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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rustaveli Scene


A nice picture to start off the new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

I wish you all the best in the new year.  I can't imagine how the next year will be better than this year was, but I will strive to make it happen.

Rustaveli Street


This is the entrance to the street.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rustaveli Statue



An interesting statue at the beginning of Rustaveli street.

Georgian Hospitality

A person I know recently arrived in Georgia and is working for an NGO in a rural area.  The other day, she reported she was hiking near the town she works in and ran into a Georgian family out for a stroll as well.  They couldn't speak English but communicated they wanted her to follow them and was eventually led back to their village.  At that point, they offered her food and invited the neighbors over and made her the center of attention for the whole village!  She said she ate so much that it was difficult to walk home!  I wasn't surprised because I have been the recipient of Georgian hospitality many times just not in such a rural setting.  To tell you the truth, I'm a little jealous of her experience.  Those were the days!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Even in T'bilisi . . .


they have a McDonald's although, I must say, this one is very architecturally pleasing.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Neighborhood Pictures . . .


. . . from my time in Georgia.  These bring back really good memories of the neighborhood I lived in while there.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Gift


Well, I can't think of a better gift than this to give all the viewers of this blog. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

I wish a Merry Christmas to all my family, friends, and anyone else reading this site.  Take care and see you in the new year.

Western Georgia




Taken near the town of Lechkhumi in Western Georgia.  Notice the color of the mountain.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Is this Georgia or Paradise?


A friend of mine sent this picture to me yesterday.  It is a mountain scene in Western Georgia!

Monday, December 21, 2009

One Last Shot . . .


. . . of the cathedral and then I will move on to another topic.  I just can't get enough of these pictures.  They remind me of a very special day in Georgia with good friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Frescoe


I love the frescoe on the wall.  Other pictures of the structure were posted earlier.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Georgian Wedding



The wedding was taking place inside the church and seemed to be part of the attraction as many tourists were snapping pictures.  I was reluctant to do the same but my Georgian friends assured me that the wedding couples would not mind.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Around Sameba Again



I think this is a very good picture.  I can't believe I didn't post it before.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Candid Camera???


Actually, this guy was filming the church (as seen in the posts below), but for the life of me, I can't understand why he chose that location from which to film.  Any theories???

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Near Sameba

Here is another structure across from the church.


First Day Back to Work!

Help me!  Today's my first day back to work here in the US.  Oh well, I'm in training this week so that will allow me to break back in slowly.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sameba Church

I love the way the sidewalk displays the church's reflection!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I needed this (again) . . .


as a coping mechanism.  I still miss T'bilisi and my friends but this picture at 6am from my balcony makes me feel a bit better.

Georgian Recipes Link!

My dear friend sent me this link for Georgian recipes.  Now, I can eat all the Georgian food I want!!!  But who will cook it for me :,(

http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Georgian_Recipes

Friday, December 11, 2009

A New Friend


Well, sort of.  We couldn't communicate very well because he didn't speak English at all and I couldn't speak Georgian at that time.  If I could have, I would have chastized him for what he did to me!  He allowed me to pet him and won my trust.  But, as soon as my back was turned, he snatched the bag of treats I had been holding.  I left Ananuri without ever seeing him again . . . and the second picture is what distracted me.




"Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus"

This is the first book I downloaded for my Kindle.  I've only read the first chapter but would highly recommend it to anyone interested in that part of the world.  I really like how the author weaves narrative of his own experiences in the region with historical events.  I could even see reflections of some of my own experiences with the Georgian people in his writing.  Can't wait to read the rest of it!

Slovak Cooking Link!

Here is an interesting site suggested to me by a reader.  It has several recipes for traditional Slovak food and even offers language lessons for free.  I posted the link in the left margin but here it is again.  Let me know what you think.

http://www.slovakcooking.com/

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amazon Kindle



I just received it!  It's amazingly simple to use but has advanced features as well.  It's technology like this that may save the planet someday.  Any suggestions for the first book I should order?

Amazing Stonework!



What a story these old structures tell.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bottomless Pit!



Well, not really.  This picture was taken from inside the monastery looking up through a turret.  I had thought of telling all of you how I was arrested and this was my punishment.  However, I knew you would never believe that I would do anything to justify an incarceration!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Monastery from Below


I'm starting to run out of descriptive titles for these pictures!  I think I'll just let the view speak for itself.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ananuri Lake


What's the name of this lake?  I still have so many unanswered questions about Georgia.  That's why I need to return.

Notre Dame Christmas Greeting!

Look to the left and click the video for a message from my alma mater.

Same View, Different Angle (Annanuri)


Really, I'm not a good photographer. The scenery itself creates the photo.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ananuri View


Just a reminder to myself of what a wonderful life I had just a few weeks ago. One way or another, I will return!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Snow in San Antonio?

I'll snap a picture tomorrow if it actually happens. Geez! These drivers are bad enough on dry surfaces!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fireworks!!!

Here is a video I took of fireworks after the traditional dance performance. I filmed the fireworks outside the building where it was held. It's hard to believe this was only about two weeks ago.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Video: Amazing Costumes!

Every costume you see is based on a particular culture/tradition in different parts of Georgia!

Friday, November 27, 2009

More House Pictures!








I posted just a few more pictures of the house and surrounding area. One thing, the view from the backyard and across the field is of Culebra Road for any San Antonio residents who might be looking at these. I hope it's a long time before that field is sold for commercial reasons!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Supra/Tamada


Normally, I would never post a picture of someone at a party without their permission. However, in this case, the person insisted that I post the picture! This individual served as the 'Tamada' at a 'Supra' I attended a few weeks ago. To refresh your memory, a Supra is a kind of Georgian party that is held on special occasions or, possibly for no special reason at all. The Tamada is the person who proposes toasts during the Supra. But, he doesn't propose just any toast-there seems to be a formal process that occurs during the evening. I must admit, I don't really understand how this proceeds so maybe others out there can comment on this. All I can say is, our Tamada was a very talented toastmaster dare I say, almost poetic!


You may notice a glass in the person's right hand. I believe there was only water in his glass the whole night. Otherwise, no human being could have drunk as many shots as this person seemed to have done!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

House Pictures

I was working in the yard today (enjoying my vacation) and decided to snap some pictures of my house. Here are a few with descriptions below each picture.


Various bushes/plants that need to be trimmed!

My house (full view)

The cul-de-sac nearby

Back Porch

SUV in the driveway (I'm one of the few who can actually use their garage)




Another Amazing Video!

Here is another video from the performance I saw a few weeks ago. Again, the music/dancing is amazing!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Georgia on my mind . . .


I've finally started getting over the jetlag but I'm still missing Georgia terribly. Fortunately, I'm in touch with friends over there so this makes it a little easier to cope. Here is a view of T'bilisi that I'm posting just to remind myself of how beautiful it is/was.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back in Texas!

I returned about two hours ago and just wanted to let everyone know I made it back safely. The house and yard were in pretty good condition primarily because a trusted friend was looking out for it these last three months. I better stop now because I am so jetlagged!

I'll post more tomorrow after I get some sleep.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Final Days

Well, I will be leaving T'bilisi early Saturday morning. It's been a great three months and I wish I could stay here much longer. You know, when this opportunity came up, I almost didn't pursue it. There were so many reasons why I should not have left the US at that time and yet, for some reason I decided to come anyway. Now that I've had all these fantastic experiences and met all these wonderful people, I have to wonder if fate had a hand in my decision. My life and perception of life have been altered so much in the last three months. Thank goodness I followed my instincts and came.

So, my body will be leaving Georgia but my heart will always be here. I wish to say goodbye to the wonderful friends I've made and to thank them for the generosity they've all shown me.

Until the next time . . .

Russ

Monday, November 16, 2009

Video: Dagger Fighting!

Here is a video showing a traditional dance that involves sword/dagger fighting. I wish the video quality were better because you could actually see the sparks flying from the metal as you viewed it in real life. What an amazing performance this was! I'll post some more videos this week along with still pictures. Enjoy!

PS Isn't the music great as well? Be sure to turn up the volume!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just to Whet Your Appetite!

I'll be posting some pictures/videos of Georgian traditional dancing in the next few days. I think the videos will be very entertaining!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ananuri Again

I'm trying to catch up with pictures I never got around to posting. Here are a few more from Ananuri about 70kms north of T'bilisi. In case you forgot the history of this site, you can review it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananuri



Nice Cloud

The Monastery Grounds

The Lake

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Has it been this long?

I didn't realize I had not posted on my blog since last Saturday. I think it's because I've been so busy trying to do as much as possible before I leave Georgia. I've still got plenty of pictures to post and so, I will continue to do so even when I'm back in Texas. When I run out of pictures, I will probably post news articles about Georgia and comment on these. Whatever, I will never forget this wonderful country and the fantastic friends I've made here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Traditional Music/Dancing

Here is a video from last night showing traditional Georgian dancing. There is some streaking in the video from the lights but it's not too distracting. Be sure to turn up the volume on your computer!

Georgia (9)







Wow! Last night, I went to a Georgian 'Supra.' This is a kind of party
that involves a lot of eating and drinking. The most interesting part is
when the 'Tamada' (the toastmaster) stands up and begins with the various
toasts. These toasts are well thought out and follow a pattern as the night
progresses. We also listened to Georgian traditional music played by a live

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy People Dancing!!!

And you would be, too if you lived in Georgia!

For my Georgian friends, can you guess where this picture was taken . . .


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wednesday Morning!

It's already Wednesday!  Why don't I remember Monday or Tuesday?  Seriously, time is moving so fast here.  I will miss this place so much!  I took a walk in the freezing rain yesterday evening because I couldn't bear the thought of wasting time in my room!  I've been here almost three months and the romance is not fading at all!

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Favorite Stroll (Final Stage)

These are the last pictures of my favorite stroll in T'bilisi.  Years from now, I'll look at these pictures and reminisce about how much joy I got out of doing such a simple thing in such an amazing place.  I wish I could convey to all of you how wonderful it is to live here.



Freedom Circle from far away


Mother Georgia in the distance


Close Up


Church entrance on the way back


Typically beautiful T'bilisi architecture