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Opportunistic vs. Hospitable

September 8th, 2009 peretz Leave a comment Go to comments
opportunistic vs. hospitable
When we asked him where we could get “good local wine” Omar, the taxi driver offered to take us if we pay him a dollar since we wouldn’t otherwise find it and he needs to leave his taxi post on our behalf.  We agree, and we follow him for not more than a few blocks.  He gets out of the car, rings a bell on an iron gate, and says “here it is.”
The lights were out and it seemed like no one was inside,
but behold, an elderly gentleman, Anzor, with a melancholy gaze
and a silver crown emerged from the dark and invited us to his basement.
He talked to us at a methodical pace as he syphoned out wine from large glass jars into plastic bottles.  Yes, he grew the grapes himself. They
came from a vinyard of 300 plants that has been in his family for
generations.  Most of the village came to him for wine. He built this house himself.  He had the aura of someone honest, pious, and hardworking.
His wife was Russian.  He likes visitors and travellers.  Turns out his son lives with his family in Minisota.
He handed us 2L of purple, velvety georgian wine from (fill in) grapes both semi sweet and dry and another liter of white wine that is fermented like red wine, with the skin still on the grapes leaving the tannins, and tastes very unusual for a white.
And this — presumably the wine, the company, the tour of the basement, the conversation — he said, is my gift.  Please enjoy my wine, and have a safe voyage, wherever it takes you.  He declined our entrities to pay, and so were left with accepting his genuine and hostpitable gesture.
We took our wine to dinner at a place without a menu where they ask you want you want, and assist you in ordering the two dishes they do have.  The food was served in the courtyard by a mossy brook. The staff asked us to pay and went home, telling us to just leave the plates on the table until tomorrow.
It was not long that we were alone.  A man of crooked and wabbly stature walked in probed a door in the corner, proded along with his cane, mumbling things all the while.  He was followed by a more respectably dressed and smelling gentleman, who wandered over to our table, and looked more puzzled by us than the guy mumbling and peeing in the corner.
I offered him some wine.  He declined, “I do not drink.  I just came here for some tea and company, but they are gone.”  He sat down, reached over and put an empty glass in front of himself.  I offered juice then water.  He declined both.  He seemed as if he was expecting something, so I decided to fill his glass with wine anyhow.  Then he came alive, patted me on the head and said, “good boy.”  Turned out he was the local village police officer during Soviet times and the man in the corner was just “a lunatic joker that respects me since I never arrested him.”  When the guy was done peeing, he made a mock salute.  ”Sometimes the dumb are the wise,” said the ex-police officer who doesn’t drink and downed his glass. After this, he spent the rest of the evening with us, making toasts, pattering endlessly, all of which I was translating in real time for Tristan and Hari.  The toasts ranged from world peace, to Georgian Russian relations, to all that have fallen, to his mother, (from whose grave he just returned and to whom he kept on lighting small candles which kept on going out), to friendship (for which he entreated each of us to light a candle and craddle it), and then he switched gears and started toasting to Stalin, the great man from Georgia who is globally misunderstood and underappreciated.  He climed into our car when we finished.  We passed his house on Lenin street, but while he pointed at it, he insisited on riding with us to the campground.  The park rangers eventually peeled him off from us, threatening to kick his ass (and other such nice things) but not before I gave him a whole sheet of paper with an endless but false list of contact details.  We sped by house #87 Lenin Street and looked the other way when driving by the following day.
I saw the crazy man in the market the following day, and when I aimed my camera to take a picture of him, he lunged his cane at me.  It turned out to be brass and quite heavy, which was both a good and bad thing.  It didn’t fly as he had intended, but bounced before hurting my shin and ankle.

When we asked him where we could get “good local wine” Omar, the taxi driver offered to take us if we pay him a dollar since we wouldn’t otherwise find it and he needs to leave his taxi post on our behalf.  We agree, and we follow him for not more than a few blocks.  He gets out of the car, rings a bell on an iron gate, and says “here it is.”

The lights were out and it seemed like no one was inside, but behold, an elderly gentleman, Anzor, with a melancholy gaze and a silver crown emerged from the dark and invited us to his basement.

He talked to us at a methodical pace as he syphoned out wine from large glass jars into plastic bottles.  Yes, he grew the grapes himself. They came from a vinyard of 300 plants that has been in his family for generations.  Most of the village came to him for wine. He built this house himself.  He had the aura of someone honest, pious, and hardworking.

His wife was Russian.  He likes visitors and travellers.  Turns out his son lives with his family in Minisota.

He handed us 2L of purple, velvety georgian Saperavi wine good for life extension both semi sweet and dry and another liter of white wine that is fermented like red wine, with the skin still on the grapes leaving the tannins, and tastes very unusual for a white.Anzor - Homemade Wine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgian_wine (my link embeddin pluggin crapped out now, so accept it like this and there is lots of interesting stuff there.)

“And this” — presumably the wine, the company, the tour of the basement, the conversation — he said, “is my gift.”  Please enjoy my wine, and have a safe voyage, wherever it takes you.  He declined our entrities to pay, and so were left with accepting his genuine and hostpitable gesture.

We took our wine to dinner at a place without a menu where they ask you want you want, and assist you in ordering the two dishes they do have.  The food was served in the courtyard by a mossy brook. The staff asked us to pay and went home, telling us to just leave the plates on the table until tomorrow.

It was not long that we were alone.  A man of crooked and wabbly stature walked in probed a door in the corner, proded along with his cane, mumbling things all the while.  He was followed by a more respectably dressed and smelling gentleman, who wandered over to our table, and looked more puzzled by us than the guy mumbling and peeing in the corner.

I offered him some wine.  He declined, “I do not drink.  I just came here for some tea and company, but they are gone.”  He sat down, reached over and put an empty glass in front of himself.  I offered juice then water.  He declined both.  He seemed as if he was expecting something, so I decided to fill his glass with wine anyhow.  Then he came alive, patted me on the head and said, “good boy.”  Turned out he was the local village police officer during Soviet times and the man in the corner was just “a lunatic joker that respects me since I never arrested him.”  When the guy was done peeing, he made a mock salute.  ”Sometimes the dumb are the wise,” said the ex-police officer who doesn’t drink and downed his glass. After this, he spent the rest of the evening with us, making toasts, pattering endlessly, all of which I was translating in real time for Tristan and Hari.  The toasts ranged from world peace, to Georgian Russian relations, to all that have fallen, to his mother, (from whose grave he just returned and to whom he kept on lighting small candles which kept on going out), to friendship (for which he entreated each of us to light a candle and craddle it), and then he switched gears and started toasting to Stalin, the great man from Georgia who is globally misunderstood and underappreciated.  He climed into our car when we finished.  We passed his house on Lenin street, but while he pointed at it, he insisited on riding with us to the campground.  The park rangers eventually peeled him off from us, threatening to kick his ass (and other such nice things) but not before I gave him a whole sheet of paper with an endless but false list of contact details.  We sped by house #87 Lenin Street and looked the other way when driving by the following day.

I saw the crazy man in the market the following day, and when I aimed my camera to take a picture of him, he lunged his cane at me.  It turned out to be brass and quite heavy, which was both a good and bad thing.  It didn’t fly as he had intended, but bounced before hurting my shin and ankle.

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  • Agil

    The elderly man who gave you wine reminded me of my grandpa who also grew hisown grapes and made hisown wine and kept it in the same jars barried in the basement of his vineyard house in Bilgeh (outside of Baku)