The rest of the journey to Tbilisi was uneventful, in contrast to the previous slight muddle. The metro left for the airport on time, at check-in there was a small commotion with an angry Turk, but I didn’t get what the problem was, it was humid outside, I waited until I could get on the plane and took a photo in the ladies’ toilet:
On the plane, I wished that children under 5 were not allowed to fly. There were many, they were noisy (cruellest was the child who just made a loud shrill piercing sound), I suffered. Fortunately, the flight was not that long. But the time at Istanbul airport was long (6 hours), though I had good work to do. The weather outside was warmer and not so wet.
Then I arrived in Tbilisi at night and caught a taxi driver who had worked as a tiler in Dresden for 25 years.
– From tiler to taxi driver – isn’t it better at home?
– Oh no, Germany was quite good.
– Germany has changed…
And then we were already there. We glided very quietly through the night (I think it was an electric car) at over 80 km/h in places, he blinked obediently although there were no other cars in sight and I thought about changes of location. From 2008 to today – what a transformation Tbilisi has undergone! Delhi has also changed a lot in my years (a lot hasn’t), Hamburg and Henstedt-Rhen not so much.
As agreed, we called my accommodation lady, she eagerly and sleepily welcomed me, took me to my room and I immediately fell into bed, slumbering soundly.
The next day a view out of my window:
I was very happy with the location, it is quiet, very clean and the family lives here too and they are very nice. I did my errands (SIM card – super fast, money exchange – uncomplicated, train ticket – for the day after tomorrow), enjoyed warm sunny weather and rarely pulled out the camera.
Finding my way around the extended city centre is quite easy and I continue to find it a pleasant city. Now a bit of politics. On my last visit 2 years ago, the situation seemed clear to me: Russia is stupid, they are looking to join the West and have wanted to join the EU for decades. Since the Ukraine war, however, things have changed, and especially recently. The governing party is “The Georgian Dream”. And for some time now, the opposition has been calling it “The Russian Dream”. Georgia is conveniently located between Russia and Turkey – and if Europe boycotts trade with Russia, the goods go to Turkey, for example, and then end up in Europe. It’s similar to the way India likes to buy oil from Russia and then sell it on at a profit. And so “boycotted goods” reach the West anyway. This is said to have even brought Georgia an economic increase of 10%. They are also officially not participating in the sanctions.
I’m a real bad in economics and don’t understand a lot of things, and maybe it’s not quite correctly expressed – but that’s the current state of my (supposed) knowledge. Anyway, there is definitely an approachment. Georgians were granted visa-free travel to Russia and now there are supposed to be flights between Moscow and Tbilisi again from the day after tomorrow (they were stopped in 2019). However, the population actually still has anti-Russian tendencies. But I suspect that they are also quite happy with prosperity. In any case, you can see anti-Russian slogans in the cityscape and the Ukrainian flag or its colours appear frequently.
Salome Zurabishvili is the president of Georgia. As an independent candidate, she was the first woman to be elected head of state by the party “The Georgian Dream” in 2018. However, unlike the party, she is considered clearly pro-Western and criticises its approachment with Russia. It is also important to note that since the war in 2008, when Georgia had to cede Abkhazia and South Ossetia, relations with Russia have been delicate anyway. Regarding the sanctions, she says it is politically too difficult for Georgia to go along with them completely.
It seems to me that there is a lot of muddling and juggling in this particular situation with the respective entanglements. I’m curious to see what it will all turn out to be.
But unfortunately it is like so often with me: I think I have understood something, I try to reproduce it – and notice that it is not as clearly sorted in my head as I thought. I have to explore it further and get it sorted and understood.
I may have received a little help for this:
I also wanted to offer Georgia as a travel destination and for that I need a local agency. And this time I actually found one on the internet! We met today, talked for 3 hours – and it fits! Humanly – and work-wise we are also compatible.
We met at the Fabrika, There are some people hanging around, but I didn’t get to look around much.
And now I’m really exhausted and going to sleep. I wonder what I’ll see tomorrow.