I wasn’t in top blog updating form after my winery shenanigans yesterday. Davit took me to his buddy’s place and they gave me the royal treatment. Everything was going smoothly after a couple liters of wine, until they tricked me into a massive shot of “chacha,” the Georgian spirit of choice. They had a massive diesel storage tank full of the stuff in one of their cellars and they asked me if I wanted to try a small bit. Obviously, I accepted, but insisted on a tiny shot. I downed it. A couple minutes later, my host, Beka, poured another tiny shot. After some pleading, I accepted on the terms that this was truly the last one. I downed it. They ERUPTED in laughter! In Georgia, you can only take shots in odd numbers. This is well documented and to their defense, I had been warned by multiple sources. That bastard Beka placed a massive, brim-binging glass in front of me. I knew this was going to be disastrous. I warned them of my imminent implosion, and they assured me that was their aim all afternoon. I took the shot, had an incredible time with these guys, and puked all the way home. I haven’t puked in years. However, I did learn a lot about Georgian wine and had a free catered afternoon on a three century old compound.

As a related aside, that same cellar has two hollow bull’s horns on one of the tables. Each of the horns holds two liters of liquid. They fill these with wine during feasts, and have a tradition where a driker is not allowed to put a horn down until it is empty. You can pour as much in as you want when it is your turn — one drop to two liters. They regularly have competitions. Beka’s (obviously) deceased grandfather is still a legend in the scene. He was able to down 10 liters in a sitting! He would decimate a two liter horn in two open-throat gulps. He also had legendary liver problems and died in his fifties. Beka is 21 and has worked his way up to five liters per sitting.

I arrived in Tbilisi this morning and went for an excellent walk around town. I also found the Saakashvili protesters and watched from a distance for a couple hours. I don’t know enough about the situation to feel comfortable taking part. I would estimate there were 5,000 people, and most of a surprisingly mature age. I would say that at least half of the protesters were over 45. It wasn’t just a group of bored university students looking for an adrenaline rush.

I am going to explore more tomorrow and hopefully find the sulfur baths! I will depart for Yerevan, Armenia on Friday.


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