Kobuleti (GEO)- Mtskheta (GEO)- Tbilisi (GEO)
August 7, 2014
Today we have another Mongol Rally FUNraiser mission to complete- the “KHINKALI DUMPLINGS EATING CONTEST“. Georgian restaurants were prevalent in Russia throughout the 20th century, due to the fact that Joseph Stalin was an ethnic Georgian born in the town of Gori. Today for our mission we are going to see who can eat the most Georgian dumplings Khinkali in one minute.
Can’t wait to see how many dumplings I can eat! I won the last FUNraiser eating contest you know what I am sayin’?
In the morning we wandered around the beach town a bit. We were shocked at how many Russian beachcombers were on the rocky beach of Black Sea Coast. Then we headed East towards Mtskheta.
We left Kobuleti around 11am. The road to Tbilisi was beautiful, with lush green scenery, small family farms, then the road followed the mountain gorge winding through amazing valleys.
Best Natural Mongol Rally Pit Stop
Around the Borjormi vicinity we had the best natural pit stop in the entire Mongol Rally. We bought some weird looking bean sticks and sour fruit paper thingy from a very sweet local lady.
Next to the fruit stand we saw all the locals filling their bottles from the mountain water. This area was famous for their mineral water, in fact, it was the best water in the entire Soviet Union.
It was a hot day and we instantly drank the water directly from the pipe, like a thirsty horse. The water was so clean, refreshing and cold. We met a drunken Georgian cow herder we გამარჯობა. (gah-mahr-joh-bah) back and forth. Here he was demonstrating how good their Georgian water was! Oh, and yes his cows were just next to the narrow mountain road grazing on random grass.
Georgian are all crazy drivers, they make their own lane by driving in the center of a two way narrow road. We were passed by so many cars trying to squeezed pass with opposite traffic coming right in front of us.
MISSION COMPLETED: “KHINKALI DUMPLINGS EATING CONTEST“
How many Georgian dumplings can we eat in 1 minutes? And who will win this challenge?
Will it be Hyun Young Jung, coming out of retirement, who ate a record breaking 7 dumplings at the infamous Flushing NY dumpling eating contest. Or Kenneth Tin Kin Hung, he may look like a feather weight, but can eat like Carnie Wilson at a all you can eat buffet, pre lap band surgery. And let’s not forget the 6’2” all American boy who has type 2 diabetes, I mean you can’t be more U.S.A than that!
For this Mongol Rally FUNraiser mission we went to “Salobie”- a restaurant located near Mtskheta, Georgia famous for their Khinkali and Lobio Bean soup. We ordered 20 Khinkali dumplings and were shocked at their iPhone sizes! OK, here is the mission accomplished video:
THANK YOU for all your donations together we raised $176 for our charity Cool Earth!
What is Khinkali Dumplings?
Khinkali (Georgian: ხინკალი) is a Georgian dumpling which originated in the Georgian regions of Pshavi, Mtiuleti and Khevsureti. Khinkali is filled with various fillings, mostly with spiced meat (usually beef and pork in Georgia, beef in Azerbaijan and other Muslim-majority areas, and sometimes lamb), herbs (usually coriander), and onions. Mushrooms, potatoes, or cheese may be used in place of meat.
Drinking Chacha Vodka with Georgian Marfia
During the time we met a group of very friendly men, they offered both me and Graham some Chacha– Georgian “Vodka” (actually a clear Brandy). Out of respect we sat down and took several shots.
This guy was very interested in my tattoo, he kept calling me Yakuza. I took off my shirt and showed him my full sleeve Japanese style tattoo and also my unfinished full back tattoo.
He got excited and showed his to me. Right after he took off his shirts we instantly realized we should not messed with these guys ;-) We watched the movie “Eastern Promise” we knew exactly what he did for living.
He has those classic Russian/ Eastern Europeans mafia tattoos and he drove a shiny brand new black Mercedes. Later on I shown this picture to a tattoo expert she confirmed that 1) the stars on his shoulder showed that he was a criminal “authority”, 2) saints and angels on the chest display a devotion to thievery. This matched what I found in Wikipedia about the Georgian mafia and the “thieves in law”:
Georgian mafia (Georgian: ქართული მაფია) is regarded as one of the biggest, powerful and influential criminal networks in Europe, which has produced the biggest number of “thieves in law” in all former USSR countries and controls and regulates most of the Russian-speaking mafia groups.
A major criminal group based in Russia is the Georgian mafia. Georgian mafia is known as best organized and most ruthless criminal group.
Georgian mafia is very “structured” and “hierarchical”. At the head of such a group is a leader who rarely appears in public and, in turn, reports to a “Godfather”, who operates on an international level. The power of the leader is largely dependent on his ability to subordinate independent groups of thieves under his authority. His underlings oversee the activities of smaller Georgian criminal gangs. The pyramid is cemented by the payment of tributes to the leader of each group acting in the region. This is the so-called “common fund”.
He was super friendly he invited us to stay at his house. We politely denied because we had already booked our hostel in Tbilisi. We hung out for over an hour, got a little bit tipsy. We were grateful for their hospitality ;-)
We say goodbye and ordered the bill, it was surprisingly low! If i remember correctly it was around $12 USD or something. Did the mafia pay a big chunk of it? We could never find out!
It was definitely a very unique, fun and hairy Mongol Rally moment sharing Georgian Chacha shots with local mafia, especially nobody could speak each other languages ;-)
A Night in Tbilisi
The drive to Tbilisi was not that long. We arrived at TifliLux Hostel (55 Lari per night for 3 people). We had a big room to ourselves and shared bathrooms with others. It was a long day with so many small details to overload our tired brains.