Men with Binoculars

Men with Binoculars

I was born in 1940 on May 15. I will start from the beginning, from my childhood. I spent my childhood under the Soviet regime. Everything was different back then — different situation, different this, different that. In summer, I wake up at 5am. I have some business to attend to. In the village, there is always something to do. We have a little garden. – Hello, boys. – Hello. – Child, which family are you from? You usually come out here. – I am from Bodbe. – I see, you are from Bodbe . ..Otherwise, I would have recognized you. – Yes, I am from Bodbe. I love Sighnaghi. In the past, Sighnaghi was [called] Qiziki. There was no serfdom here. Free, strong, and brave people lived in Sighnaghi. When enemies came, we were ready for them. I love Sighnaghi because I have a relationship with everyone. I know everyone [here]. I figured it out that they [tourists] would start coming. God put [that idea] in my head. I thought for a long time [about what to offer tourists], and I came up with this profession. When tourists come, I let them look through the best budget hunting binoculars, but, before that, I talk to them. I ask them, ‘Where are you from?’ They would answer, ‘Moscow.’ And I would say, ‘I have been to Moscow so many times. Moscow is so good, it is so good.’ I would read the poem for them to impress them. – Friends! Where are you from, my dears, where are you from? – We are from Slovakia. – As in Czechoslovakia, Czechoslovakia? – Yes. – Yes, wait, wait. Here is Alazani Valley and the Caucasus. Come, my dears, come! – The weather. It’s your weather: no wind, no rain. – Yes, I don’t know. – You are feelign better right? – If I didn’t, would I be here. – Don’t be afraid. – Why would I be afraid? Screw it. – Are tourists coming? To your restaurant? – Are tourists coming? To your restaurant? – No, they are not coming, no. – It’s going to be [better] in spring. – These are German binoculars and they’re of very good quality. Hold it. – This is the great Alazani Valley. Above are the Caucasus mountains. Dagestan is over there. That is St. George’s Church. It’s open. They celebrate weddings [there] and there is a wedding palace down there. Once upon a time, the Alazani Valley was a sea which dried up. There is a defensive wall around Sighnaghi. It surrounds the town for eight kilometers. The longest wall [in the world] is the Great Wall of China. This is the second one. Once upon a time, the Alazani Valley was a sea which dried up. This is Sighnaghi, the city of love. Today is Monday; the museum is closed. I don’t know if tourists will come or not. Will Sergo come? I don’t know. I will have a look. He is coming. I can see him. I am Sergo Nadirashvili. I tell tourists to look through the binoculars Some of them do, others don’t. Some of them want to, others don’t. There are few people here. But the other person [Sergo Nadirashvili], the second one, does not let me [offer binoculars to tourists]. He says that I should go home and does not allow me to let them look. I was here first, but . . . Here, everyone is allowed to come, even if they are from [the villages of] Anaga or Sakobo. Everyone has the right, but he is saying ‘No.’ Even his mother is telling me not to come here and his father is threatening me that he’ll bring guys from Sighnaghi and beat me up. – It survived, don’t worry. – I will take them there. Come, straight ahead. – What is this? – What, my son? – I can barely see . . . – I don’t know, my son. I don’t know. My name is Tamaz. I will tell you the history of this part of the country. I think you will like it. The land, on which we are now, is located in the eastern part of [Georgia] and it is called Kakheti. There are different opinions about the origin of the name Kakheti. From here, you can see Eastern Georgia. What we call Kakheti is actually eastern Georgia. Over there, below, you can see the Alazani Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in the Caucasus. – This is the city of Tsnori. – From which century does it date? – This is from the 17th century. – What about this fence? – This is from the 17th century. [Sergo] – It’s from 17 or 18th century. The territory of Sighnaghi [inside the walls] covers 40 hectares of land and there are 23 turrets [along the wall]. When we start to go up, the wall will be visible. Each turret has a name and it refers to the villages whose people participated in the [wall’s] construction. – They said they don’t want the binoculars. – It is very blurry. What is this? – I’ll go down, and if someone shows up, I will come up. – What do you want? – I said they should come there. I will offer them a look around. – The museum [ticket] costs two or three laris. – No, don’t tell them that. – Hey, Alazan, the Caucasus [mountains]. – OK, thanks. He is either here or there. He is saying we should separate, but I don’t like that idea. here are a lot of people at his place and what shall I do? It is easy for him to say [that we have to split up]. Just a few people come here and he gives them the binoculars, and I’d remain with nothing. People don’t come here that often. I will go wherever I want to. Who is he to decide [for me]? I wish I could make some [money] today. He made some, right? Look. Did they give him money? He was pushing them, saying that they should look. He did not even allow me to give them [the binoculars]. He should go back to Nukriani. Why is he bothering us? He can look around from there and I will stay here. There is also a place to look from. – Where do you come from? – I come from Siberia. – Where? – From Siberia. – I want to ask you one question. Tell me, you end up in a city that you don’t know. Let’s say you just know that it is Sighnaghi and it is in Georgia. Nothing else. nd [people] stop you in the street, and they tell you that they know everything [about the town] very well. I am interested in your answer. – No one has stopped me. – It has not happened yet. The thing is that some people have no education and sometimes they stop people and they tell them fairy tales. – I would check the information. – Well, you know, you don’t know who they are. It is always better to hire an official tour guide – If I have time, of course, I would take a certified guide. But sometimes there are cases when . . . – What is your impression of Georgia? – This is good. – You can have a look whenever you want. – It’s much better than Sergo’s binoculars, right? They said it’s better. – They said this one is better. – What do you want from this man [Zauri Nadirashvili]? – I should sit here. Why are you scolding me? – Because you are on a different side. What are you doing here? – No. – “Snake poison,” I wish you’d die. – I go wherever I want to. – Here, they’re harvesting wheat, but you can’t see them because it’s cloudy. Here, the locals are harvesting grapes. There, can you see the cross? Does it look blurred? – Where? – There, straight ahead. Adjust the binoculars and you will see. – From there you get to Bodbe Monastery. Cars go from there. – The nunnery, right? – Yes, the nunnery, exactly. Here’s the defensive wall that goes around [the town] 20 kilometers, which people used to protect themselves. In 2016 [1616], the Iranian shah exiled 16,000 Fereidans [Georgians who now live in Iran]. The fee [for this explanation]? Whatever you feel like giving. It’s up to you. – And how would they find out when the enemy was approaching? – The wall has gun slots, and [vedettes] could see through best small binoculars for travel. The moment they’d see that enemies were on their way, they would spread the word. – We got it. Here, take it. – Thank you. – Thank you. – Mishiko! Hello, Mikheil, Mikheil! – Can you hear my voice? – How are you? – Fine, you? – We’re also fine. We miss you. Things are going well with you, right? – Yes, yes, sehr gut. Arbeiten sehr gut? – Yes, I am working every day. – You don’t intend to come, my dear? – Yes, now I am looking for an apartment, and it took some time. After I get the apartment, I can take a vacation and come. – But you are going to come for New Year’s Eve, right? – No, I cannot come for New Year’s Eve. – You can’t? What are you saying, Mishiko? – When will you come, then? Well, you know, New Year’s is such an important . . . – When will you come, then? – Well, after I get an apartment. – As I told you, with the binoculars, one sees the Caucasus like a bird. It will bring money. – He has thousands of problems. He has no time for your binoculars. Don’t you annoy him. [Natelashvili’s wife] – Wait, it has to bring money, money. – He has his problems. Leave him alone. In the morning, I will get up early. I will go to the garden, I will do some work and then go to Sighnaghi. Do you have to buy something in Sighnaghi? – Nothing. Alright.

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