Archive for May, 2010

May 31, 2010

Wondering around – in Georgia

I had 3weeks of excitement traveling around Georgia. I had no idea & expectation about Tbilisi and its surrounding. All I knew was the recent war between Georgia and Russia. I landed there to find country very similar to India. no traffic rules, pot holes, nice people, religions, great food…my god, food is awesome & cheap (do try Georgian cuisine).

My friend decided to join me for 5day long weekend. Tbilisi is relatively small city so we would walk most to places and taxi was cheap anyways. During week days, dinner was at nice Georgian restaurants recommended by lonely planet. Till Friday evening 9pm we had no fixed plans for the weekend. All came together in last minute. Found one nice english speaking guide to drive us around. We went on roadtrip to the country side of Georgian. Sighnagi beautiful hill-town, Telavi wine region, vardzia caves close to Turkey & Armenia border, Caucasus Mountains valley, which I should say is stunningly beautiful. Georgian wine is nice. Interesting very old churches, cave mountains,… many things to see and do. Unfortunate we couldn’t do adventure sports, since May is still too early we were told. Georgian is orthodox country and one of the first countries to become Christian. ofcourse during USSR days, religion was practiced in secret. Second language is used to be Russian but these day many young people are learning English as second language. I never had any language problem.

Some interesting highlights:
• Indian movies are big in Georgian. Most people mention the (old) hindi movie names and actor/actress names. one TV channel (India Tv)show Indian movies & drama 24×7 with Russian voice over. (and taxi drivers all they want to talk about is how good hindi movies are and how good looking georgian girls are,)
• People are very very friendly, everywhere I go.. in underground train, street corner while walking, etc… some people walk up and ask where I am from, talk about india, movies, etc.. offer to help, offer for drinks,.. not just once but this happened many times during my stay. Meet two guys who offer me to take me around places and took me drinks and meet nice wonderful & her cousins for drinks,.. had fun time with those folks.
• Many Indian students are studying medicine in Tbilisi. I meet one such student, a boy(Mr.D) from my hometown. He is been there for almost 4years and had interesting stories about life in Tbilisi, others students & their background, their hopes & straggles. Hearing those stories only make me to appreciate my life even more. D was explain how he miss home sometime but he doesn’t think he ever go back to india and live there because he is gay (and actually he can’t even live in Georgia forever). He is lovely kind soul, interesting fellow, took me around places and to nice Georgian restaurant will live Georgian music & dance. He was sharing his experience of travelling to Iran and talking about people in Iran so kind and generous. So many offered him place to stay, food… for free. Thanks to couchsurfing.org , which is how he pinged me too.
• Took intercity bus ride to Gori, joseph stalin hometown. Bus ride in itself is an experience. And I noticed Stalin still have some sympathizers. And his old house, his train coach, is part of museum where I could sit in the his chair & his bed… and take picture. Ofcourse it was not allowed but I charmed tour guide lady to take my pictures. she said, since I came all the way from India and she never had Indian tourists there before, She will allow me to take picture sitting in stalin chair..:) I noticed for stalin’s 70th birthday, gift was sent from India. it’s a writing on rice. Its no surprise museum was bad maintained (by Georgian govt.) and you can’t fail to notice many young couples sitting in many corners of the museum complex and on the step of stalin’s old house and making out.
• I hitch-hiked. Yap I did.;D) exciting fun. Should I say anymore..;) I thought only mini-skirts blondes will get rides. But thank god I was wrong. Some kind souls gave me the left. I had no plans or destination; I went in the direction I got ride. And landed in beautiful little historical town Gardabani.

And Unfortunate I would not go to Azerbaijan, Armenia, so near yet so far. If I had to find a word to describe my trip…its Excitement.

Advertisements
May 20, 2010

Wondering around – part 2

One of the recent sunny weekend day, went out for my usual walk. Two strangers stopped me and said something in French. I replied, I can understand French very well. Man(rather the boy) said ‘we are American student here on exchange program to spread the message of God’. Only then I noticed badge on his shirt “Jesus is our god…”. my initially thought- oh boy, this is not going to end well. Almost immediately, I said sorry boys you are wasting time with me because I am an atheists and he asked –“what’s you are point in life?” my reply- I am going for move-n-pick ice-cream now and that’s my point in life… to have good ice cream. I laughed and moved away before he could reply.

Well, I am not an atheist. I just wanted to run away and don’t want to have comparative analysis on Hinduism & Christian or any religion. Belief is such a personal thing. I believe that it is impossible to know anything about God and its a social invention because the belief that this life is all there is would be psychologically unacceptable or unimaginable. I call myself an agnostic because I do not consider it is ever possible to know the nature of God. If a God exists, which may but can not be proven because by the very nature of what a God is, that being is beyond our ability to comprehend and always will be.

Anyways, I was curious about that loaded question– what is the point in life?
kept wondering.. still wondering..

May 18, 2010

Wondering around – part 1

As mentioned (land of music) I did the trip to Austria. Onward Night Train journey introduced me to follow traveler. Yet another random meetup, an interesting travel companion & I decided to explore the place together.

Unplanned day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. City is pleasant surprise with very interesting sculptures at almost every corner of old town. Walked around on grey day but unfortunately couldn’t catch ferry back to Vienna. while train journey is quicker but i thought ferry ride could have been more interesting.

Vienna – everywhere its all about Mozart. OK I get it Mozart… is important man for western classical music but Vienna is certainly more than Mozart. I was very curious to find about Sigmund Freud and It wasn’t very easy to find any trace. And ofcourse, many locals talked about another popular Austrian-american – Arnold Schwarzenegger. 🙂 And thing which I don’t know before – Graffiti started in vienna. Street art were found in many place and my favorites are at kirchengasse, donaukanal, nashmarkt, burggasse, beritegasse,..

Next stop Salzburg- woke up late, walked up to festung fortress- nice view of the city. Came down, had nice food, relaxing in local café reading a book. ‘Hello mr’ a voice from behind. Old man asked if am I a tourists! that was the start of interesting hour long conversation about the city, history, india,.. he offered to play chess on the giant chess board painted onto the ground in old town. I won..oh ya I did.;) afternoon, sound music tour.. that’s a must in Salzburg. Another interesting fact which I didn’t know before- sound of music movie is not popular in Austria..;) they have their own (original story) german version of trapp family.

Salzburg Street music

————

And OK, Yes I am Indian but cricket does not excite me anymore. but I have to say this IPL T20 season somehow got me. I couldn’t help but to watch last two matches played by my hometown team and cheer for their victory in finals.
now, I heard Indian cricket team went out of world champions with very very poor performance. message to Indian cricket fan: GET OVER IT.

%d bloggers like this: