Sunday, July 13, 2008

Breakfast in Tbilisi

Since the war obviously is postponed, I think I can allow my self to adress a less depressive theme without being considered an outrageous optimist: Tourism in Georgia.
Now, as my wife decided to entertain me with Mozart on her piano while I enjoy a late Georgian breakfast, I suddenly started to feel a bit uncomfortable being pampered like a little king, noting that I also am enjoying a service from my mother in law worthy of royals. What should disgust you even more, is that my breakfast is ready whenever I decide to get up in the morning. I won't even mention dinner. So what has this to do with tourism? Well, you see it's not only my mother in law that treats me like a royal. It's happens everywhere, and this disturbs me as I can be defined as an average middleaged, male from anywhere. Wherever I am invited, theres a lot of extra attention given to me, and I am always treated with the best of food, always being served first, receiving presents all the time, and always being denied paying the bill - in a very persistant manner.
Yesterday we, the whole family, went to visit Signaghi in Kahkheti. It's an old city, now beutifully restored and commercialized in a civilized way. I visited a shop wanting to buy mineralwater for the family. My wife went in with me. And as I paid, the shopkeeper said to her that this was the first time he had seen a forreigner pay for anything, or buy something for others in his shop. Even the guides and translators gave the tourists mineralwater and food as presents, he said, obviously supposing my wife was a guide. On the way back to Tbilisi we stopped at a road house for dinner. Suddenly we had a big bowl of chicken at our table, curtesy of the Georgians on a table nearby. They thought I looked like a tourist, and wanted me to feel welcome in Georgia. Now there's more: This year me and my wife travelled together with a couple of young Norwegian students to Tbilisi. They went to Khazbegi for trekking, and returning from that trip they told me with great surprice they hadn't paid for food and transport because their new Georgian friends wouldn't let them.
The Georgians regards a guest as sendt from God. So it's great to be a tourist in Georgia. It's right down fantastic. But realizing that most Georgians have very little money you must ask your self the question: How do I pay back? In the western culture we are mostly vampires, sucking the blood out where ever it is possible. I think a good start is to pay the taxidrivers a couple of lari's extra, never dispute the prices anywhere, maybe leave some dollars for a hospitable person/family a place where it can be found after you leave, and generaly try to figure out a way to pay back. If you are a tourist that might be a nut to crack. If not, I fear that being a tourist in Georgia will be a very different experience in a very few years.

Friday, July 11, 2008

War with Russia?

Russia has declared that their forces in Abkhazia is on full alert, ready to attack Georgia. Lavrov, Putins & Lilliputins porchmonkey is spreading the word around. Admitting violations of Georgian airspace with a SU fighter ysterday, russia has clearly stated that they couldnt care less about the international opinion. and why should they? Nothing is really going to happen if Russia occupies Georgian territory. Condi visited Tbilisi yesterday too, and reiterating her stand on the issue.
I am in Georgia at the moment, and have been following both russian and Georgian news closely. There is, as usual, nothing about the escalation of the conflict in western media. The situation is explosive.
Now taken in conderation the deals Lillyputin and Gazprom have been closing with Khazakstand and Azerbadijan about a monopoly in distribution of oil and gas in Eastern-Europe and Asia, I would go as far as saying they got Europe by the balls. Now it's time to se the nervous whiteshirts on the stockmarkets around Europe and America sending the oil and gasprices to Putin heaven, and the European leaders moderate their rethoric towards Russia and not committing to solve the problems for Georgia. I think it's a bit too late for action. What do you say, Angela? What will happen if Lilliputin closes the valve on you? And what will happen with Ukrains steel industri if they apply the MAP? No more gas, at least it will be too expensive for them to compete with other vendors.
I guess Lilliputin will continue annexing Abkhazia and South Ossetia, force Ukraine to stay out of NATO, and finally build The Empire.
Smart move, Godfather...
As a PS, I saw that more than 60 journalists have been killed during the war in IRAQ. In the same time span 115 journalists have been killed in Russia.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

What happened in Tbilisi?

Can somebody please explain to me why Lagidze disappeared? In fact most of the cafe's and shops in the centre of Tbilisi vanishes, and in comes shops with a lot of fancy glass, 4 or 5 different cellphones and three inactive persons in blue shirts, and a securityofficer at the door. If not there are chainshops from whatever complete uniteresting business from USA and Europe, or some bank. Tbilisi is losing its personality and starts to get MacDonaldized. Needless to say progress means standardization and decay; the price of western capitalism.