Douwe Osinga's Blog: Georgia and the our big world

Sunday, February 29, 2004

This Thursday I'm leaving for Georgia (the country in the Caucasus). In the unlikely event you'll be there too next week (and you're not my brother), drop me a line and we can have a drink.

I've started to read something about the country and as always when I read about a new country, I'm amazed about how big our planet is and how different it parts. Georgia is of course an old country with lots of culture and history. I knew you could ski there and that they have decent beaches.

But I hardly knew the Georgians as a people and now it turns out that there is a huge difference between the Megrels, who are quick and smart and the Kakhetians who are more calm and wineloving or any of the other 15 major ethnic groups. And they speak weird and complicated languages with up to 46 cases and 8 grammatical classes for nouns, making Finnish seem like something you could teach in kindergarten.

And the history is filled with brave fights of proud kings, trying to salvage their independence from some great other empire, with me having some vague idea about the empire, but never having heard of king and kingdom.

And it is not just Georgia. You can go to China and visits town you've never heard of with ten million people or go to India and discover new religions and villages that once were the capitals of continent spanning kingdoms. Why sent people to Mars?