Friday, June 28, 2013

28 June 2013: Street Days

If you have ever considered what life was like for heroin addicts in Tbilisi in the 1990s, you must watch "Street Days," directed by Levan Koguashvili.  We watched this movie today during our morning lecture.  Sad and yet funny.  The Georgian police threaten the main character "Checkie"--a lovable addict--with arrest unless he will set up the son of a government minister.  Get him high, plant some drugs on him, and the cops would take over from there.  The son is no innocent; he initially came to Checkie and asked him to hook him and his other high school buddies up with some "junk" but Checkie refused.  After all, the boy is just a kid AND the son of his former classmate.  The police have him in a tight spot, however, and finally Checkie is forced to either corrupt and/or disgrace the son of his friend OR, as it turns out, kill himself.  I am sure you can guess which he chose (although it took me by surprise when he did it).  The film was depressing but VERY well made.  I highly recommend it.

Our second lecture was about public opinion in the Caucasus and featured the data (and a website with which to manipulate it) of several years' worth of research and polling in the three south Caucasus countries--Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.  A valuable tool and one that I am sure I will use as I do research for my thesis for this course.  I spent some time briefly discussing my possible topic--Georgian/Iranian relations--with our lecturer today.  I will reflect on the topic here more when I have a bit more time.

A funny side note: I expected Georgians to be dressed very formally when out and about, much like I observed years ago in Ukraine.  In fact, Georgian men and women dress very casually--jeans, tank tops, flats, etc.  Very few stiletto heels, mini skirts, and fishnet stockings worn by Ukrainian women.  So I asked Thea if I could pass as a Georgian.  She immediately said no--neither Kristin nor I could pass.  I asked her: is it my hair, my skin, my clothes?  She said no...and then, through the help of Eka, she said that `'You do not look like you have lived under a Soviet occupation.  You look too happy."  Wow! For the record, I do NOT think that Georgians look unhappy.  On the contrary, they appear (and are) very pleasant.  And yet there IS a sadness here which was reflected in "Street Days."  Humor in the face of despair--that is how the Georgians must have survived the occupation.

And now, the events of my day:
-Morning jog--in one inch of mud since it rained buckets yesterday.
-Left a tad too late for the marshrutka (mini bus) this morning so, sigh, had to take a cab!
-Had a shawarma with Kristin and a couple of the guys from our group.  We are the 29 and older club. :-)
-Walked much around Old Tbilisi, visited the Sioni church, and enjoyed a light dinner at a cute cafe.
-Attended Tbilisi's very on marionnette theatre this evening as a group.  Very creative.
-It is late and I am tired.  We leave tomorrow morning at 8am for a two-day trip to the mountains where I will likely NOT have wireless so  I may lag behind on my blog.  Not to worry! I will return.

1 comment:

Tanners said...

take some pictures!