Garmajoba. Rogara hart? (Hello, how are you?)
Today, Monday, January 11, 2010, after my eyes just couldn’t take any more computer time or Georgian language study, I walked down to a place called Prospero’s book store. I had in mind trying to see if I could find some kind of a book about hiking trails in and around Tblisi.
I descend to a main thoroughfare called Rustaveli Avenue. It has other names too depending upon which stretch of the avenue one is on. But this designation suffices for my purpose here. It is a wide avenue. Two lanes in each direction. Full of cars rushing to and fro. And the sidewalks are wide as well. So wide that people use the sidewalks to park on. Cars are willy-nilly everywhere in Tblisi. I enter Rustaveli from the relative quiet of a side street into the torrent of activity that sweeps one along. I am on my way to a coffee house and a cup of java.
Prospero’s is owned by an American and is set up as an English language spot. The barista speaks a bit of English and remembered me from when I was there with Nino several days ago. The coffee is as good as I could find in Lincoln. Maybe better. I think I paid 3 lari for an Americana (one shot). That is less than two dollars. This is a hangout for English speaking families as several mothers are there with their pre-school aged children reading children’s books loudly to their brood. Even with the mothers prattle, it is quiet and peaceful and a good place to go.
To get to Prospero’s one enters what was once a courtyard, now built up with buildings that house the café and bookstore. It has a private feel to it. I didn’t find any book I wanted to buy right now. There were several small cookbooks on Georgian cuisine. Even though much of the contents are about meat, I’ll probably buy one just for the recipes on how they use nuts and cilantro in creative ways with all sorts of veggies. I’ve already tried the recipe for eggplant with walnuts and it is terrific. And there were some books about recent politics in Georgia that I might buy. Some were very critical of Russia and Russia’s treatment of Georgians.
I didn’t stay long. It was the street scene that interested me. At 4-5 in the afternoon, the sidewalks are full of men and women in their late teens, twenties, thirties. The uniform is this: the women wear tight black pants, knee length black heeled boots, and black fitted coats. Almost without exception. The men wear black shoes, black pants and black coats. Almost without exception. The occasional woman or men walking in attire that is colorful stands out like a dazzling poppy in a field of black poppies. Me, I have on my running shoes, brown trousers, and a black down jacket so I guess I pretty much fit in. Although the running shoes are a give away that there goes a non- Georgian. I am not sure what it is about a society that compels such uniform dress in its young. I guess there is something tribal going on.