Cuttino's Georgian Life

A journal of my Peace Corps service in the Republic of Georgia, 2006-2008.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween and other bizarre happenings...

It was Halloween weekend here in Georgia and while Georgians don't celebrate the holiday, we Americans have made it an excuse to throw a large party. It has become a tradition to have the party here in Gori. So it's a nice break for the party to come to me for a change.

Things started off Friday night as volunteers began to work their way to Gori. I met up with a few for dinner at our favorite restaurant. On Friday nights, it seems that Orbi's Restaurant is filled with military men having supras. While under normal circumstances, this would be a sketchy prospect, in Georgia its a good deal...if there's one thing that drunk Georgian men love doing more than talking to Americans, its buying Americans drinks. So, by the end of the night we ended up with three pitchers of wine and three large servings of mitsvadi (grilled kebabs) compliments of some Georgian soldiers. The only catch was that the female volunteers at the table had to endure their flirting. Thanks for taking one for the team, ladies.

The main event of the weekend was the big costume party at the Intourist Hotel. The hotel the perfect setting for such an event--big and creepy, its former nineteenth-century grandeur is crumbling away one giant chunk at a time. The hotel is across the street from the Stalin's birthplace and his museum; I'm sure it hosted many a Politburo during the Stalinist glory days. We took over the entire hotel and since our group outnumbered the beds, the ladies who worked there were kind enough to line up a bunch of mattresses in the third floor foyer. The whole place looked a bit like a disaster shelter.

The costumes were all surprisingly good, considering there's not exactly a one-stop shop for costumes here in Georgia. A few people raided their local theater and the English teachers with a lot of time on their hands managed to sew whole costumes... A few volunteers took some inspiration from our current country--we had a marshutka driver, a Sakartvelo football fan, a walking Mono telephone card, and, of course, Joe Stalin. We had a group come as characters from "PasiĆ³n de gavilanes," the Spanish soap opera that is all the rage here (we've nicknamed the show "Sexy Cowboy Ranch"). The Intourist staff seemed quite amused with the parade of Americans dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sgt. Pepper, the cast of "Arrested Development," a gypsy, Kim Jong Il, pirates and rednecks. My own costume, I'm sorry to say, was a letdown. I gave up on my original idea when I couldn't find face paint. In a last-minute effort, I threw on a plaid jacket and a red hat and called myself a lumberjack.

Here's a picture, I will post the rest on Flickr:

I'm going to continue educating Georgians about the joy of Halloween tomorrow when I carve pumpkins with the kids at Biliki. Should be a good time. Take care and happy Halloween!


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