twenties. His name is Nikolas Akopian
and he is Armenian (it was an Armenian Churchyard) Niko is a doctor,
actually a gynecologist, who studied medicine in
Niko shows me his church and explains the distinctions between the Armenian, the Georgian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic religions. It is very interesting. Then he takes me on a walking tour of the old town, through narrow, crooked streets that I wouldnt explore on my own and shows me ancient houses, old churches, a traditional bakery and many other sights. He is very personable and intelligent and we have excellent conversations.
the end of the afternoon, I invite him to join me for dinner and he chooses a rather plain
restaurant where the food is excellent and reasonably priced. Niko says the wine in the restaurant is too
expensive, so he runs down the street to a shop and brings back an excellent bottle of
local red wine. Which we drink! It is the best
wine I have had, so far, in