Two Sides of Tbilisi

When we last left our intrepid explorers, they were just rallying to go out on the town with their fearless local guide, Koba.  He brought them to a fancy-schmancy club called “Two Side” down in Old Tbilisi near the river.  Tbilisi has a lot of poor regions.  The area I live in, while certainly not poor, is a conglomeration of crumbly Soviet-era apartment buildings.  The other side of Tbilisi is extravagantly wealthy.  We spent the night on that side of Tbilisi.

Koba knew the guy who owned the band and was able to get us in without paying a cover charge.  What’s more, apparently this club doesn’t let people in under 25, so Koba just lied and said all three of us were, in fact, 25.

Two Sides had a live band playing really awesome music. They were doing all sorts of cover tunes and jazzing them up. It sounded phenomenal! The singing was great as well; the singers' English was unaccented, too!

Koba was thrilled to have brought us here and eagerly did his best to show us a good time.  He bought us pizza (sans mayonnaise!), french fries (deliciously crispy!), vodka (a very good brand), and pineapple juice (my favorite since childhood!) and insisted on being the toastmaster.  Koba makes an excellent toastmaster, though he likes to pour our shots a little big.  Nonetheless, he’s an excellent host and a fantastic guide.  It’s good to have friends in high places!

This all really hit the spot. And the pizza was quite good! I shudder to think how much it cost--a single glass of pineapple juice was 4 lari, so I know we're talking big bucks here.

The club was really loud, but really fun!  Something new and different was a lack of creepy men.  That was great because the girls didn’t have to worry about getting accosted and I didn’t have to play patroni all night, but could instead relax and enjoy myself, too!  Before long, we started hearing some familiar tunes coming out of the band.  At first we couldn’t quite place it, but after a moment or so we realized the band was playing a Boney M. medley!  I could not have dreamed of a better moment!

"Ra ra Rasputin!" (Tragically, Rasputin was not a part of the medley, but nonetheless, we phoned Pauli to shout blindly into the reciever that we were at a swanky club listening to a LIVE Boney M. medley! He understood our passion, more than anyone else could have.)

Koba constantly dragged us onto/encouraged us to hit the dance floor.  It was a blast!  And things only got better when Ilya showed up with his friend Shota!

Babychild Killer sure knows how to cut a rug! He's here to teach us how it's done!

The club was extremely crowded, which always made it hard to find a suitable spot to dance.  We continually bumped asses with strangers and dodged waitresses spinning about the room with a tower of beverages suspended above their heads, hopefully avoiding the reach of dancers’ flailing elbows.  The temperature rose and soon we were sweating up a storm as we danced endlessly to a mix of live music and a DJ’s playlist (also awesome, though not quite as perfect as the live band).  The DJ had some great hits, including The Beatles’ Twist and Shout, lots of other classic rock, great tracks from the 1990s, and some fabulous Russian techno.  It was all very well mixed, making for an entertaining night!

This is one of Koba's patented dance moves. What's missing from this photograph is the motion of it. What you do is you put one hand on your head and extend your other arm. While you make "come hither" hands with your extended arm, your use your other hand to tap your fingers against the top of your head/forehead. After a measure or two of music, you switch hands and point your other shoulder forward. It's damn sexy, if I may say so myself.

The night flew by.  We had planned to stay for only an hour or so before ditching to meet up with a bunch of other friends who were in town for the night.  Instead we stuck it out at Two Side for over two hours.  Ilya’s arrival certainly extended our tenure at Two Side as his dancefloor antics are unmissable.

Amazing, right?

A few dragons were even spotted at the club!

I don't know what Ilya has done to awaken the dragon in me, but I sure look enraged! Koba is oblivious to the transformation taking place right beside him.
Ilya seems to be saluting the dragons.

By this point we had had a lot to drink throughout the day but we weren’t feeling it terribly.  Koba had been extremely generous with us and Ilya and Shota had been entertaining us for the better part of an hour.  Marissa and I decided to kill the dregs of a few bottles of alcohol by arm-linking drinking them.

A terribly unflattering photo, alas, but it does capture the immediately pre-chug moment quite nicely.

I know Nana would highly disapprove of such photos, but I swear I’m not an alcoholic!  It’s been two weeks since these photos and I haven’t touched a drop of liquor!

That night, many drops of liquor got touched. Some inappropriately.

Finally, we left Two Side to go meet our friends.  We instantly ran in to Nino and Ian (two of my favorite people, by the way) and showed them a fierce Triple Dragon.  I think Nino’s response was along the lines of “Oh, Raughley, you guys are crazy!” while Ian turned away in shame.  He clearly is not worthy of the power of the dragons!

We headed up to Shardeni St. with Ilya after saying farewell to Koba.  There we ran into many people from group three who were just coming out of The Bamba Room.  Apparently some poor fellow had been getting severely beaten up at five minute intervals for a good long while and everyone was abandoning La Bamba to head across the street.

They all stopped to greet us and we responded with a Triple Dragon and an impromptu rendition of Under the Sea by yours truly.  It was made under duress as Marissa and Cristen shouted, “Raughley!  Sing Under the Sea!”  I use the term “under duress” lightly as I never hesitate to sing Under the Sea, especially upon request.  Skeptical eyebrows were raised as I powered through the first verse and chorus, especially by Danielle, Ian, and Yev.  At that point I declared my intention to “skip to the fast part!” and regaled them with my rapid-fire Sebatian-rapping.  By the end of the song, I think I can safely say that I had won over at least two of the three skeptics with my spirited performance.  You’re welcome, world.

As several of our acquaintances from group three were swallowed into the club, we overheard a woman coming out saying, “It’s really crowded in there and it sucks.  I’m leaving.”  We tried to rescue our friends from “sucks” but we could only save Yev and the friends he was staying with.

You can tell from our faces how glad we were to be reunited with Ian and Yev! Cristen was here too, but somehow got cut out of this photo (I swear I didn't do it!). Also, can I offer up this photo as proof that Yev can look nice in a photograph?

Having been booted from Shardeni Street, we headed back to Two Side, where a bouncer told us they were closed/closing.  I blame Koba’s absence for our failure to get in.  Shota, who had returned with his girlfriend, suggested that he knew a place close by that we could go to!  We all started walking in the rain along the embankment to a new cool club.  Or so we thought.

We got there and it demanded a cover charge of twenty lari just to get in.  We balked and pondered our options.  We could go back to Shardeni Street.  Or we could just go home.  Seeing as we had been exhausted before coming out that night (if you’ll recall, Marissa even curled up in bed, hoping to escape clubbing by sleeping [a tactic that worked about as well for Marissa as it usually does for baby seals {too much?}]), we decided to head home.

Shota walked back to pick up his car while the girls and I waited in the lobby of this posh club.  The bouncer eyed us and decided we could stay indoors, unharassed, as it was raining.  Shota returned and we piled in to his car once more four-by-four in the back.  His girlfriend, a very nice girl whose name I forget, was riding shotgun, naturally.  We dropped her off a few blocks behind freedom square and as she shut the passenger door, Shota leaned back and called out for “Cristen, come sit up here!”  We laughed and Ilya moved to the front, sparing Cristen the awkwardness of replacing Shota’s girlfriend while the woman was standing right outside the car!

Shota’s a mildly reckless driver and his loud music did not help our sleepy moods.  When we finally got back to my apartment (after a few tire-screeching joy rides) we hit up the store to put money on our phones and, unbeknownst to us, buy some beer.

Shota and Ilya wanted to keep the party going in the kitchen, but we were tired.  Shota’s hilarity, however inspired us to at least snack on some cheese and bread while they kept drinking.

This is Shota's "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" face. "I am the Ugly," he told us. This, of course, was right after he said, "Come to me, beer. I want to drink you!"

Shota quickly came to love the dragon (far more than he loves Elton John, though the dragon’s immediate presence does have something to do with that–who knows what would’ve happened if Elton John had entered the room at that very moment…?) and immediately insisted that, “The dragon wants to smoke!” which seems like an odd habit for a dragon.  They breathe fire, why would they want to smoke?  Who knows.  This dragon did seem to want to smoke, though.

Cigarettes are for people!

Ilya, meanwhile, was completely unmoved by the dragon, exhibiting neither fear nor surprise in it’s presence.

Ilya has nerves of steel.

Shortly into this short 4 am party, Shota began complimenting Cristen profusely.  “Cristen, I know you.”  “Excuse me?”  “I have seen you somewhere before…in my paintings.  I have painted you.”  “Oh, um thank you!”  Cristen might have felt awkward, but Marissa and I found great humor in encouraging Shota to go on.

“You have deep eyes.  They are so deep like the Pacific Ocean.  I am drowning in them! [Pantomime Drowning here]  Luckily, I know swimming.”

My deepest regrets for any readers I may have just inadvertantly drowned.

We finally tore ourselves away from the kitchen, leaving Shota and Ilya to their beer.  Shota asked me, as I left, “Where are the girls sleeping?”  “In my bed, Shota.”  “And you are sleeping with them, right?”  “No, I am sleeping in Ilya’s bed.”  “No, Raughley, you must not let them sleep alone!  Go to them, Raughley!”  I agreed, to placate him, and then took up residence in Ilya’s bed (Note: Ilya slept on the fold-out couch).

The next morning we woke up leisurely and headed out into the morning.  Sadly, it was time for Marissa and Cristen to leave Tbilisi.  A few pressing errands needed resolving first, however.  Most importantly, the girls needed to get a heaping plate of Ajaruli Khatchapuri while they still could.

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Lauren, in the interest of your Khatchapuri fascination, this is a delicious variety that’s shaped like a boat and has an egg fried right on top of it!  Also worth noting: an enormous hunk of butter melting into the cheesy egg.

Our final errand involved St. George and Freedom Square.  Yev was kind enough to indulge us.

Curse You, St. George! We will avenge our fallen brother!
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4 thoughts on “Two Sides of Tbilisi

  1. 1) “That night, many drops of liquor got touched. Some inappropriately.” – possibly the best quotation ever
    2) You are an “Under the Sea” prostitute and will sing it for anyone. I’ve heard more renditions of that song from you than I care to remember
    3) By far, this 2part blog post may be my favorite thus far.

  2. tha’s a joke, but to be serious, Is any of u an african-american? I’m writing a story about racism in Georgia and your experience might also be interesting.. If there is one, can you pls ask him/her to write to my email which actually 🙂 is

    masho_maa@yahoo.com

    I work for Georgian weekly magazine Liberali and want to write a story for our web http://www.liberali.ge

    thanks in advance and hope to hear from one of you 🙂

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