From Gori we took a taxi to the ancient city of Uplistshike.
Here's how we got there:
We left the Stalin museum and a guy with a Barcelona soccer hat and brown teeth approached us. He had a sign hanging around his neck. The sign had a picture of a cave and said Uplisthshike. I still cannot pronounce this word, so luckily we could just point to his little sign instead. With the universal gesture of fingers rubbing against a thumb, which I guess represents rubbing your imaginary coins together, we asked him how much. He took out his cell phone and typed in 25. "Hmmm", I said, "twenty?" Despite our language barrier, he knew exactly what I was saying. He flashed his brown teeth in a smile and shook his head. "Oh no no", he said and pointed to the 25 on his phone again. "Twenty," Brian said, decisively. He smiled again and said "Okay," then led us to his car with threadbare upholstery and multiple air fresheners hanging from the rear view mirror.
The haggling is almost required, or at least expected. With a little bargaining, the tourist/customer shows that he/she is savvy and not to be swindled. The taxi driver/street vendor laughs to himself about how easy it is to swindle foreign tourists by letting them talk you down to a still-inflated price. In the end we pay eight bucks for two hours of the taxi driver's time and everyone feels very happy with themelves.
Uplistshike was one of Georgia's first cities. It was founded around 500 BC and thrived for the next 1500 years. It was all built into, on top of, and around a cluster of caves in the hillside. What you can visit today is just half of the city, and it has all been excavated in the last fifty years.
What will people in another thousand years uncover from our cities? What will last from our civilization? And what will the Earth even look like? This were my thoughts as we found our taxi driver. He stood patiently beside his car, waiting to take us back to the bus station.
- Thanks for coming to my blog. It started as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and now has become an ongoing project. I'm an American living in Germany and trying to travel whenever I can. I write about my experiences as an expatriate (the interesting ones and the embarrassing ones), and about my travels. There are some recurring characters in this blog, particularly my husband Brian and several of our friends. The title comes from the idea that living in a foreign country means making a lot of mistakes. So the things you used to do easily you now have to try over and over again. Hopefully, like me, you can laugh at how idiotic it feels. If you have happened upon my blog, then welcome. Knowing that people are reading what I write makes me keep going. Feel free to write comments or suggestions for future posts.