Top: World's first 360-degree Panorama of Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia, Feb 24/2009, from 12 separate photos...

Saturday, 30 August 2008

People of Georgia

All from Svaneti today. I hope to visit it next month. Waiting for concrete news on the road between Zugdidi & Mestia, which at one point comes very close to the Abkhaz border and has had a Russian peacekeeping checkpoint on it ever since the civil war in the early 1990s.

Friday, 29 August 2008

People of Georgia

My flight from Riga to Tbilisi last night was just over 1/3 full, which would have been really nice for sleeping arrangements if it was longer than a few hours' duration. The suitcase which I had asked London to send all the way to Tbilisi, bypassing a bit of hassle for me in Riga, was there. Someone was waiting for me. It was 24 degrees C, early in the fairly quiet morning dark. I was home at last.

This morning, some confusion over what time it was - an hour later than I'd been told. 8 or so Americans came to the guesthouse where I stay in Tbilisi shortly after I arrived, in the early morning, but I wasn't asleep yet. (They're here to get involved in cooking and food aid for refugees in Gori.) A car alarm ringing its changes before 9 this morning made me think for the umpteenth time of the song "If I had a rocket launcher..." So, up too early, but life goes on with that.

I hope to start posting new images of the new Georgia as soon as possible, instead of the ones from my large back catalogue which were all I had to post from the UK when the war began.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

People of Georgia

All but the 2nd one (Tqibuli, Imereti) are in Svaneti. The 3rd one is at a mineral water spring near Etseri, of which there are about 1800 in Georgia (including the breakaways!). The last one's me in the village of Dizi about 5 years ago.

Riga Layover

24 hours in Riga en route home to Georgia.

The Russian-language Latvian newspaper I picked up on my Air Baltic flight from London indicated that, in a poll, Latvians were exactly even for and against Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Surprising only until one realises that the population of Latvia includes more than 30% Russians.

18 hours or so to go... the waiting gets harder as my arrival approaches. Only love for this place could account for how I feel.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Going Home

Today. At last.

Once I'm there, I'll do my best to continue to deliver daily NEW pictures and writing, and video too, from the new Georgia. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile, for those of you who live in or near London, UK, here's a really good Georgian restaurant to try:
197c Kensington High Street
London, W8 6BA
Tel. 020 7937 1551

I was there a few days ago with old Georgia friends. It tasted as if I was back in Tbilisi, sampling the unique, largely undiscovered cuisine of my adopted homeland.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Russia Takes 2 Big Bites out of Georgia

(Welcome, those from Guam & Belarus, to the blog for the first time.)

Today Russia moved very fast, after about 16 years of holding back, formally to recognise the independence of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A dark day for Georgia, a bright one - supposedly - for the two breakaways, who have wanted this for all these years. The new world order continues to make itself felt across the globe, day by day.
I'll be back in Georgia in 2 1/2 days, and I can only imagine what it'll be like: gloomy and resigned or furious and riotous. But it's home for all that, a place I have chosen to live in for better or worse.

People of Georgia

Soon, so soon, I return to a country which I call home but where almost everything has changed since my departure 2 1/2 months earlier. Mixed feelings about that, but mostly just a longing to be with my people again.

Monday, 25 August 2008

People of Georgia

I know, most of these people pictures have been of Svans; but they're Georgians too.  Sandwiched nicely between Abkhazia and South Ossetia, just to keep things interesting, and traditionally the most inaccessible part of the country.  But for all that, well visited by tourists even up until today.  I'll be back up to YOU soon as well.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

People of Georgia

What have you endured?
What have you and your "enemies" done to yourselves by doing it to each other?
How much more can you take?
Can you ever let go?
Can you ever forgive and ask for forgiveness?
Ghmertma itsis, khalkho.

Welcome to 2 more countries since yesterday,
bringing the total to 85!:
Serbia and - at last - South Korea.