A Travellerspoint blog

Welcome to Tbilisi, Georiga

February 14-21 2011

February 14th, 2011 we touch down in Tbilisi, Georgia a 4:50am. We were brought to D Plaza which was the hotel we were staying at. At 8:30 breakfast was going to be served and then our itinerary was to begin. Needless to say half of everyone was asleep (including myself - Audra). We had our medical checks at 12:30, but we missed those because we were sleeping. Everyone in TLG was wonderful though because they said we could take it the following day.

The TLG staff, mainly Tamara and Tatita, asked us if we wanted to walk around Tbilisi. The TLG group 12 with a resounding cheer said YES and around 4pm we began our trek through Tbilisi.
Our first view in the daylight: 183888_883.._-_Copy.jpg Not exactly what we were expecting.
Continuing down Rustaveli Street. 185820_883..95292_n.jpg180820_883.._-_Copy.jpg184837_883..66980_n.jpg182475_883.._-_Copy.jpg
To get to most everything in Tbilisi, Rustaveli street will get you there. Shota Rustaveli was a very proliferate poet back in 12 century and his writings would eventually end up being the Georgian national epic poem. Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shota_Rustaveli

Then we started making our way down to old town Tbilisi. In order to make revenue, the government has built up this area which is directed towards tourists and those with lots of money. It's new and cute with little ice cream shops, cafes and European restaurants all about.
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It was starting to become dusk but we wanted to see more. Just like every tourist we had our camera out for any photo opportunity and weren't going to a little bit of dusk get in our way!!
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After a long and exhausting first day we were ready to head back to the hotel and FINALLY get some sleep!!

Then came the week long orientation of Georgian language class, how to teach classes in a lecture form (we all weren't thrilled about that class), insurance, intercultural training, banking, phones, and soo much more. If the first day wasn't exhausting enough, the following days were!The_Republ..gia_007.jpgThe_Republ..gia_005.jpgThe_Republ..gia_015.jpgThe_Republ..gia_043.jpgThe_Republ..gia_048.jpg

Then the snow came. Tony was overwhelmed because this was his first time really being in the snow since he was 13 (lucky for him there would be a lot). The_Republ..gia_041.jpgThe_Republ..gia_018.jpgThe_Republ..gia_011.jpg183048_883..36998_n.jpg182650_883..14797_n.jpg182057_883..16627_n.jpg180479_883.._-_Copy.jpg180126_883.._-_Copy.jpg180040_883..06773_n.jpg179836_883..61954_n.jpg

We finally made it to our half way point in the orientation and the half way point was the only free night we had to go out into Tbilisi and relax! There were multiple ideas being thrown out of things to do, but eventually we made it to the Beatles Bar. All in all, it was a wonderful time! We got to visit with our new friends, have Georgian beer and dance! 184125_652.._-_Copy.jpg180553_883.._-_Copy.jpg

Then on Monday, Feb 21st we departed the D Plaza. The anticipation is nerve racking and my anxiety rises as we await to meet someone who will take us somewhere in Rustavi (which is now our home). We all say our good bye's and hope that everyone makes it safely to where ever they are going. There's not really anything to describe this feeling except excitement rolled with angst, but we knew it would be good. 188241_101..32401_n.jpg185957_653..75119_n.jpg

Posted by almchenry 02:14 Archived in Georgia Comments (0)

Onward from the Airport!

Feb.13th 2011

snow 3 °C

It's a Sunday afternoon and we're off to the airport. Our adrenaline was pumping and so was the traffic. :) The unknown is unimaginable and as much as we try to conceive something, we continue to be baffled. Where are we going to live, what is the country going to be like, what's the food, will they have Subway, and most importantly - what's the wine like? We had a long 2 days ahead of us to think of even more questions too - Houston to Chicago, Chicago to Warsaw, and Warsaw to Tbilisi.

We carried 5 pieces of luggage; 2 carry on's, 2 large suitcases filled with clothes, and another mid size filled with shoes. The word was that per person, we could bring 1 big bag along with our carry on. Otherwise we would have to pay an extra $50. The attendant for American Eagle (our first plane) did not charge us for the extra luggage - Whoop! And luckily Rebecca brought her camera to capture the anxiety of us hoping that our carry on would fit on the planes. The most that we were hoping was that for any circumstance we would look our finest. In-laws and Outlaws in Bush Airport

In-laws and Outlaws in Bush Airport

We took one last time for a photo opp, kissed our parents goodbye, and then had to get a photo with the space cow (we couldn't leave Houston without it).Cow astronaut

Cow astronaut

We passed through security just fine, well almost. Tony got the new security scan, we backed up the entire line, and had to send our stuff through the scanner 2 times. Other than that, it went off without a hitch!

Then it was time to wait. We made some phone calls, shed some tears, and looked at the itty bitty plane we were about to board. That's one thing I just did not understand - We are flying half way around the world and we're booked on American Eagle. But no worries, we made it safe to Chicago!

In Chicago, we had to transfer to the international gate and there our high hopes of sneaking through the planes with 3 large suitcases was deflated. We had to go to the LOT Polish airlines to get our tickets and then were informed that we would have to pay $65 for our extra-extra large luggage. No worries though, we were able to see some of Tony's family that lives in Chicago. It was so good to see some familiar faces too. Our layover was 4 hours so we definitely had some time to kill and we chose so by having some beers, Chicago deep pan pizza, and a Chicago style Italian beef sub. $65 didn't matter much to us anymore. :)

Then onto security in Chicago. There we found out that a magnetic chess board will really put a big question onto some security guards. Note to self: no magnetic chess board or just take it out in the beginning. Once we re-grouped and found our gate, there was no turning back. Sitting there I was being nosy and listening into others conversation, but found out that there were many people going to Georgia to teach English. We felt more comfortable knowing that there was a group of us going. Then it was 8 hours on the plane. We were elated... Not. However, we did make friends with the young woman sitting behind us, who was flying from Georgia - the US state - to the other Georgia. We found out that she was going to teach English as well, so we chatted it up with her for a few minutes before trying to get some shut eye. I was successful in getting some rest, but Tony had a serious lack of sleep.

Then Poland. Yep. That's about all I have to say. We certainly do not have the fondest memories of Warsaw. An 8 hour lay-over with some new friends that we had made (thank goodness), an overly priced duck that I swore was chicken, some serious pat downs, and no sleep what-so-ever. Warsaw Poland. Yep. Safe Zone in Warsaw Poland

Safe Zone in Warsaw Poland

Then onto Tbilisi with a 4 hour flight and on Feb.15th. Being totally exhausted all that we were hoping for was the possibility for some sort of rest once we arrived in Tbilisi. And that didn't happen. Once we touched down and grabbed our bags, we were greeted with camera's and Tony was faced with his first interview. Here is the link. If you press video, it should pop up: Tony's Interview

It was an exciting, nerve racking, anxious, and exhausting 2 day trip, but so far it has been totally worth it. Within the next few days, some more blogs will be posted with a lot more photo's too! Much love from Georgia!

Audra and Tony

Posted by almchenry 10:31 Archived in Georgia Comments (0)

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