Avalanche blocks road out of Svaneti

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012

After two bulldozers had cleared the road of the landslide (see previous blog entry), we continued our journey to Tbilisi. Temo Bardzimashvili, who drove us, joked about playing a song called “Landslide,” but then remembered he didn’t have that song on the iPod he’d brought. I warned him not to tempt fate. And . . . about that time . . . our progress was blocked by an avalanche that had covered the road. The same people who had been blocked by the landslide earlier  again left their vehicles to make more Svan jokes as we watched a Svan mini-bus driver attempt to drive across the “mountain” of snow. The snow’s slope tilted the mini-bus, which almost tumbled over the side of the road to a river hundreds of meters below. Not accepting fate, the minibus passengers took one standard shovel and began to cut into the sloping snow so their vehicle could cross. After a while, the driver tried to drive across, got stuck, was dug out, and retreated. The driver and passengers made additional adjustments to their “road construction.” The driver again tried to drive across, got stuck, was dug out, and retreated. This process continued 6, 7, 8 or more times, and we onlookers continued to tell more and more Svan jokes. But then, to my surprise, the mini-bus succeeded. And, then, a jeep made a few attempts and succeeded. And, then, Temo succeeded on his first attempt. As we drove away, we immediately saw a bulldozer arriving to rescue the others still blocked by the avalanche. We made no more landslide or avalanche jokes.


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

3 Responses to Avalanche blocks road out of Svaneti

  1. sherry says:

    Wow, what an adventure! Please be careful wherever you go, especially at this time of year with the snow and variable temperatures. Obviously you made it back unharmed, but hopefully wiser when tempting fate. I send you both hugs.

  2. Hi there! I simply would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the great info you’ve right
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