Sunday, July 29, 2007

Georgia: Visit Without Prejudice

No I am not referring to the state of Georgia in the US; but to the Republic of Georgia in East Europe. OK what’s in Georgia to go and see? These were my thoughts, but a friend of mine, who has a company there, told me it was really worth going to.
This got me interested as I was already going to Azerbaijan anyway, and Georgia would be one hour away by plane. However, all I knew about this ex-Soviet state was that they are in bad terms with Russia. Call me ignorant or close minded, but that's the truth. I was a bit nervous going there due to safety concerns and the language barrier. Yes I was stereotyping thinking that its mafia infested; and after visiting Azerbaijan, I was expecting the same topography.
The airport was a breeze, no hassles, no visa, no questions about what am I doing in Georgia or where am I staying, they just stamped my passport as if I was Georgian!!
The driver, also my guide, picks me up and he speaks ‘Zero’ English’. This only adds to my nervousness and raises the question what am I going to do for next few days? Luckyly he picks up his daughter from University who is fluent in English.
As we approach Tbilisi, the capital, I felt as if I am going into a modern medieval city, with interesting and unique architecture. The topography is nothing like Baku in Azerbaijan, with high mountains, churches everywhere, a river that runs through the city, then as we approach the city center, it feels and looks like any western European city, with great Victorian buildings everywhere.
The people are kind, deeply devoted christen who give respect to every church they pass, by crossing themselves, women enter church only if they wear a scarf. Georgian are proud of their heritage and culture which is very rich and unique. Their food is also unique and Georgian pride themselves in inventing wine and spreading to the world through the Silk Route. The stone city of Uplistsikhe is like no other. This city that dates back to thousands of years has a few remains that are still impressive by any measure. Georgia is truly breathtaking and their only downfall is the language barrier. Ironically I was told, the country has less than 100 tourists at any give time, and all foreigners are there on business, even more Ironic is that we all know the most famous Georgian, the man who changed history forever, Joseph Staline.

All I can say is to visit this country without any prejudice.

1 comment:

roffe said...

Hello, thanks for your comments.
I'm useing ACDSee for PENTAX to prepare my photos.

The 'Don't drink and fly' photo was just for fun...