Friday, May 17, 2013

Istanbul and Tbilisi, May 16th and 17th.

May 15th
My cousin's fiance and I had breakfast together and drove around Munich. The flight to Istanbul was pretty for the parts that I was awake for. The smaller Istanbul airport has a lot of alcohol and tobacco, this is a very liberal nation by Muslim standards. There are people here from around the world. I looked for Turkish food (I can have Burger King whenever I want at home, and I never want it anyways) and had a simit, and instantly fell in love with Turkish culture at the first bite. It had a delicious cheese and the bread was great. A simit is like a bagel, but with a larger hole in the middle and has a different texture to the bread.

I flew then to Tbilisi and slept on the overnight flight, I got to my friend's house around 3 in the morning and after a snack fell asleep immediately. I woke up about half an hour before I arrived in Tbilisi and watched the lights of the city of over a million people as I woke up. Customs was easy, and I went home with my friend and his father. We drove home and had some really good bread and cheese. The bread was baked with the cheese inside it. Georgian cheese (at least the one I tried) is salty and tasty.

May 16th
The next day (waking up around 12:30 in the afternoon, as opposed to 2:30 my overnight in München) we drove around the city. It is CRAZY! Georgian driving has people doing basically whatever they want.

May 17th
I just got home and had some dinner and it was a partially wonderful and partially eye opening day. I went with my friend's aunt and his brother (who is 8 and has just started to learn English, so he isn't comfortable with it yet) to a Georgian arts in the old city which is both beautiful and somewhat sad. There was some Armenian food, a wrap with what I think was beef inside and some bread very similar to what is made in Western European culture, wonderful people, and beautiful Georgian music. We walked to the top of the mountain on the south side of Tbilisi where there is a large statue that is less than 100 years old made of steel (coordinates: ) which gave Ilia some much needed exercise.When we were done we went to get some food, and then some ice cream. As we were there a small boy came up and asked me for change, I politely said no and he went away. It shook me a bit because I have never had a small child (maybe 8, the same age as Ilia) come up to me and ask for money, we don't have that in the United States. We took a taxi home (there are taxis and buses which are usually vans everywhere in Tbilisi, which is really convenient) and I had some dinner while talking to my friend's grandmother about my day. She explained what I heard a while back, but I didn't realize when the child came to me, that the 2008 war in Abkhazia and South Ossetia has displaced tens of thousands of people of all ages which is a huge crisis right here in Tbilisi. The Georgian government is doing everything they can, giving them 28 Lari (about $4) a month as a stipend, With over 280,000 refugees, this becomes a large price tag for such a small country. That is over 4% of Georgia's population. I see people of all ages on the streets. It's downright heartbreaking. I wish there was something I could do. I feel like this is truly life changing and that once I have got my life together this is one issue I would be willing to take on a part of, maybe a monthly donation of $100 or something like that to a charity to help these people. All in all, it was a very educational day with great music, great food, and a depressing realization.

I try not to publish politics on this blog, but this is not just a political issue, this is a moral issue.

1 comment:

Stidmama said...

So difficult to realize how many people need help, and how difficult it is to reach them all. On the other hand, it does sound as if you are having a good time in general. Food sounds amazing! See if you can get recipes for some of the things you are enjoying the most and we can try to duplicate them when you get home.