For my birthday on Saturday, Brandon took me out to eat. Since we're in a new city, we have new restaurants to explore, which is one of my favorite things about new places. Brandon jokes (and he's only half kidding) that he joined the Foreign Service for the food. And I'm okay with that.
He had always heard that Georgian food was quite tasty, so he decided to take me out for Georgian. Our car hasn't arrived and the deep distrust of taxis that we gained in Egypt hasn't faded yet, so we decided to take the Metro and then walk to the restaurant.
After giving instructions to the babysitter and wishing her good luck, we headed out the door. Brandon checked his map and we plotted our route and closest Metro station. It looked simple, which of course should have been our first warning sign. Nothing that looks simple on a map in a foreign country ever is.
Forgetting that cardinal rule, we set off and boarded the metro for 28 May stop. After getting off, we checked the map, and marched off into the darkening evening. We marched for awhile past little hovels, store after store of dried fruits and nuts, and through a few traffic lights. We checked the map. We kept marching. We found some street signs, and checked the map again. Oops, a few streets further up than we had thought. More marching, more checking. March. Check. March. Check. I'm glad that my cell phone comes with a flashlight.
After marching through dark muddy streets, past newly-facaded government buildings, in crowds of people in busy thoroughfares, in front of buses, and in between cars, I saw a sign that looked like it might be the place. We marched closer. It was. Hungry and ready for a tasty birthday meal, we went through a low door, down some steps, down some more steps and finally, into the restaurant.
The proprietor came up, gabbled something in Russian, and then walked off. Brandon and I waited awkwardly in front of two empty booths wondering which one we were supposed to sit in. The man walked past us and started moving things in a third booth while another man pulled his things from the booth. Then the proprietor came back and started talking to Brandon in Russian again. While talking he walked us back to the door and pointed down the road.
When we were outside and walking away, I asked Brandon what had just happened. The man had told Brandon, 'Oh well, those two tables are occupied for someone, so we can't help you right now. But there's a nice Georgian restaurant just down the road.'
I started laughing. I suppose I should have believed Brandon earlier when he warned me about 'customer service' in the former Soviet Union.
So we went to the other restaurant. And since I've never had Georgian food before, I thought it was quite tasty.