Amazingly democratic republic of Georgia!

On our walk through the neighborhood today the tall person told me about the Parliamentary elections that were held in Georgia on 1 October.

He said that the opposition Georgian Dream Coalition won the elections with 55% of the vote, whilst the governing United National Movement received 40% of the vote.

The peaceful transition of power was acknowledged by the international community.

In Washington a spokesman for President Obama said:

“The United States congratulates the people of Georgia for the successful completion of yesterday’s parliamentary elections, and the achievement of another milestone in Georgia’s democratic development. Georgian citizens have set a regional and global example by conducting a competitive campaign, freely exercising their democratic rights, and affirming their commitment to undertake a peaceful transfer of power.”

Wow, I think we need to promote this achievement!

The end of donkey ballooning in Tbilisi

If you expect to come to Georgia and go hot air ballooning with a donkey you will be disappointed. However, visitors who came to Georgia in the 19th century were able to go flying with donkey aviators.

The tall person told me that that the first hot air balloon flight in Georgia was undertaken by a French balloonist called Bede on 10 November, 1882. Bede rose into the air in a Montgolfier balloon from Mushtaidi Gardens in Tiflis (old name of Tbilisi) and reached a height of 200-300 meters.

The Frenchman went on to carry out several flights in Tiflis, including one in which he was accompanied by a donkey!

Advertisement for Bede’s Mongolfier balloon flight

Ten years later, in Tiflis, balloonist Ogust Gordon took a donkey up into the air with him. During the flight he mounted the animal, which became frightened and began braying.

Advertisement for balloonist Ogust Gordon’s flight in a silk balloon from Junker Square

Inspired by Ogust Gordon, Tiflis businessmen Poladov, Gumiashvili, and Bakradze decided to organize commercial ballooning in the capital. They offered hot air balloon rides, in the company of a donkey, in Alexandrov Gardens but no one was willing to fly in the balloon and the donkey was sent up on its own. The balloon came down in Avlabari near Metekhi Castle. When the businessmen got there they found that the basket was empty and the donkey had been stolen.

This put an end to Georgian commercial ballooning for more than one hundred years (and donkey ballooning forever).

Source and illustrations: Georgian Ballooning Open

Alien abduction in Tbilisi

On my walk through the neighborhood this morning I found this.

Yes. Clothes with no people inside them. Irrefutable evidence of alien abduction.

I pointed it out to the tall person and he smiled and told me that we could be witnesses to a close encounter of the fourth kind – when a human is abducted by a UFO or its occupants. He explained that a system of classification of alien encounters was started by UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek. The public became aware of Hynek’s classification when it informed elements of the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which is named after the third level of encounters. Hynek himself makes a cameo appearance near the end of the film.

Hmm, I am not happy that aliens are stealing my neighbors.

I was even more alarmed when I got home and saw this.

Little person’s trousers but no little person.

I was immediately concerned that E.T. had stolen my little person and began looking for him. I only calmed down when the tall person told me that De had washed the little person’s trousers and he was safe at school.

Phew! It just goes to show how easy it is to blame aliens for unexplained things.

Anyway, it’s wet and windy today – I hope the little person doesn’t catch cold without his trousers.

Bringing home the bacon

The tall person told me that there are a lot of pigs in the villages in the Georgian countryside. They wander everywhere and sometimes stray into the road and cause a traffic jam.

He said that seeing them wandering by the side of the road reminded him of the phrase “bring home the bacon.” He explained that in the twelfth century, a church in the English town of Dunmow promised a side of bacon to any married man who could swear before the congregation and God that he had not quarreled with his wife for a year and a day. A husband who could bring home the bacon was held in high esteem by the community for his forbearance.

Hmm, this pig is certainly bringing home the bacon.

Giant pumpkin grown in Tbilisi!

Tall person planted pumpkin seeds earlier this year and today I watched him harvest his ‘crop’.

I asked him if the use of the word “crop” was appropriate when referring to a single vegetable but he didn’t reply.

Anyway, I know he is immensely proud of his giant pumpkin and I must admit it does look very impressive.

To show you how gigantic this pumpkin is I photographed it next to a gigantic lemon.

I am sure that the tall person will be very pleased that I have shared his giant pumpkin with the world.