|Statue of Giorgi Saakadze at Saakadze Square, just down the road from Ameri Plaza Hotel|
Looks like a perfect day to go exploring (Where the hell is the exclamation mark on this keyboard?) And why on earth didn't I make the effort to learn a few basic words in Georgian -- like "thank you", "please", "where's the toilet" and "what on earth is this thing on my plate?"
Not to mention the weird alphabet. I, who taught myself the Greek alphabet before our first trip to Greece nearly 30 years ago, and the Cyrillic before our first trip to Russia about 3 years ago. I stare at the signs all around me, but scrutinize them as I might, I still can't figure anything out. Cute, to a degree; and reminds me of Thai. I tried to make deductions from shop signs that had English right under the Georgian, and deduced -- rightly or wrongly -- that a certain complex squiggle like an over-ornate m is pronounced like the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Fat lot of good that did me. [Later insight: I was wrong; that Georgian letter is an "l" equivalent, as in London, Lima, Lisbon, etc.]
Anyway, that was yesterday. Today (May 10, 2018) I'm a tad smarter, thanks to our guide, Mamuka. He and the driver, whose name* I failed to write down, arrived this A.M. in a shiny white Mercedes van, and off we went. Mamuka pointed out outstanding buildings, gorgeous statues,
|at Narikala fortress|
|At Mtatsminda Bombora park|
|at Metekhi Church|
A few tips for future travelers:
-Weather is predictably unpredictable; prepare for showers and sun alike. The locals seem quite unimpressed by the rain, not bothering to take shelter or carry an umbrella.
- Yes, things are considerably cheaper than back home. I bought a tube of a certain Avene creme for half the price I paid in Tel Aviv and in Moscow.
- If you speak Russian - no worries, you'll manage. If you're not Mox, not an avid, or even amateur, linguist, don't bother trying to learn Georgian
- If you have a Georgian restaurant in town, try it out a couple of times, so as to know what to expect and how to eat Khinkali. Otherwise, you can always resort to the local McDonald's, Wendy's, Dunkin' Donuts, or any pizza place.
- I'm sure I'll have further tips by tomorrow or the day after. Right now I'm still an impressionable, naive tourist, who had better get her act together and her backpack packed before our guide comes a-calling.
- to be continued -
|Nina & Michael somewhere in Tblisi :-)|
|Mike & Mamuka in cable-car on way up to Narikala Fortress|