The Crossing

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”Tourist!“. After a lack of sleep from going by night train from Tbilisi to Zugdidi, the following short mashrutka ride to the Enguri river, a strange walk in sunrise to the Abkhazian border, a 50 minutes wait with about 30 others for the border to be opened and my passport to be checked, and an additional 40 minutes wait for the mashrukta from the border to Sukhumi to take off, it took a moment for me to understand, that it was me who was talked to. Although it was not the first time I got that name. When I showed my German passport to cross the border, the obese bald man from the border control asked: ”Tourist?”. ”Yes”, I answered. Apparently in this moment ‘Tourist’ with a trill became my Abkazian name. After this baptism the man waved me towards a loose cinema bench that leaned on the tiny border house. He moved the bench and leaned it against two thin porch roof pillars, beat off the dust and told me to sit and wait. He put his green-brownish uniform quickly back in order and then asked me first in Russian, then in English: ”where are you from?” I pointed at my passport in his hands and told him ”Germany”. ”What you want in Abkhazia?”. ”I want to see it, since it is supposed to be beautiful”, I told him. In the coming 40 minutes this conversation would repeat itself again and again with him, and different people from the control. All along I would be ”tourist”, when they eventually wanted me to step forward, tell them again why I am here, pick up my documents, tell them once more why I am here, open my backpack, and meanwhile explain why I am here, close it again with a comment on what I want in Abkhazia, and to welcome me to their country in the end after asking me, what I wanted here. The tall mashrutka driver with a couple of golden teeth who earlier said, he would leave to Sukhumi as soon as there are enough passengers, calling ”tourist!” now wanted me to get in the van. When I sat down a friendly looking old lady offered me one of her phones, so that I could make calls. She explained me that, neither Georgian, nor German SIM-Cards might work here. I refused with a big smile. Happy to make my first friendly contact with a local and I saw my chance to get some first impressions of the Abkhazian narrative. Her name was Manana, she was Megrelian and lived in Sukhumi after she moved from Gali. I tried to ask her about what she had done in Georgia, why she moved to Sukhumi and if she had to flee during the war. But she wasn’t too happy about answering these questions and I decided not ask any further in that direction. Instead I told her what I was doing here and where I was from. The typical small talk that I have several times a day and the only kind of conversation that I can have as if I would actually be fluent in Russian. This is my 8th week traveling the Southern Caucasus Region and although I have got an impression of its vast variety of people and landscapes, I have no idea what is lying ahead of me. I’ve got roughly six days.

აფხაზური დღიურები:

  1. Day#1-Abkhazia – Impressions of a break-away state [Photos]
  2.  Day#1 (2) Monument of post-war Abkhazia: Council of Ministers [Photos]
  3. Day #2 – Registration and First Tourist Encounter in Novi Afon [Photos]
  4. Day #3 Ritsa Lake – A Russian Bus Tour [Photos]
  5. Day #4 My Day Off [Photos]
  6. Day #5 Tkuarchal – Abandoned In The Mountains [Photos]

© Jan Fjornes

  • ბლოგ-პოსტში მოყვანილი მოსაზრება ეკუთვნის ავტორს და შეიძლება არ ასახავდეს JRC-ის პოზიციას.
  • “აფხაზური დღიურები” ჯამში მოიცავს 5 დღეს.
  • ბლოგ-პოსტები, ასევე ითარგმნება ქართულ ენაზე.

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