Following our nine-hour adventure from Iprali, Robin and I were ready to drop our bags and take a nap—the long-past splash of vodka after triumphantly crossing the river not helping keep us awake.
We were hardly in the rumble-tumble ragtag village of Adishi when we were welcomed by Elizabeth, a young Svan woman who manages her family’s guesthouse, which more than any other home we’ve visited really felt like someone’s cozy home that happened to have some spare beds.
But before we could see the house, we were instructed to sit down on a bench in the sun with a view of the vast, green hillside.
“We have lost several of our sheep. They are somewhere on the hill.” The three of us sat in silence for a while and I thought I’d spotted one on a ridge. I took a photo of the speck and, zooming in on the LCD monitor, identified it as one of the missing ewes. Elizabeth delighted in this and, not hiding her smile, told us that we were very clever. And with that, she escorted us into her home.
Elizabeth immediately brewed us up some Turkish coffee as we voraciously photographed a house that was a living museum of still lifes and geometry-rich, Crayola corridors.
We spent an inordinate amount of time photographing me (but is that really possible?) in my blue shirt against the blue wall below the drying pig carcass. In turn, I spent a long while watching the youngest son tend to the livestock (photo at top)—cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and one badass Caucasian shepherd (the dog, not some old dude with a crook).
After I returned from a brief dusk stroll, I found Robin with an adoring Elizabeth and her brothers, sister, and father going through her complete photos from the day.
Beside a raging wood stove, the sister stirred a cauldron of matsoni (or was it just milk?) as two brothers peered over my shoulder to view my photos of Adishi, often debating where in town certain images were snapped. Really? The town has maybe two dozen houses and one winding road; I’m not sure how difficult this should be.
Ever-kind Elizabeth labored to make sure we were comfortable and charmingly asked if we liked to dance. It seemed a loaded question but I couldn’t really see how, despite the TV in the corner showing off obscure English-language rappers who only get airtime overseas.
“Sure, yes, I like to dance.”
“When my father goes to bed we can make disco,” she replied.
Despite the tempting offer, Robin and opted not to Wang Chung tonight and instead hit the sack around 11. And, when I say sack, I think I might actually be sleeping on a twin bed with a sack of potatoes for a mattress. But a clean sack of potatoes, so it’s all good.
See my complete collection of Svaneti photos on Flickr.