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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Safe Clubbing Rules

Second weekend in a row I’m greeting sunrise on Turtle lake, after all-night clubbing. And second weekend in a row I feel nauseous all day after. And I’m not even drinking alcohol.
So what the f...?
Dehydration, my friends. I get so caught up in dancing trance that I forget to drink water and I don’t want to be bothered with bathroom stops. However, several bottles of water could save my Saturdays. Thus, I've compiled web sources and my own experience to share with you guys the ways of healthier and ultimately, more pleasant clubbing. Here's the wisdom:
-       - Before you start drinking, eat fatty and sugary foods. Carbs actually help with nausea. Also, have some salty foods – they remind you to drink water even if you forget to.
-       -    Energizers block your intoxication awareness. Party regular vodka+red bull actually gets you much drunker than you think. Hence, worse hangover. Pace yourself. Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Have a fatty snack. Or just get prepared for a horrible morning.
-        -  Rule of thumb: if you mix substances, you will feel like shit later. Some substances are more mixable, bla, bla, yes, that’s true. However, generally, more you mix, worse you feel the next morning. That is if you wake up. Some substance mixes are very dangerous. So do your research! No high is worth dying for or even damaging liver, brain, etc. 
-         - If you are on some uppers – please stay hydrated. People die from dehydration. Put on water alarm on your phone before, force water in your throat when you don’t feel thirsty, I don’t know, ask your friends to give you liquids. Do something to combat "oh I can dance for days with no food or water" feeling.
-         -  Don’t go to sleep the moment you reach home. This works wonders for me: have some breakfast. What should you eat when you drag your un-cooperating legs home? What gets your energy levels up and helps your muscles restore? Complex carbs and proteins. Good source of complex carbs: potatoes, oatmeal, rye bread. As for the proteins, meat, fish, dairy, eggs. If you have consumed alcohol, add some fatty foods. So, in nutshell: if you fry some bacon or sausage, make an omelet and have a yogurt or cheese plus toast, you will get everything. Add some orange juice and there’s additional portion of vitamin C to help repair your immune system damage, caused by drinking, inhaling cigarette smoke (directly or indirectly), overtaxing your muscles, and depriving body of a night’s sleep. Also, broth restores sodium and banana – potassium.
-        -   Replace lost fluids. Restore electrolytes – don’t just drink water. In US they have sports drinks, in Geo – opt for Sprite. It is caffeine- free. 
-   - Buy food and drinks ahead of time! How often do you wake up with a headache and get to your nearest store shaking, wishing for miracle Borjomi (Nabeglavi, Mitardi, whatever)? 
-       -   Try contrast water therapy (O.K. I know that no one, no one will do this after clubbing, but still, let me put it out there): 2 minutes hot water, 30 seconds cold water, repeat 4 times. Allow a minute of moderate water between those 4 times. Smile – it’s for your own good.

-        -   Please sleep. In a peaceful setting. Your sleep will be irregular and light, so turn off the phone – you may not be able to fall back asleep if disturbed.  
Wish you good and safe and pleasurable nights of dancing!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tbilisi Tango Therapy

I won’t write about Shevardnadze’s death.
I won’t write about Mayor’s elections.
This week I will write about something enticing.
Have you ever considered many films and books telling a story about a hero outsider? That archetype of a born-outside-of-the-realm saver, the one who comes to a foreign world and helps natives find strength in their own resources? Like Paul Muad’dib in Frank Herbet’s “Dune”, like that soldier guy from the “Avatar”? Fremen’s term for Paul is Lisan al-Gaib (sci fi haters, bear with me): the voice of the outer world.  Yes, on one hand, it has a colonial, white-men-will-save-the-world aftertaste – because why can’t natives just save themselves- but on the other hand, when you’re stuck in the same shit daily, the voice of the outer world is what gets you out!
 Got me out, in any case.
Tbilisi has a little tango society. All you have to do is look them up on FB. Simple, right? No. Because why would I suspect it in Tbilisi? Thus, just like in a classical sci-fi adventure, a voice of the outer world, my Latvian therapist, who visits Georgia once in a blue moon (O.K. every other month), looked for the tango-dancing folks and joined them. And of course, despite his multiple stories about them, I still refused to believe that they exist. Tbilisi tango. A little cognitive dissonance. Beautiful magical unicorn.
But my best friend got interested and practically forced me to accompany our therapist to his tango lesson.
You get out of a smelly taxi.
Walk by the oft-visited TBC bank.
Glimpse towards road that leads to the despised Ministry of Education.
Walk into Eldorado café.
Chandeliers light up.
Girls in pretty dresses and high heels are perched on the wooden Vienna stools.
Pair of strangers dance.
Chocolate flows in the right corner.
And as time passes by, slim, well-posed boys walk to the group of girls, silently exchange looks, smiles, gestures, stand oppose each other, hold hands, press faces together and start dancing…
Couples multiply. It gets harder to focus on a particular pair. They are part of a bigger entity, they all do the same thing, they all do the different thing. Some dance shy. Some dance strong. Some dance close. Some dance apart.
 A confection of white lace and silk floats by and all I can think of is Rafaello dessert (I know, consumerism has maimed me for life). The girl has such reserved, tender passion, she keeps her eyes closed, she keeps her body away, save the temple area on the face, the hands around the back and sometimes, only sometimes, a high-heeled leg shoots up in the air, and sometimes it brushes against partner’s calves. Sometimes she wants to step away, but her partner blocks her with his feet. Smiling, with eyes closed, she dances in the free space that he lets her have, because, he is the one that cannot close his eyes, he is the one that has to watch out for other couples, choose direction, guess her wishes.
I squirm uncomfortably upon this realization. “But what if a girl does not want to sit around and wait to be picked? What if girls wants to lead?”, I ask. I live in a world where girls are not allowed to choose and lead. “They often learn the other part and partner up with each other”, casually answers my therapist and I really, really want to see that. He is back at the table, with his sickeningly good camera zoom, taking pics of the dancers. Then he walks up to a covey of Georgian girls, looks lingeringly, until one of them accepts his invitation, presses her face  against his and they join the dancing current.
We leave after 3 hours.
We walk through old streets with old wooden balconies.
I still can’t connect what I’ve seen with my city.
As I go on living in it, as I keep on walking in its streets, as things get mundane and tiresome, as I come up with all-night dancing and 100 happy days projects (more on that later), trying to fight this desperation, trying to cover up the emptiness, as I keep sacrificing sleep, healthy eating, rest, self-esteem, I forget that good things, truly good things exist in Tbilisi. I forget that I don’t always need to forge my own happiness, that sometimes happiness just sits there, waiting to be discovered.

I am plotting the next tango meeting.

P.S. the pic: this pic is horrible. My camera phone sucks at capturing motion and I didn't want to post close-ups, since I haven't asked for permission to post these pics. But, this is the proof that the unicorn is real :-)