Yesterday I went on a TLG-run excursion to a wine-making school in Kakheti. It was awesome.
I got a call from a friend on Friday night asking if I was going on said trip. I hadn’t heard about it, so I called some TLG folks and got myself invited. I had been invited on the previous excursion, but was unable to attend because it fell on the same day as my Sighnaghi trip. So the TLG staff kindly let me go on this one.
Saturday morning I woke up insanely early – 7:24 am, which is a full six minutes earlier than I usually wake up for work – and went about my morning routine. Except I forgot something relatively important, which would be breakfast. That empty stomach certainly made things more interesting as the day progressed…
Made it down to Rustaveli by 9:33, only three minutes late, despite several mass-transit related setbacks. Met two busloads of folks from the fifth and sixth groups (and one other person from group 3). We left by ten after ten, which to me seemed like a miracle since my bet was on a departure time of about 11. See, dealing with GMT is a matter of expectation management.
The buses were quite nice – the interiors were clean and the seats were comfortable. I had good conversations with my fellow TLGers and the time flew by, and when we arrived, it had only taken us an hour and a half! The media was waiting for us – apparently we’ll be on the news – and the people who ran the school seemed very happy to have us there. They made some speeches, then divided us up into groups to see the Georgian crafts of various kinds. I went along with the Wine and Chacha groups and got to see some of the wine and chacha production process.
The best part, though, was making khinkali. Khinkali are basically large Georgian soup dumplings stuffed with some kind of meat. Making them is quite tricky, to say the least – I tried at least six times before they told me to go away and leave some for the other people. I think I got the hang of it sufficiently to be able to do it at home. Now I just need to track down a good recipe.
Then we had a “supra” which was more of a buffet-style banquet thing. I had a cold chicken leg, a bunch of bread, and some more conversation. I met a lot of interesting people, including a couple of people I knew through facebook or blogging but hadn’t actually met or spoken to in person yet. I drank a lot of wine.
The bus ride home was also fun, but honestly is a bit of a blur for me because of all the wine I’d had without eating all that much. Afterwards I went to a cafe for a brief time with some of the people I’d met, but I left pretty quickly because I was tired and wanted to go home and sleep. When I got home, my downstairs neighbors invited me to their supra! I had more toasts, which quite put me over the edge, and when I excused myself for the night, let’s just say that I had no trouble falling asleep. I remember trying very hard to communicate using my rudimentary Georgian skills, and I think they kicked around some Russian and German, but to no avail. I managed to tell them what languages I speak using Slovenian, although my Slovenian – which never advanced beyond “beginner” in the first place – has waned to the point where telling someone what languages I speak is one of about four things I can still actually say.
All in all, it was a very good and successful day and I’m super glad I decided to come out of my shell and be sociable. The group 5 and 6 people were really cool (and apparently all the group 6 people have heard of me because the TLG staff read them something from my blog!) and I imagine now I’ll have a more active social life than I had previously anticipated.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, there were kittens! Tiny adorable kittens at the vineyard! I got really cute pictures which I will try to post soon.
Which reminds me, I now have a set of links to my photo albums in the sidebar, right over there ——————>
I’m about a month behind on uploads – uploading is a long, slow process – but I’m working on it. Right now I have pictures up to my second or third weekend in Tbilisi.
Not strictly relevant, but here’s a video from the best video blog ever: