Saturday, July 23, 2011

First Day in Rustavi

Credit: Magnus Hoffman
To protect privacy, I'm not going into much detail, but I'm now in my new home in Rustavi.

First, Rustavi itself. The first impression of Rustavi is the stereotype of what one thinks of a "traditional" Soviet city. Flat ground. Row after row of what some call in Tbilisi the "commie flats." Apartment houses. And that's it. A few pockets of trees. Some laundry fluttering from windows. It's a little disorienting, frankly.

Credit: Panoromio

Host family - friendly, gracious, accommodating, interested.

My host - who I'll call Giorgi, the Georgian version of John Smith - turned me on to the three kick-ass Georgian police videos below. In the last decade, the Georgian police has undergone a massive upheaval from old-school badness (i.e., corruption, impotence in the face of mafia-style criminals, complete mistrust by the populace, etc.) to an astonishing new world order of modernization, training, and accountability.

The police videos below reflect a systematic effort to change how police are perceived in Georgia. Whoever created them must be a master of persuasion. They touch all the buttons.

Every new police stations (and, if I'm not mistaken, every town has a new police station) are made of glass. This is to reassure the citizens that the police are transparent in their operations and behaviors.

Police officers receive very good pay. It's so good, and the reputation of police is now so high, that the work draws attorneys and other professions who didn't traditionally consider police work as a career option.

By the way, I loved our lunch and dinner today at my new digs:

  • Grilled eggplant with cilantro
  • Fresh tomato
  • Fresh watermelon
  • Bitingly salty and vivid cheese
  • Two shots of cognac, with a taste of cinnamon, made by "Nino," the woman of the house
  • Grilled potatoes
  • Bread
  • Water


Martin FM Smith - Bolnisi (Georgia) said...

As I said to Sarah, it hasn't been the Republic of Georgia since 1921. You are obviously enjoying it and getting the maximum out of it - well done! The TLG representative in Rustavi is very nice - do you know her as yet? I enjoyed responding to your Georgian point the other day. It is a seriously complex language. I wonder why you call yourself rootless? Georgia to me epitomizes rootedness. And you seem a born survivor, very rooted, with an AAA Charles Darwin rating! (I have only a B) Martin.
PS This blog is very promising: with a few tweaks it could become a good page for people to post all sorts of things, and I guess you'll make an excellent compere! The whole secret is to defocus the 'self' element, I guess: the virtual medium is so inherently narcissistic... Still you are doing quite well there too!

Mzuri said...

We are amused by your impertinent comments, and we will allow them to remain.