Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nothing There Tour #2: Gardabani, Part 2: Men in Black

This is part 2 of a long-overdue There's Nothing There Tour report. I was in Gardabani in spring 2012. Part 1 is here

Men in black and blue, Gardabani, Georgia

Seeing Georgians in black was nothing new, especially in the winter, when it's the preferred color of dress for both men and women.

But on this Novrus Bayrami celebration in Gardabani, it was so concentrated among the men and boys as to be remarkable.

There was live music, with a cool mix of traditional pop-ballad and hiphop.

I listened to the music, then continued to wander among the booths.

I maintained periodic phone contact with TLG colleague, Lauren, who was en route with Eva and Monica to join me in Gardabani for the festival.

Traditional cookware, Gardabani, Georgia

At various booths where I stopped, I enjoyed a bit of wine or chacha, so I began to have a pleasant little buzz.

The Simpsons in Gardabani, Georgia

At a certain point, I had to find a toilet. The city hall was next door to the park, and I was directed to the public loo inside the building. Yes, incredibly, this was it:

City hall toilet, Gardabani, Georgia

People! It does not require much effort or money to clean a toilet! And this is for your constituents! Have some respect. Jeez. It was almost as bad as the toilet situation I encountered in Ethiopia, between Harar and Nazret, only that latrine hellhole was darker and wetter.

Getting back to the festival .... the official musical line-up ended, and now the boys put on an impromptu dance showdown.

Now, look at this first video. It's only 27 seconds long. I want you to note the tall guy in the back. He's wearing a stocking cap with FBI on the front. His name is Romeo, but I didn't find that out til later. Foreshadowing.

Now look at this video, where the boys really get into the competitive spirit.

It was so fun watching the guys dance.

And then the festival was over for real, and my colleagues were almost at the park, but not quite. I felt disappointed they missed the festival, but .....

I found myself talking to an Azeri-Georgian gentleman with the help of an Azeri visitor who spoke English. Young Romeo appeared, as well, listening to the conversation. 

The Azeri-Georgian man, perhaps in his 60s, was inviting me to come to his house ..... and then my colleagues arrived.

To be continued ....

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