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Monday, October 22, 2012

I Love Georgian Service

Yesterday I spent five hours learning about old Tbilisi on a wonderful walking tour, I will elaborate on it next time--I really liked it. This scribble is about a post-tour cafe experience.
Five hours of walking. Starving, we walk into a cafe in Abanotubani, a touristy street. It is empty. A girl form the other room walks out and asks us what would we like to order, thought we haven't even seen the menu yet. My friends leave to wash their hands and I can't understand, what am I supposed to do, sit at my table and wait or walk to the waitress who stands by the bar. I catch her attention and walk to her. I order everything except water. At this point another waitress tells me, in a sour voice, to sit down and she will come take my order there. I am like, but I am almost done, can I finish my order? No, I have to sit down. After some time, the girls yell FROM THE BAR what would we drink. Now, did it matter where I told them about my water, sitting or standing up, if they never came to our table?
Scene two. A hungry man walks into the cafe to take food with him. He looks at the menu, orders chebureki, then looks at the bar and notices a way longer menu displayed there, and re-orders pirogi which is not that different from chebureki--both are dough containing meat or potatoes and fried. The mean waitress goes in the kitchen, we can all here cook saying that pirogi will take 30 minutes (chebureki was promised in 10 minutes). Waitress comes out and informs the man that he will have to wait slightly more time, around 20 minutes. He asks, 20 or 30? She answers 20-30. The man is understandably freaked out and orders cheburekis again--reassured they will be ready in ten minutes. Meanwhile, he orders a beer.
Scene three. Big gorilla-like security guys with earphones and all the security gadgets  walk in. They look so scary. They stand in the middle of the cafe and look around. I feel extremely uncomfortable and want to disappear. They are trying to figure out what to do with themselves. They are like extras in a play, a background for main action.A comic relief of muscles and faces with lost expression.
Scene four. at the same time,10 minutes pass and the man does not receive his order or his beer (seriously, it was just us and him in the cafe before the muscle attack,  just give him damn beer). He reminds her several times and then...he explodes.
The man: I want to retreat my order, return my money.
The mean waitress: you can't, you already placed an order.
The man: I do not want your cheburekis anymore. Give me my money back.
The mean waitress: FINE!
The standing gorilla security: Ummm....we are lost. What is going on?
My hubby: pasumonok, close your mouth.
The mean waitress return with a cook from the kitchen, in apron and hands covered in flour.
The cook: What's the problem?
The man: Firstly, she did not greet me right, I came in and she was eating in another room. Secondly, she confused me about timing of food and what food was available, thirdly, she is rude (I swear he really did tell her this in orderly manner).    
The cook (calmly): I have already began cooking your food, it will be out in two minutes.
The mean waitress: YOU ARE RUDE! YOU ARE RUDE!
The man: Is there a man in this establishment?!
Me: This is sexist. He implies that he can't make these women understand his situation.
Hubby: No, the man is so desperate, he wants to swear at someone and he can't swear at women.
Me: Got it.
The mean waitress keeps screaming. I want to leave, but I realize that we've already placed our order and if we cancel now we will get beaten and trampled over by the screaming harpies of Georgian food industry. Plus, the lost-looking gorilla security still stand in the middle of cafe acting like lost-looking gorilla security. I am afraid to get up and stand by them.
Scene four. The climatic scene.
Cook returns to her kitchen.
The mean waitress keeps insulting her costumer. Finally she yells: Here is your 10 Lari and 30 Tetri!-- and throws the money on bar counter, with change falling to the ground.
The mean waitress: YOU SUCK AS A HUMAN BEING!
Everybody else: what?!
The mean waitress: Go, leave the place right now, or your face will get ugly (implication of beating up his face).
Everybody else: WHAT?!  
The man leaves furious. I just blink and drink my water, afraid to move.
Security man: Can we order? And I would like to give you an advice: you cannot talk like that to the costumers.
The mean waitress: But you saw how rude he was!
Other girl comes out and brings security people drinks but no glasses. The mean waitress disappears into a kitchen. New costumers come in. We get our cheburekis--delicious!--we finish our cheburekis, we ask for the bill, we pay the bill, new costumers walk up to the bar counter and demand to place order. Security guys receive their food and their glasses. We leave. The curtain.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Georgian Chronichles

Dear friends,
please visit my second blog this week. I wrote a little summary of recent events.
Also, sorry for lack of pictures. I need to go out in the city and take some new pics.
Here's the beginning:
"End of summer—Tbilisi looks like an archeological site. Due to long-term memory problems of voting population, roads, bridges, buildings are being erected right before the elections, to remember our caring government.  During the Shevardnadze era, road lines got painted only before the elections. Oh, and the stadium in our yard got a face lift too. Happy simple times.
With just enough bridges, people will forget everything that took place in the last four years...
Mid September—videos of prisoners being tortured are released. We loose it.   Demonstrations all over the place. We no longer are able to lie to ourselves, facades have crumbled, and we finally realize what we’ve known all along—we’ve been using humans as means to achieve perceived peace and stability. Everyone is outraged, angry, blaming the government, but really we’re just feeling guilty. Scales tip to anti-Nationalist side dramatically. Ideas, parties, promises, even particular people one votes for is of a lesser importance. The emotion of guilt and embracement dictates “either with us or against us” war mentality. You’re either anti-Natsi or Nazi.  Never mind who is on the other side."
For the rest, please click here

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Election Fever

No, I did not watch the torture videos. I was in the middle of the Hunger Games books and watching prisoners tortured seemed a bit immoral. They have a right for privacy, the incident did not occur for our entertainment. How quickly we turned it into something about us like, we're sick of living in this country; politicians lied to us; ministers should leave their posts; we should get rid of these torturer government through elections; we deserve better. WE.WE.WE. The video served it purpose,stirred some emotions in US, served some political purposes and it is over now. Has anyone considered that those prisoners maybe did not want to become part of the reality show? Do we even know that they are real people or are they just characters on TV? When we were appalled and storming the streets were we sorry for them or for us?
I went to elections feeling dizzy. Till the last moment, I had no idea what I was going to do. Just like eight years ago, I was disgusted by the ruling party but hated the alternative. Then, last time, I crossed out everyone but we still ended up with a party and a president I could not stand. Well, majority voted in their favor, so I couldn't complain. Now, I am having a deja vu. I am hearing the same slogans, the same sentiments, only this time from other party. Once again, I will have to endure government elected by the majority, government I don't support. But really what is the alternative? Staying on the same old dysfunctional course with the same dysfunctional leaders?  
You know, all those people that actually support someone, one way or the other, they believe in something, they're happy. I look around and I am desperate, I am heartbroken and I am helpless. I want to believe in someone, but I can't. I can't,  I can't support a party that employs discarded members of the ruling party, people who deserve no trust, who have done so much wrong in the past. But most of all, I can't support what I don't know. I have no idea what their party platform is. Never did they bother to actually explain what their agenda is, what will they accomplish and how.  All I hear is nationalistic bullshit. Just like I heard it eight years ago from the ruling party. There is no unifying idea. If we gather a focus group of random voters and ask them to express a concept of Georgian Dream in two sentences, we would get different responses. What is it really? Cause I keep hearing different sentiments put on the same scale of importance. Important issued lumped with bogus ones. The same ad promising territorial unity--very important, increased pensions--very important, restored national dignity--what the hell does that even mean, giving farming land back to Georgians--bogus issue and end to gay parades--bogus issue. How will they end something that does not exist? Is that how they are planning to increase pensions too? What is it that they want, besides replacing existing monsters?
On the other hand, I am happy that the party I had to endure  for so long, that the man I never elected is not the sole ruler of the universe anymore.  Here's for trampling over human rights, here's for destroying our media,  here's for giving us false hopes, here's for monopolizing our businesses. please leave us alone. I have just witnessed how bunch of men in from black jeeps beat the crap out of the dream supporters and took their cameras away. In the middle of the day. Right by my house.
It's wrong, it's all wrong, you get there, you look at the ballot and all you  see are clowns.
I am forced to choose sides but for me, it's all catch 22. So yesterday, I made a very odd choice. And for all the conspiracy theorist out there the pen worked. Ink did not disappear--I scribbled something on a piece of paper,took it home and voila, it's still there.That was easy to test.
But really is disappearing ink our biggest problem?

This is how I feel

“You have a morbid aversion to dying. You probably resent the fact that you're at war and might get your head blown off any second."

"I more than resent it, sir. I'm absolutely incensed."

"You have deep-seated survival anxieties. And you don't like ... bullies, snobs, or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate."

"Consciously, sir, consciously," Yossarian corrected in an effort to help. "I hate them consciously."

"You're antagonistic to the idea of being robbed, exploited, degraded, humiliated, or deceived. Misery depresses you. Ignorance depresses you. Persecution depresses you. Violence depresses you. Corruption depresses you. You know, it wouldn't surprise me if you're a manic-depressive!"

"Yes, sir. Perhaps I am."

"Don't try to deny it."

"I'm not denying it, sir," said Yossarian, pleased with the miraculous rapport that finally existed between them. "I agree with all you've said.”

Catch 22