Sunday, May 15, 2005

All My Fears Wrapped Up in One 10 Minute Ride

On Friday, Dave and I took Blaine to Vake Park. This is a beautiful park in downtown Tbilisi, acres of lawns, trees and in one corner, a small amusement park much like the one in Yerevan, Armenia. We spent the afternoon there and had a great time. Tickets for the rides are 50 lari a piece, which is approx. a quarter. Most of the rides take one ticket - it's a great, cheap way to spend an afternoon. We won't discuss the 1950's era Soviet roller coaster which Blaine wanted to go on and, against my good judgement, Dave talked me into going on with them. The only comment I have about the roller coaster is that the safety bar was a piece of rope. Yeah, a piece of rope. Anything you imagine from that point on is probably better than the actual coaster. 'Nuff said.

But the roller coaster was not the scary ride. Well, it was scary, but it was small potatos compared to what David talked me into riding on the next day. As we were leaving Vake Park on Saturday, we saw a cable car going up the side of the mountain. Dave wanted to hop on but I said no. Blaine was getting tired and it was late and I just wanted to go home. Dave agreed and home we went.

The next morning Dave woke up ready to head back to Vake Park and ride the cable car. I tried to put him off. Excuses like "It's too windy" and "It looks like it might rain" went right over his head. He even had Blaine all excited about this - Blaine was running around the house "I wanna go ride the swing up the mountain". Thanks, Dave. So, we headed out to lunch and after lunch we took a taxi over to Vake Park. Climbed the (crumbling) stairs to the loading platform and paid the man 80 tetri (about 50 cents) for Dave and I to ride. Blaine got to ride for free. Yippie.

How to describe this? Much like a ski lift that takes you to the top of the mountain, but you stand inside it. Packed like sardines with as many other people as they can get in it. I think there were (counting Dave, Blaine and I) about 9 or 10 people in the car. One of the people in the car was actually employed by the cable car company to stand in the car and hold the doors closed. Really. Safety first, that's what I always say! The car starts going up the side of the mountain, scraping tree branches as we leave the platform...this is when I start to hyperventiliate. You see, I am clausterphobic (thanks, mom) and I am also a bit freaked out by heights. So, hey, smart idea! Let's combine the two! And let's do it on a cable car in Tbilisi that is dated 1965. In a country where the power goes out on a regular basis. Basically, I was ready to pass out. I was unable to appreciate the view from the cable car and I'm pretty sure the two teenage Georgian boys who were squished in front of me were making fun of me.

I survived, obviously. And I rode that sucker back down the mountain (it was quicker than walking). I was quite proud of myself for even getting on the cable car and going for the ride. The only thing it had in it's favor was there were no roaches. I'm deathly afraid of them too. If there had been roaches on the cable car, all bets would have been off.


At 11/23/2005 10:14 AM, Blogger Anna said...


Did you know that in June 1991 a cable car cable broke causing the car to plummet and riders to die.

It happened to another cable car going to mount Mtatsminda but still, if I were you I would not go on that thing at all.


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