Shaun, king of the Caucusas with $35 a day.

I awoke amidst a full-fledged blizzard and a bustling village. Georgia is an Eastern Orthodox Christian nation, so their Easter festivities are a week later than my familiar Western counterparts this year. Today is Palm Sunday and this place takes this day extremely seriously. The streets were filled with brush-bearing Georgians, parading between the three ancient churches in Telavi. I woke up to another fantastic feast and then joined the migration as an observer — albeit not a very discrete blonde one. However, my participation was greatly encouraged and I received many awards of approval. Couple my curiosity with aforementioned blondness and the fact that America has (for the most part) been a strong ally of Georgia, and you might begin to get a sense for how embracing these people are of me!

Returning to that feast, Svetlana prepared: two fried eggs, more fresh bread and yogurt, homemade cherry jam, a pot of coffee and a fried crepe filled with beans. These people would explode if they ate more than two meals a day!

I met Davit at 13:00 and he took me on a spectacular tour of some of this regions ancient sites. Cathedrals from the 5th and 6th centuries, medieval castles, and some of the oldest wine fields in the world — not bad for a country of five million with a befuddled history on the fringe of many of the world’s greatest empires. Davit is ridiculously knowledgeable, and I was able to fact check him a couple of times to prove that he wasn’t just talking out of his ass! Tomorrow, we are going to begin at 11:00 and do the wine tasting portion of the tour 🙂 He worked in the wine business for a few years, and has drunk enough wine for four lifetimes (as he likes to put it.) Spending $35 a day feels like splurging after my recent <$10 shenanigans, but it is money well spent. I am learning things that would otherwise be inaccessible and from which I will derive pleasure for the rest of my life.

To reiterate, this country’s history is unbelievably complicated. Its future is similarly enigmatic. However, its present certainly seems filled with hardship.

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