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251. Stalking Jules Verne

I recently came across photos of a google-plus user from the country of Georgia in the Caucasian mountains, somewhere between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, somewhere between the south of Russia and Turkey. A difficult position for a small country really, being tossed from one to the other in ruling and/or heavy cultural influences. From the dawn of History, however, the Georgians have managed to retain their own personality, cultural heritage, language and… yes, spelling and writing. Georgia in the Georgian language is spelt საქართველო.  This small country remained hidden away from main stream History by bigger bears until, well yes, the advent of internet. And since cables have now been laid in the bottom of the Black Sea by Americans to reach the port of Poti, any Georgian can now tune into internet at will and post photos on FaceBook or Google+ and be seen and contacted by the rest of the world. Nice story!

When I recently saw those photos of Georgia posted on my own google+ account I jumped in wonder. It reminded me of a strong personal event. I used to live in Canberra, Australia, in the 1960s and 70s, as a young married woman. Totally out of my own continental European culture I had felt the need to connect back by enrolling into a ballet school. When some time between 1968 and 1970 the Georgian Ballet Company came to perform in Canberra, I was overjoyed and felt terribly attracted. So… I wrote a letter to the Russian Embassy there in Canberra, not far from my own place, asking for a visa to go to Georgia to study ballet there with that company. Well, yes, you know, when you’re young you see no limits to your dreams… The USSR Embassy never replied!

Actually… my first and foremost encounter with the country of Georgia dated back from my teens when I read all these adventure books, that one from Jules Verne telling the story of a guy who travelled all around the Black Sea from the right bank of the Bosphorus in Istanbul to the left bank, simply because he did not want to pay the new tax installed to the ferries across the Bosphorus. All I remembered of that book was the fantastic adventures that occurred on that trip and the author, Jules Verne himself of course. The photos posted by the Georgian fellow on my google+ triggered that strong memory. I had to look up Georgia and Jules Verne.

So far so good. At the age of 73 now I am not better than when I was 15. Born an adventurer in mind and body I can’t let it pass. I must go to Georgia now. They may not take me in as a ballet student… but I must go and see the place, feel it, smell it, hear it and attend a performance of their ballet company in Tbilisi.

I read the novel by Jules Verne again. It’s on free access on line now: Keraban le Têtu . I was surprised to find there isn’t much about Georgia at all, just an event while crossing the railway line from Tbilisi near Poti but somehow it had stuck in my mind. Don’t ask why. I’m starting to believe in multiple life times but that’s another story. So… here and now, in front of my computer screen in a studio apartment in a city in the middle of France, in 2017, at the age of 73 being willing and able, I am planning to simply drive to the Black Sea and Georgia.

By now readers are shrugging their shoulders and crossing over to another blog. :-)))

Me and my car now in May 2017
My plan is as follows. I’ll start driving along the road eastwards at the wheel of my vintage car, a Talbot Samba of 1981. Slowly but surely I will arrive in Odessa one day. I’ll then take a ferry to Poti and drive on to Tbilisi. Why not. One step at a time. No Estimated Time of Arrival. Keeping the story going of the whole adventure in writing of the long yarns and tales heard from people I will meet. With photos and videos perhaps. And/or writing up a complete novel with mad characters like Jules Verne did. As I go.     

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