Churches! Men wearing shorts! No headscarves! Beer – everywhere!
Yes, I’ve made it back into this small island of Christianity amongst a vast ocean of tiled mosques and gamey lamb stews.
Crossing the border was far from straightforward, but of course, you knew that already. This time I was subject to the whims of a young adolescent toting an unfeasibly large automatic weapon, barking at the squadrons of exhausted Georgian Ladas which had jockeyed for position all morning to squeeze through the single entry gate. A thick smell of clutch hung in the air from the enthusiastic attempts to make it next in line.
Basking in this minor position of power, the guard delighted in seeing the crowds of pedestrians pile up for a good hour, unleashing his teenage angst on any foolhardy soul who dared stray across the line, making a break for passport control – before inviting a few lucky souls to set foot in no mans’ land. A few at a time. Just a few.
Eventually, I was selected amongst the seething crowds, and after a brief stroll across a dried-up river bed, I approached the Georgian side with trepidation.
More flicking through embarassing photos on my digital cameras?
Full-length explanations on why I had come to Georgia?
Picking through the pitiful selection of clothes in my backpack in pursuit of some chemical form of entertainment?
Not at all.
“Welcome to Georgia, my friend”. A handshake, a smile, and I was through.
What a tremendous place. I love it already.