Friday, December 3, 2010

Lost and Found in Tbilisi

NOTE: I was going to write a post in response to Neal's call for blog entries on Money in Georgia, but a half-dozen false starts have convinced me that I am incapable write about money in Georgia without sounding either oblivious or patronizing. My experience of Tbilisi has been so varied - from the intimidatingly-priced bottles of wine at L'Accent Francais on Abanos Street to the haggling at the Dry Bridge market - that I don't think I can write about "money in Georgia" any more than I can write about "money in America." Some people have it; some people don't. I have enough. I'll be useless and write about alleyways instead.


Sometimes I convince myself that Tbilisi is a massive found-art exhibition, a magnificent, gleeful playground for wrought-iron statues and abandoned rocking-horses, street-corner pianos and a kitten named Marius who ate my khachapuri on Baratashvili St. One of my favorite Tbilisi pastimes is walking from Rustaveli Avenue into the Old Town and collecting curiosities:
I could spend my life walking city streets in a velvet cape, letting places call back memories. Tbilisi, I think, is one of the most wanderable cities I've been to, in that regard. I let my thoughts take the shape of a streetmap, and my mind runs to the oddest places:
I tend to find the bars on Chardini St somewhat overrated, overpriced, and inauthentic, but this Jungendstil sentry has promised his art gallery will be different!


STELLA! STELLA! STELLA!

It's by no means an ordinary city, but every corner has the first line of a novel. That's why I stayed.

4 comments:

ConnieF said...

Thanks for a lovely blog, delightfully written and interesting. I'm an American married to a Georgian and contemplating moving to Georgia at least part time so your observations are very interesting to me.
I've traveled there several times and my experience was also very different from the TLG'ers. Is it because I am older than 35, don't drink, have traveled a bit, or what?
I could really relate to your essay on the difficulties of building up a social network. If you are there next time I travel there maybe you would like to meet?

Fleur Flaneur said...

Dear Connie,

Thank you for your kind comment! It's great to be able to build up a readership on this blog!

I don't drink much either - a cocktail or two, or a glass of wine with dinner, perhaps, but I find little less appealing than pub crawls (and I'm not a fan of the Perovskaya scene). Unfortunately, that puts a big damper on my ability to meet people thus far.

I'd be happy to meet up in Tbilisi - although I imagine you won't need much showing around! Is your husband from there? I love living in Tbilisi part-time! Where are you based in the US?

ConnieF said...

Thanks for replying! My husbands' family (mother & brother) live in Tbilisi although his family is from Sighnaghi (my favorite town).
We met salsa dancing here in CA.
Right now we live in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose, CA, which is about 45 minutes south of San Fran. My email is constancefinch at yahoo dot com (written out to avoid the spambots). Please send me an email and let's chat!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I really like your blog! I would say that I read the other blog about money, and unfortunately I have to say his observations were superficial and he got many (most) things about "money" in Georgia wrong. It's probably due to his lack of understanding of Georgian culture (he might be new there) amongst other things. Unfortunately, most Georgians have low incomes compared to the West/America which he didn't seem to understand at all. He also doesn't understand that in Georgia is much like Southern Europe and people spend their money very carelessly which appears to foreigners as a sign of wealth, when in fact it's not true at all.

Anyway, I really enjoy your blog! It's my favorite