After an hour minivan ride learning Georgia has no road rules (!!!), I arrived in the town of Gori quite ready for lunch. I used maps me to find a read art cafe. Intrigued I walked there and could not think of a better way to pass the hottest time of day! The grandma made me a special Georgian soup, an iced coffee that tastes like a frappe, and I had my first Georgian salad-cucumber and tomatoes w nuts. I escaped bread-a feat here! Then she turned off the American music and came in very proudly and put on Georgian music. And now I’m reading in the very appropriately named Read Art cafe in ironically Stalin’s birthplace. His museum wasn't much if you don't read Russian-appropriate I suppose.
But the minivan ride back showed the Georgian people's true character. After getting dropped off at the train station when there was no train in sight, I boarded a minivan bus to go to the minivan marutshka terminal. The van was full except for a fold-up seat, whose seat back went maybe halfway up my back and whose seat cushion was non-existent, essentially it was a rock, for an hour. But no imaginary third lane passings like on the way here or tailgating semis that I swear we were going to hit(I already have already been sideswiped-thank you very much!). And then the girl next to me starts speaking to me in Georgian and I turn to her and she is pinching her nose, her hands covered in blood. She had a bloody nose. Usually, I see someone hand someone a kleenex and the route continues, but in Georgia, you pull over to the side of these crazy highways and the driver and 3-4 women get out offering kleenex, consoling her, making sure the bloody nose is not a life or death situation.
I felt so helpless not being able to say anything, which made me realize this is the first time in 2.5 years I haven't been in a country where I can speak the language (thanks Latin America) and it's been since the beginning of Tanzania in 2010 when I couldn't understand anything because even in Thailand there was always someone who spoke English! But here they talk to you as if you speak fluently. Google translate has certainly been our friend because not only is it a new language, but another alphabet-cyrillic!
Good thing there are sulfur baths to wash away all your worries (and dead skin!).