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‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ in Tbilisi, Georgia: Just the One-Liners

The globetrotting host drinks chacha… and wine… and raki in Eastern Europe

Images of clinking wine glasses and roasting meat skewers, overlaid by the sounds of folk singing, open episode five of Parts Unknown’s seventh season. Anthony Bourdain’s excursion this week to the Republic of Georgia is one threaded with drinking, debauchery, and plenty of eating. While few Americans might be able to place Georgia on a map, Bourdain says, “It’s small compared to the superpowers around it but vital — its significance far exceeding its relative size.” Formerly part of the Soviet Republic and closely bordered by Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and just a short trip from Syria and Iraq, Georgia is strategically essential, especially when it comes to transporting oil. It’s also had a tumultuous history, with a civil war and battles against government corruption. Meanwhile, Russia is literally consuming its border, a few feet a a time, swallowing up villages.

It’s small compared to the superpowers around it, but vital — its signi­ficance far exceeding its relative size.

Despite these tensions, the episode starts off with a quick trip to “Georgia’s shiny new version of Vegas on the sea, Batumi.” Here, Bourdain meets up with friend and occasional travel buddy Zamir Gotta (who’s made appearances in both No Reservationsand Parts Unknown). Together the pair get into plenty of trouble, losing money in a casino and then turning to a nightclub, where Gotta takes off his shirt and attempts to pole dance. The night of partying, of course, results in araging hangover, which Bourdain seemingly maintains throughout the entire trip as locals urge him to drink more wine and shots of the local brandy called chacha.

Despite the episode’s title, Bourdain travels within Tbilisi and beyond. He meets a local chef who’s trying to modernize Georgian cuisine and visits a border village where he partakes in a traditionalsupra feast that includes seven (or more) toasts where guests must drain their increasingly large vessels. He also travels to a mountain town for a meal at local wine bar Pheasant’s Tears with Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Economy. “After all this, I am convinced, I am co-opted, I am recruited,count me as a useful idiot, witting agent of the Georgian Ministry of Tourism for I may as well be,” Bourdain says. Here, now, are the 21 best lines from Bourdain’s Georgian adventure.

‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ in Tbilisi, Georgia: Just the One-Liners

1. At a casino in Batumi, Georgia: “As that great philosopher Wesley Snipes once said, ‘Always bet on black.'”

2. After losing money at the casino: “Nothing like a loser in a nightclub and I emanate loser, so let’s go.”

3. On his experience at the casino: “I should have just pulled my pants down and handed over my money the second we walked in the door. But actually that came later.”

‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ in Tbilisi, Georgia: Just the One-Liners

4. Staring at the lights on his table in a strip club: “Oh look, they’re changing colors. Either that or I’m having a brain hemorrhage.”

5. How he’s feeling the morning after: “Like something crawled inside my head, defecated, and then died.”

6. Zamir Gotta on being hungover: “Listen, I think we’re getting old.” Bourdain: Getting? Though you’re looking very svelte, I have to say. I’m impressed.”

‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ in Tbilisi, Georgia: Just the One-Liners

7. On Gotta’s turn on the strippers pole: “It was a brief but magnificent pole dancing career, I can tell you. You went out in a flame of glory.”

8. On the khashi soup: “This is not the first thing that I’d pick up for a hangover.”

9. Bourdain to Gotta: “Has the club called offering you a job?” Gotta: “Not yet; I think it’s very tough competition on the front.”

10. On Gotta’s real purpose for joining him in Georgia: “I ain’t no fool. The man clearly wants my job.”

‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ in Tbilisi, Georgia: Just the One-Liners

11. On his experience in Georgia so far: “I’m either drinking or I’m hungover or both. Is that normal?”

12. On accounts of disappearing tourists: “They came back like 10 pounds heavier and hungover.”

13. To American expat journalist Paul Rimple: “So you’ve been hungover for 12 years?”

‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ in Tbilisi, Georgia: Just the One-Liners

14. On the food in Georgia: “I’m quickly finding that the cuisine here is really good, really complex with sweet-sour notes that are reminiscent of — I don’t know. I just know it feels hauntingly familiar yet utterly new and delicious.”

15. A genuine question: “How do I get out of drinking?”

16. On the seven toasts during a rural supra, or “feast”: “Sorta lose the plot after seven I think.”

‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ in Tbilisi, Georgia: Just the One-Liners

17. On the regimented consumption of copious amounts of booze during the supra: “You’re toasting some pretty heartfelt, serious shit here, so hang in there and show some respect.”

18. After what must be a dozen toasts: “I don’t think I can do this.”

19. On his dancing skills: “I’m a really, really appalling dancer. I’m frightened.”

‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ in Tbilisi, Georgia: Just the One-Liners

20. What will convince him to dance: “Enough chacha and it’s possible…”

21. On polyphonic folk songs: “Hauntingly beautiful and otherworldly — kind of like Georgia.”

Source: eater