Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hey Kids, It's Picture Time!

Tbilis Metro

This is a view into one of Tbilisi's many cavernous metro stations. To give a sense of the depth, it's a two minute ride on the escalator (time that) and the escalators are not slow.

View of Tbilisi

Tbilisi as seen from Mtasminda -- makes you think the city's downright green, doesn't it? You can see about four cathedrals (pointy towers) and that huge white statue is "Mother Georgia."

People Live Here

This is not an unusual building for Tbilisi. Some parts of the city are being worked on, but the civil war in 1991 and the earthquake not long after have left some serious damage. If you notice, there's no roof on the third floor, but on the second floor, there are curtains. People are living there.


Georgian Bath houses, in the old part of the city. "Tbilisi" means "hot water."

'nother view of Tbilis

Another view of the city. Those cliffs in the foreground lead to the river which divides the city. That huge church is "Sameba" -- Trinity church.

Dancers in Sighnaghi

This is in Sighnaghi -- an old gymnasium where the Village Harmony campers are taking dance lessons.

Pancho Villa

And this is Pancho Villa, the mexican restaurant (!) in Sighnaghi, run by my former Georgian tutor, and inveterate fan of the American West, Shalva Mindorishvili (pictured).

Pancho's Margarita

Shavla's place serves Margaritas that will drive you batshit, and won't stop for the tolls. I don't know where he gets his Tequila, but it kicks ass.

Davit Gareji

This is a view from Davit Gareji. Or is it Middle Earth? I keep getting them confused... Monks have lived in caves out here since the sixteenth century.

Davit Gareji again

And these are the caves where some of the monks live. Caves. Monks. Caves.

Head Holders at Davit Gareji

This is where the monks used to eat. You see, they'd put their heads in those holes so they wouldn't get all uppity about how little they were living off of compared to the next guy. Ponder that the next time you're feeling hard core about something.

John Teaching

Over the years the monks painted quite a few frescoes on the walls of their caves...


...some quite stunning.

Tamar's Castle

this is from a trip we took a few days later, to the ruins of a castle built in the 1100's. Yeah. You're jealous.

If you want to see any of these in greater detail, you can always check out our flickr account, here.


Jenniejenjennifer said...

gorgeous gorgeousness. oh my.

i've now carved a similar monk-hole in the apartment, but it just doesn't compare. :)~

Anonymous said...

I could barely read the word verification test for the anonymous identity.

But I managed it. I am not digging a cave nor am I sticking my head in a hole to eat.....if I did, I couldn't watch TV and have dinner at the same time.

I am however, thinking about painting Frescos (sp?) on my ceiling if anyone can explain why I would I want a picture of a soda pop on the living room ceiling?

What is a monthly wage there Chris? It looks like the tax base is non-existent and services too I presume. Do they have a plan for remedial work; funds?


John Ananda said...

There have been monks in Davit Garegi since the 6th century, when Saint Davit first moved there. In the 16th century, 5000 monks were killed by Shah Abbas there...

I love these pictures Chris, especially I hadn't seen Shergil's carving.

Chris Michel said...

Hey there Gary,

I'm so sorry I never responded to your question. I didn't actually realize that people were posting responses until just now(two months later).


So, you asked what the monthly wage was in Georgia. Funny, that.

We just hung out yesterday with a georgian friend -- graduated from the local university -- who works two jobs, one for a U.S.-based rental car company (you'd recognize the name) and one at the airport. His schedule is such that he works at the airport for 24 hours at a stretch every three days, and then spends most of his off-hours working at the rental car place. Between the two jobs he makes about 300 Georgian Lari ($182) every month.

He moved to Tbilisi from Sighnaghi because he couldn't make nearly that kind of cash out there. Of course, he's also spending almost all of it on rent and food.

I don't know what taxes are like. There must be some -- the gov't has been building roads (and water fountains, and statues) like crazy over the past three years. And the police force is now paid very well. I don't know the exact amount, but it's enough to support their entire family, and enough to make bribing them a near impossibility. There's a rumor that George Soros (among others) is helping float a lot of this.

As for other services -- ambulance is nonexistent, it's true. But parks are being rebuilt, electricity is now pretty constant, and public spaces (parks, etc.) are being rebuilt pretty steadily. I have no idea how.