Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Georgian Vacation Round 2: Day 4 or “Armenia? Ararat!”

I wake up to pee around 7am and Gohar is already up munching on a delicious Georgian nectarine. I do a double take and realize it is really sunny. If this is the morning, we know it will be a good day. Gohar and I head to beach right away with the intention of not getting burned like last year. Even though it is so early I put on some of the natural sunscreen I bought in Canada (zinc-oxide, represent) and we make plans. We will stay under the sun, swim and dry off a bit and then get an umbrella. The umbrella for the day is 2 lari which is great. The man smiles and asks us where we are from and Gohar says Armenia and he smiles and says “Armenia! Ararat!”. The water seems cooler since we are hotter but I like it. There are no jellyfish this time around so Gohar theorizes that it is still too chilly for them to show themselves. A plastic bag brushes Gohar and she screams and of course “shark” is the only thing that pops into both of our minds. We swim again with ulterior motives I won't mention here (tee hee).
Gohar thinks she's all artsy while we avoid the sun.
My sister comes by and at some point calls to us and says in panic she saw a very big fish or shark in the distance, and as she is saying this, she is running away from her spot on the sand closer to us, which makes us think it is coming up to kill us all. Gohar and I kind of think she is making it up or seeing things and before I can even finish thinking that thought, we see two dolphins way too close to the shore swimming up and down out of the water. I had never seen them so close in natural settings so I was very excited and started screaming out of joy and then realized my sister was screaming but more for telling the little kids swimming near the shore to get out of the water because “where there are dolphins, there are sharks”. I don't know if that is legit yet or not or if she was trying to be dramatic. I realize they were very close to where I was swimming and imagined what it would be like to have them brush against me when I was by myself and then I would look down thinking it was just a plastic bag and then see a huge shadow of a large fish and I don't even know what I would do. I started thinking maybe it was never the plastic bag touching Gohar but a dolphin and by the time we looked down we blamed it on the innocent plastic bag. Sneaky dolphins. My sister laughs about how even though she was not in the water she still “ran away” from the dolphins who were in the water.  
The scene of the "dolphin drama"
Two Georgian men from Tbilisi come by and ask us if they can swim since no one else was swimming and we say of course, and then my sister “warns” them of the dolphins and they say they are also fish so it's all good. When they come out they ask us in Russian what our background is and Gohar says Armenian and he says “Armenia! Ararat!". It's cute I think and it seems diasporans everywhere have clearly gotten that message/connection across. They of course ask us if we like to drink and then if we are married. The “do you like to drink” question is asked all too often here and is our red flag. 

Today Bingo was nowhere to be seen :( We begin a new game of “spot the belly top”. I introduced this interesting Georgian fad in lastyear's blog post, and things have not changed in 2014. Mixed feelings about this always and forever. We saw this sign on the way home:
THREE TYPES OF BREAD AND PIG!
We decide to eat a full-on Georgian meal today as we all are craving beans/protein. We pick out a cozy looking place and right away ask if they have pkhali, a delicious greens-dish I have tried many times in Georgian restaurants in Yerevan and had to believe it could only be better in the place from where it came. We ordered 3 assuming they were the small round balls we were accustomed to and ordered eggplant, salad and loubiani. 

While we waited some of the workers blasted some wedding-esque poppy Georgian music and let us know the singer won a contest (euro-vision style?). They switched from Georgian to Russian to English, all club-music themed. The waitress arrived with our food and we were in heaven. The pkhali I am used to in Yervean and even Tiflis are usually served as small round balls and I have always ordered them with a group to share, so I never really felt fully satisfied because I love it so much and am reduced to eating only a portion. This was like no other pkhali – it was flat and oval-shaped and huge. I ate it all and for the first time in my life, I did not crave MORE pkhali. 
I love you.
The eggplant was great, the tomatoes and cucumbers were fresh and perfectly ripe, and the lobiani was just right – a mesh of beans with kidney as the star with just enough spices and very little salt in a crispy bread. 
The eggplant and salad had walnuts as well so I kept thinking “protein combining” in my head all slyly.
It was the perfect meal in a perfect spot in a perfect place. We left full and content and headed home to rest a bit before going for a walk with the sun setting. 

Tomorrow my sister and I head back to Tiflis to stay the night and then back to Yerevan since her flight is the next morning while Gohar does the best thing ever and extends. Wish we could too :(

We take an evening walk and sit by the water, and Gohar decides to go in fully clothed and Bingo finally comes out to play with us. 

Update: Pkhali overload. No survivors.

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