Anthony Bourdain

In Georgia, uncover stunning scenery under Russia's long shadow

Anthony Bourdain, HostUpdated 22nd March 2017
(CNN) — I was late to Georgia.
My flight was stuck in Istanbul and we'd had only a small window to shoot in the off season resort city of Batumi, so a last minute substitute was called in.
Like John Shaft, he's a complicated man. Like Wolf Blitzer, he's got the credentials and experience to tackle any subject. Like Bambi, a struggling medical student, he WILL pole dance if no other employment options exist.
I'm talking, of course, about Zamir.
It's likely and unfortunate that you are probably only dimly aware of Georgia -- the country, not the state. It's tucked away beneath Russia, next to Turkey, a contentious, strategic piece of real estate under constant pressure.
You should know Georgia because it's nice. Because the food is excellent. The country is beautiful. Some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth. It's a place you should absolutely visit given the chance.
Over chicken wings, Anthony Bourdain and Anderson Cooper talk about the Republic of Georgia's move away from its gangster past. "Parts Unknown," Sundays 9p
But you should know it as well because it's important. Because it emerged from years of Soviet rule into a chaotic, awful, lawless period yet managed to turn itself around into a functioning democracy in a few short years.
And because, as you will see, it is still under constant threat from an increasingly belligerent Russia.
The drinking culture of Georgia took some getting used to. They are used to doing things a certain way--and you are expected to keep up. In particular, the national firewater, "chacha," presents a challenge to the weak-livered.
It's a fascinating and very welcoming country. And I hope we convince some of you to visit it.