“A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated.”
Today as I was walking down by the sea a man who was walking in front of me kept looking behind him to see if I was still there. He wasn’t smiling like the wonderful Georgian guys I buy my kebab from everyday, in fact, he had the same sort of disgusting look I saw so many times on Indian men as they turned around to ask me for porn. Was I being paranoid, I wondered, that any time a guy now looks at me for more than two seconds I automatically assume the worst?
“I’m old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway.”
It’s 22h36 and I just got off my sixteen hour shift at the hostel we have been working at this past week for free room and food. I started at 7h00 sharp by serving breakfast to over forty tourists before cleaning (dishes, sweeping, etc…) and preparing dinner with the wonderful but way overworked cook. Then, at seven, we served food to the tourists once again before, doing more dishes than I ever thought possible. Though we have worked at quite a few hostels here in Georgia already, this one was very different because it had a kitchen, and therefore, way more work that needed to be done.
“It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.”
What happens when it rains? Well, you put on your rain gear and just keep pedaling. And in all honesty, it’s not that bad cycling in the rain – sometimes it’s even a lot of fun! But the camping? Well… That’s a whole different story.
“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.”
The way up and then down from Omalo was nowhere near as bad as we had feared, though mountain biking down the steep slopes that made up the road made us really wonder how we had ever gotten up in the first place. We ended up setting up our tent at the same lovely picnic spot we had visited the week before when we had been invited to eat with a family picnicking nearby. This time we decided to make our own fire and cook some potatoes, veggies, and cheap hotdogs for dinner though our idea was short lived since halfway through we were invited to join the roaring party at the picnic table of rowdy drunk church-goers.
“Well, meet your obligations. But obligations never prevented anyone from following their dreams.”
Omalo, which is in the mountainous region of Tusheti near the Russian boarder, is an isolated village which acts as the center point for the region. Made up of only a few dozen houses, the town has recently become a tourist attraction and is now composed of guest houses though the locals leave by October (only to return in June) due to the snow.
Before arriving in Tblisi, the capital of Georgia, I checked hostel prices only to find that they were quite a lot more than they had been in India. Though ten to fifteen dollars a night may not seem like a lot in the west, when you are use to living our of your tent (for free), or in a two dollar a night guest house, it’s hard to imagine spending that much. I decided to email a half dozen hostels with a proposal. In return for a free room, Kevin and I would work a few hours a day (cleaning, checking people in, or doing whatever else is needed). Much to my surprise I got two different places saying sure, we can work something out, come on over.
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
If you are anything like me you can probably hardly even place Georgia on a map (to the east of Turkey, south of Russia, north of Armenia) unless you have already been there, so a little history lesson is in store before we enter into this beautiful country. As a small country of five million inhabitants Georgia is a predominately Eastern Orthodox Christian country which is filled with vineyards, beautiful old churches (due to the fact that they adopted Christianity very early on, in the fourth century), small farming villages, and mountains. The Caucasus, which run down from Russia, host a range of peaks over 5,000m and an array of different national parks and beautiful landscapes to go along with it.