The strongest woman in Sighnaghi

April 20 2016


For this story we go to the country of Georgia which I visited. At some point we ended up in a tiny village called Sighnagi. To give you an idea how much tourism is developed there, the first name of the woman running the guesthouse we stayed was ‘Nazi’. When she started her guesthouse she named it after herself. So there we were - staying in the Nazi guesthouse.

That night miss Nazi invited us into the basement for dinner with the rest of her family. We looked a bit surprised to find out that these were all men and even more that they were exchanging and looking at pistols they all brought with them.

We started eating and drinking and shared the table with a British couple, a girl and a boy. We ate, toasted and drank wine. Now you have to know that toasting in Georgia is quite an important occasion. You tell a short story about and after that you toast on that. Everybody joins in and chucks the glass down completely. Then it is time for the next toast. etc. etc.

At some point the family table got really quiet and everybody stood up to make a toast. This looked very official so we decided to also stand up. When we did this hell broke loose and they all started shouting at us. We figured we made a mistake and all sat down again. Then they started shouting even more, leaving us all confused. It turned out that all the men were invited to join, but that the girl was not allowed. Because of this combined with alcohol she stormed off crying.

We were then invited to join the table and continued the toast. It turned out that they were remembering their fallen brothers from the army and to put so extra emphasis on that, the biggest guy took out his pistol, took out the bullets and put them in our wine glasses. We raised our glass and toasted. After this they went to the balcony to start shooting in the air.

This was the limit for miss Nazi. She stormed into the kitchen and kicked all those strong men out of her house one by one.

The next morning we talked with her for a while and she got out a photo album. She showed pictures from just after the fall of the Sovjet Union. Her husband had lost his job and they were only living on the vegetables they could grow in their own garden. Until one day she saw a couple of people she had never seen before wearing colourful things on their backs. Without hesitation miss Nazi pushed her entire family into one room and invited the backpackers to stay with them.

After that more backpacks came, and more. At some point she managed to buy a bigger house and after that an even bigger one. Slowly but steady miss Nazi had build her own empire in the small town of Sighnaghi, making everybody who lived there dependant on her. You want a taxi? Miss Nazi would take care of it. A tour in the wine gardens? Go get miss Nazi.

So while on a first look in Georgia it all looked very masculine, basically everywhere we came it turned out that if you look a bit further than that there was always the same person running the whole business: the misses Nazi of this world.

Joris Pekel
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