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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Samarkhvo Kazantip - Anaklia 2014

Never has my blog name felt so spot-on: my friend has been stuck outside of the Former Democratic Republic of Kazantip for two days now; he was promised Kazantip visa, to set up a condom stand. Once he got there, with a box full of prophylactics, he got stranded in a tent city. “There is no sex in Kazantip” is the official stance of this year’s republic.
The president declared that he respects Georgian traditions. This is the moment that I facepalm myself bloody, hide my Georgian passport and pretend I am from Mars.
See, Kazantip turned out to be so much different than I expected. I kept calling it a music festival, but it really is a separate country, with its own rules (and I thought that was just a marketing trick). People honestly believe in this idea. Hard to imagine, but citizens of Kazantip actually seek peace, love, community, freedom, acceptance. They call it “happiness”. Imagine, thousands come from collectivistic, harsh, rigid, post-soviet societies, they flee from repression and “must do”’s. They save money all year to visit a place where they can be not who they are, but who they want to be. Those are not empty phrases. People start transforming into what they want to be, from head to bottom, from crazy creative outfits, to friendly and loving attitude.
They do so responsibly. They actually read Kazantip constitution. They do not fight, do not sexually assault and do not pee in the street. None of them. But they expect infinite freedom beyond that. They seek happiness.
Where is the happiness? -  I keep hearing it from Kazantip citizens over and over. Happiness has been sacrificed to “Georgian traditions”.
Happiness is not drugs, it’s not sex and it’s not cheap food; people who say that Kazantip sunk due to shortage of the noted products, do not know what Kazantip is. Happiness is wearing whatever you want, animal costumes, Buddhist monk ensemble, polyester swimming suit or nothing; happiness is endless dancing without being molested by local boys; happiness is sleeping on the beach, on the pavement or on a bar stand without being approached by law enforcers; happiness is talking with complete strangers without being grabbed and insulted; happiness is wandering weary and possibly drunk at 6 a.m. without feeling gaze of judging police.
Suddenly, all of our Geo insecurities came to life, all of them. Oh, a tourist, great, let’s make them pay 2 Lari per Khinkali! Oh, Slavic girl, let’s grab her boobs instead of greeting her (this is not an exaggeration)! God forbid people sit in the middle of the road (inside of the gated, no-car zone)! Call the police!
The police. They are at every palm tree, behind every rock. They are riding motorcycles, BMW-s, Mini Coopers, Fourwheelers, Segways, Golf carts. They are blinking and yelling and just watching your every move. And here you are looking for infinite freedom and ultimate happiness, collectively watching sunset under enchanting music and tuning your heart to beats of a gong that are calculated to sound precisely as the last rays reach the Former Democratic Republic of Kazantip. And as you dance in trance, someone is asked not to sit on a pavement.
Every year, for closing, Kazantip citizens write their wishes on yellow balloons and send them to the sky.
Here is my wish: I wish for a miracle. I wish for Crimea to go back to Ukraine, I wish for Kazantip to go back to Crimea and I wish for me, a free citizen of my new country, to go back to Kazantip every year from now on.

Cause I want my share of happiness.

p.s. Samarkhvo means fasting in Georgian;
p.s.s. pic taken by my hubby. I took part in this fun Kigurumi parade. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lost Lviv

Don’t you hate it when you write something and it gets deleted? Has your E-mail ever evaporated? Did you throw the comp out of your window?
 My first Lviv post, the one that I wrote with care, the one that I did not publish right away because I wanted to re-read it, perfect it, is gone, gone, and now I have to write it again.
How do I confess my love for the second time?
My first post started with the words “good morning, Lviv, do you miss me, Lviv?” I was addressing the city, I was talking to the city, I was talking to its colors, to its funny tourist cafes, I was talking to its lightness and its miniature elegance.
I talked to Lviv, I told Lviv, hey rememeber, how I rolled my suitcase at 8 A.M. , to a bus stop behind the opera, spilled coffee on my new Ukrainian shirt, ruining my grand entrance? How resistant I was to move away from your streets for training? How I hated to leave training once I got there?
I wrote, dear Lviv, it was just the three of us, hubby, you and me, walking around at night, away from the tourist zones, talking about life, Lviv, about loathed work and dull existence. It was you Lviv, I wrote, who listened to our dreams, me with my hostel and him with his bar, you listened and grew quiet and your streets were hushed and peaceful.
Oh, Lviv, I wrote, I miss the training, I miss the people, I miss talking all night long. I wrote, Lviv, I tortured my body, I deprived it of food and sleep, but I gave it Buddhism, video stories, jokes, flirt, I gave it friends, I gave it global problems, debates, issues, I gave it new ideas, so who cares about the shell of flesh?
My first blog post, so pathetic at times, full of exclamations. I talked to Lviv, Lviv that is no longer close, no longer right outside my window, not even half an hour away, not even in the same country.
Lviv. Listen. Running like crazy to board the plane in Istanbul. Three-day non-stop touristing. Souvenirs. Searching for pins. Surprise hubby visit. Coffee that tired-rock-star waiter set on fire. The apothecary museum. Strudels. Walking golden statue in the rain. Masoch café with chains and bras. Flowery sheets in rented apartment. Singing “Suliko” in nationalistic underground bar. Coolest country presentation. Tornado energizer. Friendly folks with different accents. The stop-animation video our team produced. Funny punishments for late trainees. Sessions that we lead. Sessions that we watched. Car on 6th floor terrace café. Hot chocolate with a cinnamon stick. Constant picture-taking. Curly hair and midnight talks. Walks in the forest. The crisp sunset air and the Slavic church in an open field of grass. Talks. Smoking sessions. More talks. Those silly games with bottles and cards. Posing. Philosophical discussions. Gossip. Breezy trip on Bosporus. Airport. Hubby. Home. FB requests.
Listen, Lviv, I wrote. I miss you, Lviv, I wrote.
I miss you Lviv.
Good thing I lost it.  Repressing feelings of infinite freedom and returning to normal life.

Good-bye, Lviv.

P.S. the coffee with caramelized sugar set on fire in a coffee-mining cafe (I know, right!) in Lviv.