Death

Two times I thought I was dead in the last two weeks:

1. Katie Sweeney and I tramped all over the country. The first day she flew in, we stayed in a cheap hotel in Batumi and saw the sights. We went to this awesome ancient Roman fortress called Gonio, but it was closed because it was sunday. So we wandered all the way around, searching for an alternate entrance. We found a lot of lemon trees and toothless georgians who told us to go to the “tsentri” and there would be a path inside. After looping through some more trees/cow poop/handmade barbed wire fences, we found some squarish cracks in the wall. We scaled them and then got to explore in inside of a beautiful beautiful ancient roman ruin. Excellent. We found a lot of old broken ceramic pipes and we swordfought with sticks. The next day, we took the midnight train to Tbilisi and did the walking tour with Christina—big glass bridge, big golden cathedral, big abandoned collapsed apartment buildings. We stayed at Old Town Hostel and met a Swedish social scientist (Bobby) and an absolutely insane Iranian guy (Bob). Bobby was studying Mingrelian minorities in Georgia, and Bob had come back, two years after his first visit, to find the beautiful woman who worked at this hostel during his first visit. She didn’t work there anymore. He cooked fish and potatoes for the guests anyways. The following morning, we marshutka’ed to Kutaisi to visit Anna and Laura.

The whole trip, I’m feeling steadily worse. During the train ride, I tossed in feverish dreams. During the walking tour I asked Christina and Katie “Oh, can we just, sit down here for awhile?” and I would just sit. I sat on the steps of Sameba. I sat near the abandoned collapsed apartment building. When we got to Kutaisi, I felt as if I were wandering through a perpetual dream. So, when we missed the last marshutka home from Kutaisi, Anna’s host mom took us in for the night and took my temperature. It was 39.7 C. For you anti-Celsiites, that’s a hundred and goddamned three.

Anna’s host mom, who is also a doctor, gave me many Russian cold and fever drugs. The following morning, she sent Solome down to the apothecary to pick up an IV bag and some more drugs.

“Whoa,” I said when Solo rolled back into the apartment. “I’m not doing this unless I know what it is.”

“It is ringer lactate!” she said. “Everyone is doing this! Is common. My mother is doctor, she will not want kill you. Please come.” I never imagined, ever, that I would have to use my phrase “tu sheidzleba, ikharet akhali shpritsi.” (Please, use a new needle.) Solo’s mom hung the IV bag on the doorhinge, put me on the couch, and affixed the needle into my veins with the assistance of packaging tape. She gave me many vitamins. I felt AWESOME. I highly recommend this. After that day, my fever went down and I have since been well. Was it strep? I do not know because I cannot speak georgian. 😦

2. This weekend we came down a mountain. I’d gone to Tbilisi to go skiing with some friends, like downhill skiing. I hadn’t been for a long time, and it was a blast, and cheap compared to downhilling in the states. Stephen’s host sister, who speaks perfect English, hired a marshutka for us to shuttle us up and down Gudauri. After an awesome day of skiing, we hopped back in to party in Tbilisi. They started driving like crazy people down these tiny mountain roads, doing 60 mph on winding roads, passing on blind corners, etc. It was terrifying. Also, it was snowing. Stephen and I would occasionally look out the window over at the ravine, some 4 feet to our right.

We finally got down the mountain and pulled into a dirt road which led to a small stone church. Tbilisi was still miles away. We all piled out, unsure of what was going on. Stephen’s host sister told us, “they wish to toast at the doors of the church. Also the would like to switch drivers, because our driver is drunk.” The three drivers reached underneath the front seats and pulled out a 2-liter coke bottle full of homemade wine. They cut a plastic waterbottle in half to make cups. We toasted to St. Giorgi.

 

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