Top: World's first 360-degree Panorama of Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia, Feb 24/2009, from 12 separate photos...

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia

(Hmmm, 5 minutes ago, when I wrote yesterday's post, the snowfall was hiding Ushguli's surrounding mountains.  1 minute ago, the sun came out.  Going to be interesting weather today.)

Anzor and Lile, 2 members of the family I stay with in Ushguli, and also both my English students at home and school

Edge of snow

My theory is:  If you haven't seen it go from live animal to meat ready for the kitchen, you're not a real carnivore.  Supermarket meat is only half the story.  This is our neighbour and my host's first cousin, Zakro, at work on a calf

Friday, 13 March 2009

Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia

(I'm posting this in advance, on March 10, watching the snow come down thick enough to obscure the mountains around Ushguli totally.  Which more than likely means a power failure is imminent.  It also means that my trip to Tbilisi to arrive before Saturday (Mar. 14) is in serious jeopardy, as the road out of Ushguli is curently undriveable.  But there's more than one way to leave this place - more than one mode of transport, I mean...)

Top:  Don't look so surprised!

Snow and ice

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Lirhi3, Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia

Final set from the late-winter festival.

Once the solemnities of prayer for each other were over, the singing and dancing began, snowfall notwithstanding!  I kept my camera around my neck on its strap, covered with a plastic bag, lens hood shielding the lens from the snow - it was almost as cold as the air by now, so little if any snow was melting onto it.  And it performed flawlessly, as it always has in my experience.

"A good time was had by all."

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Lirhi2, Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia

More from this late-winter Ushuli festival.

Prayers with offerings of moonshine or wine and bread; the guy holding the bottle, centre, is doing the praying in a nice loud voice, for each family as they bring their food

A group prayer to start things off

Then a walk around the snow tower, singing Svan songs in harmony

Finally, some young boys ascend the tower, cling to the cross, and try to stay there while they're being bombarded with snow, as it was at the beginning

More photos from Lirhi tomorrow.  The best is yet to come.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Lirhi, Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia

Lirhi is a late-winter festival which I've now attended twice in a row.  First, a "tower" of snow is built.  Then one of the young men who was involved in this must plant a cross on its top, all the while getting pelted with shovelfuls of snow.  There's more to come from the cold, windy and snowy day which Lirhi gave us this year - lots of good fun, it was, in spite of the weather.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia

Lion or panther emblem on the school - the building used to be a hotel

Chazhashi, the hamlet of Ushguli to which the school is attached; the exceptionally fat tower just left of centre is the village's main museum

Ice formations on the Enguri near the school - I'm watching them to see how they develop as temperatures rise and fall

Few things beat a handmade wooden fence on the snow as a subject for me

Sunday, 8 March 2009

MorePower2Ya, Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia

OK,  it's time to post the story about the electricity in the upper part of the village.
Our transformer, pictured here in all its antique glory,  got overloaded and failed.  Mikho (top) and some experts from Mestia took a look last week and, among other things, installed some new ceramic insulators - I hardly know anything about electricity, except that it shocks you and runs things, and what insulators look like.  But I had to be on hand to see what they'd do, and how slender is our hope.  This is a second-hand beast, this transformer, and not powerful enough for the winter load on it.  So we're forbidden from using electric heaters; yesterday it was -17 C in the morning, and -2 in my bedroom.  Under my 4 blankets, I sleep very well, thank you, thank God too.  We're now waiting for a rumoured new transformer of greater capacity to arrive this month, transforming our lives along with the electricity...