beads. a good day.
31 May 2012
In Tbilisi, it's often difficult to tell what a store is selling and even if the shop is open. With frequent power outages, dim lights and dark interiors, the smaller stores in town provide an adventure just by crossing their threshold. I've now spent a great deal of time in stores across town and have stumbled upon a couple of jewels. Our destination on this morning was one of the gems.
About a third of the way down the hill from Freedom Square, on the right hand side, as you are walking toward the river, there is a darkly lit store front. A few hand knitted socks, some buttons and a strand of pom poms hang in the window. When you push on the door, it gives and, due to the darkness in the windows, you find yourself a bit surprised that the store is open. And, then you arrive inside! The walls are lined with colorful skeins of locally spun yarn. The tables are covered with beads and shells and jewelry fittings in every shape, size and color.
And, even though, we've visited this store before, my daughter stood in wonder upon entering. This place is her version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. She quietly took the basket the store keeper handed her and she slowly began to select beads to fill it. After great internal debate over several items, she approached the cashier, handed over some Georgian Lari and we were on our way to the next store front.
Walking toward the river again, we came across the underpass that holds another favorite stop of ours. We descended the broken up stairs and blinked as we launched into the damp darkness of Tbilisi's underpass stores. In other cities, or at the wrong time of night, these are the types of spaces that would make me nervous to be apart of. Covered in graffiti, dark and often with a perpetual drip of some unknown liquid falling from some unseen corner, the underpasses are less than comfortable. However, in the middle of the day, musicians perform, vendors sell their wares and popcorn stands fill the passages with a warm aroma. Arriving at the desired store, we pushed on the door, unsticking it from its perpetual jam, and entered another small world focused on crafty pursuits. Purchasing what we needed, we exited and moved on to the closest Katchupuri stand. The layers of flaky pastry, stuffed with local cheese, hot from the oven was a perfect end to a great adventure.