Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Traveling Doesn't Change You

Traveling doesn't change you.
In fact, it's not traveling that changes you.

Travel returns you to your most original, purest state.

Travel brings the human soul closer to its universal, collective origin.

When we do not travel, when we stay, we are covered in layers of other people's lives, stories, personalities, and the expectations, traditions, and routines of our stationary communities.There is clear value is this familiarity, in being static, in becoming part of a community, but that action erodes our individual identity as it was imprinted upon our newborn hearts.

As we grow older, we appear to become more like "ourselves," to grow into our personalities, to "find ourselves," but really, we are simply cloaking ourselves in a societal identity.

There is a reason why so many people claim to find themselves while traveling, or attempt to find themselves through a journey.

Travel puts us out of context.

By pulling us away from our societies, our cloaks of expectations and patterned behavior are pulled off. We are able to freshly see the essential core around which our societal identity has been built. That essentiality is not simply a base that we use to center and ground us as we develop (though it can serve that function as well), but is a pure soul, a true identity.

Travel allows us not to find ourselves, but to uncover ourselves. We better understand who we are when we see how we react to challenging or unexpected situations when no one from "real life" is watching. No one is holding us to the standard of how we usually act, and surrounded by strangers, who can hold us accountable for our actions? We are forced to let go of our routines, to listen to our instincts.

Travelers are often expected or forced to represent not only themselves, but their entire nation. We cannot always answer confidently when asked "What are American men like?" or "How do Russians view Americans?" but we are at the very least made to think about ourselves and the cultures that raised us in a more objective way. Over-simplified questions often lead to deep and complex thoughts. We are able to see ourselves through fresh outside eyes, unencumbered by our time-built interpretations. Once we leave the forest, we are able to see more than just the trees- of both our nations and ourselves.


Uncover yourself. 
Travel: Smarter, Better, Further. 

~Love at First Layover~

final chapter

So, if you haven't been keeping up with the saga of my exit from the Caucasus back to Georgia, here is:
part 1
part 2
part 3
and now the final chapter...

Kazbegi Dance Party

After using my razor sharp wit and catlike reflexes to escape from my FSB interrogation on the Russian border, and white-knuckling it through the cab ride from Hell...I made it to Kazbegi! On my lap until the Russian border, and in the trunk for the last stretch, was a big plastic bag full of Ossetian pirogi. After the taxi dropped me in the town center of Kazbegi, I sat on a bench for a while resisting the urge to eat all the pirogi immediately. Shortly my friend Zviadi came to meet me, and we decided to make a little picnic! About 20 minutes into eating pirogi and beer on a tree stump table, sitting on unstable rock chairs in a glade in the woods, in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, I get an urgent e-mail from my boss. The Georgian Parliament was issuing a resolution on the Russian "border creep" earlier that month, and needed me to evaluate the draft and edit the English, also, my big boss, who is a member of Parliament, was issuing an English statement on the Iran nuclear program that I needed to edit...so, we went back to Zviadi's family home so I could use his computer. While his mom bustled around the kitchen and yard, and Zviadi did something with the animals (oh yeah, they live on a small farm), I supported the Georgian democracy   ;)
I planned then to leave and head back to Tbilisi, but my work took a bit longer than anticipated, and I wanted to go around and say goodbye to all my other friends in Kazbegi. I wouldn't be back to the village that summer. Two other things prevented my departure as well...
1) I was proposed to
2) We had a dance party.


I'm sure you all want to know the proposal story, but honestly it's pretty personal and I want to respect the privacy of everyone involved. In short- I said no. It was half a request for immigration assistance and half "I love you," but...the guy didn't really speak Russian or English, so he recruited some nice local girls to be my translators. Boy was that awkward. I barely know the kid, it was uncomfortable, but there were no hard feelings. 

Thennnnnn Zviadi introduced me to the awesome girls who live on his second floor. These girls are from Tbilisi and rent extra rooms while they work at the big hotel/casino in Kazbegi for tourist season. Just as we were all getting to know each other, one of the girls gets called in to work an emergency shift...but Elena, Zviadi, and I still enjoyed each others' company! Once I had finally given in to Elena's pleading to stay one more night before going back to Tbilisi, the real party broke loose. Zviadi invited another of his friends over, we broke out the beer and snacks (I ate SO much cheese), I played with a baby chick, and we danced danced danced! 
 
me with the baby chick
me, Zviadi, and Elena being silly
forgot her name (probably Tako or Nino) but she's awesome
Zviadi, Bichiko, and our feast
This small baby cow and I startled each other!


It was incredibly fun. Just taking turns being DJ and sharing all sorts of American and traditional Caucasian music. We turned that top floor into a dance club! Most fun I've had on a Monday in a long time. 

video


Marshrutka Crash and the "Olympics"

As if I hadn't already had enough complications, the marshrutka on the way from Kazbegi to Tbilisi crashed. It crashed. Slammed right into another truck. Well, maybe not "slammed" exactly...basically, a truck merged onto the highway, cutting off our marshrutka. Other than the front bumper being ripped off, both vehicles were still drive-able. The drivers got out, and while they didn't exchange insurance info (either they didn't have insurance, didn't care, or knew each other- all possibilities), they did find it necessary to scream about whose fault it was for about half an hour.




Eventually the driver (and the men who had gotten off the marsh to participate in the excitement) got back behind the wheel, picking the bumper off the road and handing it to the passengers. We passed it overhand through the marsh and stuck it in the little luggage rack above our heads. Then we rumbled off down the road towards Tbilisi once again. 
So close, couldn't have been more than 20 minutes outside the city, when suddenly we hit a detour. The road ahead was closed thanks to the Olympics...let's be clear, these are like the 5th rate Olympics- European youth Olympics in their first fledgling year, invented by Azerbaijan to make them feel more European. 
So the last 20 minutes of the ride took about an hour of winding slowly through the ramshackle alleys of the city's outskirts. 
When I finally reached the Didube bus station I was exhausted, sweaty, hot, and angry. It was only about 3 pm, and I had planned to go straight to the office to catch up on work, but instead I went home and slept for 12 hours.

What a trip.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Life as a Spy (FSB interrogation)

So if you haven't been following the tale of my journey back to Georgia from my sojourn in the Northern Caucasus, first I was convinced to stay an extra day in Vladikavkaz by a cool little Ossetian wrestler and the promise of a wedding, then got stuck in the taxi from hell when I finally did make my way back across the border...

This border crossing (right)- alternately called Verkhny Lars (Russian) or Dariali (Georgian), is an interesting one, and fairly unusual for tourists to cross. Most people that travel to Georgia don't plan on going north to Russia- particularly not via this long, slow, complicated crossing. Tourists to the Northern Caucasus aren't that rare, but usually they fly in from Moscow. To see an American crossing the border into the Northern Caucasus by car is quite extraordinary. Thus, the border patrol agents were particularly enthusiastic in my questioning.

On the way to Russia, a cute little blonde woman in plain clothes (sign of FSB) came and asked us questions while we sat in the car. It was clear that we were a rag-tag group of walkers who had just piled into a random car to get through the border, which is why I think they questioned us. It's not illegal, but maybe unusual enough to warrant individual questioning. I think if they had realized I was American sooner they probably would have pulled me out of the car, but I kept it on the DL so we got to stay seated. She was just so curious about my life! And thought I was so interesting! She chatted with me like an old girlfriend catching up and I played the part. Gushing about how interested I am in Russia and the former Soviet Union, how I'm traveling to practice my Russian, and NOT how I was working for the Parliament of Georgia...

here is a forbidden shot I took of the border entry to Russia

 The way back into Georgia was not quite as simple. 
 
basically me

So it's Monday morning, and as the sun moves higher across the sky my seat mate's fleshy arm gets stickier by the minute, and the Ossetian Kim Kardashian-wannabe in the front seat raises the octave of her screeches. 

The border crossing process is as such: drive up to the line of cars (I think we waited about 30 minutes), eventually reach the little station where passengers disembark and shuffle through the passport check window, get back in the car on the other side of the station, drive through no-man's land to the Georgian border station, passengers disembark, go inside, and get their passports checked and stamped, get back in your car on the other side, drive to your destination!

It was around step 3 where things got interesting. When I reached the passport check window, the guy took one look at my passport and picked up the phone,
"Just a minute, someone will come"
"Okay..."
The phone rings, rings, no answer. 
"We'll wait a minute." 
He waved the next few people through, and tried the phone again. About 5 minutes later, a small young man in jeans and a white and green polo rounds the corner. 
"Please come with me," he says in stuttering English, I suggest we speak Russian, because I need the practice, and he gratefully agrees. The FSB agent (I'm like 95% sure he was FSB- Russia's internal intelligence service) led me up three flights of stairs to a cramped office. The one floor-level window was covered up with black tarp and duct tape. I sank into a springless couch, and my agent opened an enormous notebook full of pencil scribbles. As I answered his questions, he took notes- I saw he had written "Florida," my place of birth, which I found particularly odd since he had already made a copy of my passport. There was a big copier in the room, but no computer. I wonder if they ever transfer the notes to an electronic database. I wonder if they share information about the individuals unique or unlucky enough to receive this special treatment...
I can totally do that

He asked me the basic questions- what I'm studying, why I was in Russia, why I was in Georgia. He asked me about my family- was my dad a police officer? 

Then he closed the notebook. I guess the official interrogation was over, but then he asked, "so tell me the truth, what's America really like? I see it on TV and in the movies, but I don't believe it."
He wanted me to tell him it's all lies- that America is a land of evil, suffering, and unhappiness rather than the playful bounty the media portrays. While of course, it's not all like on TV, I couldn't tell him what he wanted to hear. Of course there is poverty, there is frivolity and selfishness and vanity, but that's not particular to America by any stretch. For the most part, life in America is really good- especially compared to the modest, rural, regulated life I knew this guy was living.
He told me he dreamed of traveling the world, but he couldn't because of his job (another hint he was FSB- they're not allowed to leave the country). I asked why he would pick a job that basically cut him off from his dream, 
"I'm a patriot," he said
"Well I'm a patriot too! I love my country, my homeland, but that doesn't mean I should never leave it. I can serve my country in many ways."
He was beginning to get defensive, "Russia is a big country, there is still lots to see here. I will ask for my next assignment to be stationed in the Far East, or maybe Arkhangelsk." 
Our eyes met in contemplative silence, our world views locked in fundamental opposition. 
My kind of spy
Suddenly the door banged open and four or five laughing boys in blue border guard uniforms tumbled into the room. When they saw me, they froze in silence- I guess my FSB agent didn't often have guests. I flashed them my flirtiest and most American smile, and they relaxed. My agent gave them my passport and they passed it around, incredulous that I needed a visa to go to Azerbaijan. My agent instructed them to escort me back to my taxi, and we parted unceremoniously. I wish I could talk to that agent again, I wish I could find him and talk more about our lives, our divergent paths...but I don't even remember his first name. He's probably been reassigned by now. He wouldn't want to be found anyway. 

In the stairwell with the boys in blue we ran into their boss and they all saluted. At the back of the gaggle I had the impulse to imitate their formality and gave a little mini-salute, referring to my AFROTC days. 
I'm potentially a total bad ass
My taxi driver and fellow passengers were indeed quite pissed at the delay I had caused, but I was angry at them too for being major jerk-faces, so I did not care and resumed my "holier than thou," crossed arms, pursed lips, pretending I'm not sweating like a pig attitude for the remainder of the trip to Kazbegi.
 
people waiting inside the welcoming, air conditioned,
WI-fi enabled Georgian border facility
Unfortunately I didn't risk taking any pictures of the Russian crossing station- they were very strict and I was already being carefully watched. My taxi driver actually came to check on me as the FSB agent led me away (not out of concern for me, but out of concern that the other passengers would get angry having to wait). When the FSB agent saw my taxi driver with his cellphone out he started shouting at him, pointing to the liberally distributed "no cellphones" signs, and actually took the phone out of his hand to check his call log...

Part 1: The Wedding I didn't Attend
Part 2: The Shared Taxi from Hell


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Shared Taxi from Hell

So, I eventually extricated myself from Vladikavkaz

On Monday morning bright and early I packed my bags up and headed to the train station to catch the earliest possible ride back to Georgia. I found a taxi driver who offered to take me, but he said if we waited a bit, he could get some passengers coming off the train to share the taxi and the cost. 
 
the demon taxi itself


Everything went wrong...
  • The train wasn't arriving for half an hour, so I decided to walk to a famous pirogi place. Unfortunately, when I got there, they had just opened and didn't have any pirogis ready, so I placed an order and returned to the taxi. The driver agreed to swing by and pick up my pirogis, but we were still waiting for more passengers...
  • The first girl we picked up was big, dark hair teased up into a hair sprayed, plasticky cloud, 4-inch platform heels, and the screechiest voice imaginable. She basically screamed into her cell phone in Ossetian-Georgian the whole ride.
  • Then an older woman joined us. Normal enough, but she indulged the first girl and soon they were screaming together, along with the driver. 
  • I somehow got sandwiched into the back middle seat, between old screamer and our final passenger (who we picked up on route to the pirogi place, an hour and a half later)
  • The enormous, sweaty guy squeezed in next to me has one really long pinky nail. I am going to vomit. He's wearing jorts, a wife beater, and a cross body man purse.
 best pirogi shop in Vladikavkaz

Everyone is speaking an unintelligible mix of Ossetian, Georgian, and Russian. I initially made my dissatisfaction quite clear- I yelled at the driver because we were much later than we were supposed to be, I was hungry and worried about losing my pirogi, I knew he was over-charging me (he barely lowered the price at all when we added 3 more people to the car), and I was extremely uncomfortable...so I put on my most angry, sour face, crossed my arms, and scowled for the entirety of the ride, so for once no one talked to me...


So, no one knew I was American.
Joke's on those jerks when they found out that meant an extra hour at the border crossing hahahahahahahahahaaaha f*ck those guys.
Read the story of my FSB interrogation here!

Eventually we made it to Kazbegi. I didn't pay the taxi driver the full amount because he was a total jerk, I refused to be over-charged by that obscene amount, and I visibly saw the other passengers pay less. 

At least I got my pirogi.

mmmm tsaharadjin

The Wedding I Didn't Attend

I think Russia didn't want me to leave...but I had to go back to work. I was faced with a series of obstacles that kept me away from Tbilisi an extra 2 days- here is the story of one of those obstacles.

Original Plan
Leave Tbilisi July 22nd --> spend one night in Kazbegi
Enter Russia July 23rd
Leave Russia Sunday July 26th --> back in Tbilisi that night
Back to work Monday July 27th


So it's Saturday night, and I'm back in Vladikavkaz. While in Grozny, I met Ibragim (who offered me a job at his language school!), who happened to be visiting friends in Vladikavkaz that evening anyway, so we shared a taxi there. The taxi driver was his friend, so when we arrived we all got dinner together. After dinner, we went our separate ways. As my last night in Russia, I didn't want to go home quite yet. I decided to just stroll around the downtown pedestrian area, soaking up the nighttime atmosphere. I found myself standing on a street corner around midnight, as the bars and restaurants were closing, and young people poured out onto the sidewalks- lingering, saying slow goodbyes, trying to squeeze out the last drops of their Saturday night. Suddenly, a man called out to me from inside a car "девушка!" (girl), in typical Caucasian fashion. At first I ignored him, but eventually walked over to see what he wanted. He asked me if I needed any help, since apparently I looked lost and/or confused. I explained I was just people watching, and once he heard my accent he became really interested in me. Every time I tried to walk away (I was standing outside his car, talking to him through the window), Zaurbek reeled me back in "wait, one more question!" We talked in this way for about 30 minutes, and then I agreed to go get a drink with him.
I hopped in his fancy SUV with South Ossetian plates and we cruised around the town for a bit. He pointed out different places "that's the most exclusive club in the city," "that's where my mom works," "that's my favorite pizza place"...

We ended up at one of the only bars that was open, where we chatted over glasses of so-called Georgian wine (that was extremely disappointing compared to wine actually from Georgia) and a big bowl of french fries. It was awesome!
Around 1:30 in the morning, his phone rings. It's one of his friends calling to remind them that there's a wedding tomorrow that they're supposed to attend. "Do you want to come?" he asks me. All evening he had been trying to get me to stay another day in Vladikavkaz, but I kept explaining that I had to be at work on Monday and I needed to leave tomorrow, but now that this wedding was on the table...I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see my first Russian wedding- and a Caucasian one at that! So I agreed.

The next day I spent the morning shopping for a dress to wear to the wedding. I had no idea what kind of thing people wear to weddings in Ossetia, so I was texting Zaurbek for advice, but, being a typical boy he was absolutely unhelpful, and asking the shop girls to evaluate my choices. In the end I found the perfect dress:
As you may notice, I am not at a wedding...
When Zaurbek came to pick me up from my hotel with two of his friends, I immediately knew things weren't going to go as plans. Instead of getting in the car and going, everyone got out of the car to have a smoke and deliberate our plan. I seemed to be the only one enthused about the wedding...the boys weren't convinced the wedding would be fun.

In the end, we ended up skipping the wedding. They instead proposed a trip into the mountains- but not the really pretty mountains that were too far away, just some smaller, less nice mountains. I was wringing my hands, regretting my decision to stay the extra day in Vladikavkaz for nothing. We just drove around, apparently aimlessly, looking for corn (??) and beer. It started sprinkling and I thought for sure our mountain picnic plans were dashed. Instead, we waited out the rain in someone's brother's little cigarette shop for half an hour before forging ahead.

In the end, it turned out amazingly, and I'm so glad I stayed!
Originally I planned to leave by 4 pm so I could get the last marshrutka back to Kazbegi, but we were having a such a good time in the mountains that I decided to just go back in the morning. I can't even imagine what the bigger/better/further mountains must be like. The place we were was absolutely gorgeous: sharp W's of green-faced rocks, clumps of pale yellow and purple flowers, twisting pebble-strewn roads. On the way up we passed an ancient family watch tower- one of the most famous symbols of the Caucasus.
watch tower
The boys turned out to be so cool:
Zaurbek is a former professional freestyle wrestler- he went to the Olympics and was the world champion in 2009!
Vadim is a young, handsome dentist who apparently the ladies love because dentistry is a very lucrative field in North Ossetia!
Soso is playful, a big joker, who brought homemade beer!
L to R: Soso, Vadim, Zaurbek
We danced to Beyonce and enjoyed beer and chips on the hood of Zaurbek's car.
Also saw a relative of Princess Diana, apparently...

mountains!
 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Бригада / Brigada

There is this TV mini-series called Brigada. If you're Russian or Georgian, you already know this. If you're American, you probably haven't heard of it and you're missing out.
Every episode is on YouTube with English subtitles! If you're curious, start here.


Brigada is set in Russia in the 90s. The most traumatic, chaotic, lawless, wild, and tumultuous time in most people from the former Soviet Union's memory. The 90s were the Wild West, and the majority of people suffered greatly with the economy in shreds- savings lost, store shelves empty- and the Soviet dream of a better, cooperative, Communist world shattered. There were some, however, who capitalized on the chaos, who got lucky and took advantage of the situation. They learned the rules of the new system and quickly rose to the top- the oligarchs. Underpinning this thin uppercrust of new Russian society was a world of crime, drugs, dirty politics, and corrupt institutions which the oligarchs crawled out of. Brigada is the story of a brigade of young men who attempt to make lives for themselves in this world.


This story resonates deeply with young people in the former USSR. Mostly people who were kids in the 90s, watching their parents suffer and growing up with next to nothing. This was the time of bread lines, neighbors pooling money to buy meat and sharing it in outdoor barbecues, days without electricity or water. The story told in Brigada shows kids just like them finding success in the suffering, getting themselves and their families out of poverty by any means necessary. Also, friendship in Georgia is incredibly deep. It's a small country, and even in Tbilisi most people grow up in small, tight-knit communities. In the 90s, people bonded beyond blood. Brotherhood is a particularly stirring concept to behold, and Brigada expresses this "ride or die" (as we say in America) sentiment very well. Of course, the characters in the show are also cool as f*ck. They ride around in fancy cars, have the nicest clothes, casually amass arsenals of weapons, get all the hottest girls, and are immensely respected within the criminal gang hierarchy. The show has experienced something of a revival in popularity recently with the economic crisis- what 15 year old boy doesn't dream of trading in his parents' economic woes for the glamour and adrenaline of organized crime? 

Anyway...I love this show. I romanticize the post-Soviet 90s because I never experienced that suffering myself. I know it's a useless and perhaps even harmful romanticization of a painful period,  but I can't help it- Brigada rocks. 

Everyone should watch it! (here's that link again

and if you do get through it, check out some of my very random thoughts below

Caution- spoilers after the break!






  • I notice some product placement: Visine, Marlboro
  • Why is Sasha the only one married...?
  • We didn't even find out people's real names until episode 6
  • Why is there not even one female gangster? I think it would make sense and add dynamism
  • That baby would be my age now...
  • Farikkkkkkkkkkkkk   nooooooooooooo
  • Whoa, what happened to Arthur? They took his office and his secretary lol


Faces of Georgia

What does a "Georgian" person look like?

Dark and swarthy, bearded? Slim and blonde? Turquoise eyes and black hair? A low, heavy brow and broad shoulders? Ginger?

Yes.

The thing is, "Georgian" as an ethnic group is a rather newly accepted idea. For most of Georgia's history, really until Russians came in and tried to simplify things for bureaucratic purposes, Georgians from different parts of the country were more separated (due to undeveloped transportation systems and mountainous terrain), and thus ethnic heritages remained distinct.

This can be kind of a touchy subject, as the idea of these sub-Georgian ethnicities is a big part of the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia (remember the Russian-Georgian War of August 2008? Yeah, that.)

Overall, Georgians tend to know their family's ethnic background, but don't regularly identify with it or discriminate between the ethnic groups. Sometimes last names or certain physical features can give away ethnic origin, but not always. In my unscientific pursuit of science, I have

1) Found this little chart of sub-Georgian ethnic groups

2) Conducted informal interviews with a random-ish sample of Georgians.


Below are my findings:

NameName in GeorgianGeographical regionDialect or Language
Imeretiansიმერელი imereliImeretiImeretian dialect
Kartliansქართლელი kartleliKartliKartlian dialect
Megreliansმეგრელი megreliSamegreloMegrelian language
Svansსვანი svaniSvanetiSvan language
Guriansგურული guruliGuriaGurian dialect
Adjariansაჭარელი achareliAdjaraAdjarian dialect
Meskhetiansმესხი meskhiMeskheti (Samtskhe)Meskhian dialect
Lechkhumiansლეჩხუმელი lechkhumeliLechkhumiLechkhumian dialect
Rachiansრაჭველი rachveliRachaRachian dialect
Kakhetiansკახელი kakheliKakhetiKakhetian dialect
Khevsuriansხევსური khevsuriKhevsuretiKhevsurian dialect
Tushsთუში tushiTushetiTushetian dialect
Pshaviansფშაველი pshaveliPshaviPshavian dialect
Mokheviansმოხევე mokheveKheviMokhevian dialect
Javakhiansჯავახი javakhiJavakhetiJavakhian dialect
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgians#Geographic_subdivisions_and_subethnic_groups

Within these groups, there are further subdivisions that are noted if they appear in my field study.

I recorded the participant's name, their eye/hair color (some of the pictures aren't that clear, but the text is correct), and their ethnic region of origin.
One glaring oversight from the study is Mokheve people...these mountain people are one of the more "pure" ethnic lineages, and I have so many Mokheve friends that it would have been easy to get photos, I just forgot... It's a real shame too because there are some gorgeous people up there. I promise I'll update! Hopefully I'll get out to Svaneti soon too and sample them.

One last thing! Notice that within this sampling of only 21 people, 5 of them have widow's peaks! I know that a widow's peak is genetic, and I think it's common within the entire nation of Georgians.  

Hopefully this project page will be regularly updated as I gather more data! You know, for science  ;) 


Tornike.
Brown eyes, brown hair.
Guria.

Irakli.
Light blue eyes, red hair and gingy complexion.
Guria.

(claims the red hair comes from having one Russian grandmother)

Tornike.
Brown eyes, sandy brown hair.
Kartli.
Tornike.
Green-grey eyes, brown hair.
Kartli.

Akhsartag.
Dark brown eyes, black hair.
South Ossetia (not technically Georgian).


 Nino.
Brown eyes, light brown hair.
Imereti.

Giorgi.
Brown eyes, brown hair.
Imereti.
Tatia.
Brown eyes, brown hair.
Imereti.
Giorgi.
Hazel eyes, black hair.
Imereti.
Zurab.
Light blue eyes, light brown hair.
Imereti, Kakheti.


Nika.
Light brown eyes, red-brown hair, freckles.
Racha.

Lasha.
Brown eyes, brown hair.
Racha.
Dato(?)
Brown eyes, dark brown hair.
Borjomi
Zura.
Grey-green eyes, light brown hair.
Samegrelo.


Parnavaz.
Brown eyes, brown hair.
Kakheti.
Nina.
Green/hazel eyes, brown hair.
Kakheti
Tornike.
Pale blue eyes, light brown hair.
Kakheti.
Goga.
Dark brown eyes, brown hair.
Kakheti.
Giorgi.
Dark brown eyes, dark brown hair.
Kakheti.
Emzari.
Pale blue eyes, light brown hair.
Kakheti.
Vako.
Blue eyes, red-brown hair.
Lechkhumi.
Bonus!
Brown eyes, dark brown hair.
Forgot to write down his name or heritage but he works at my
favorite wine shop in Tbilisi, so I'm sure I'll see him again!

For more on Georgian men specifically, check out my outrageous expose...


Can't get enough of these gorgeous people? 
This video showcases supposedly the most beautiful Georgian men...
and this video the most beautiful Georgian women...