Last week in Tbilisi I bought 3 boxes of Barf laundry soap.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
My friend, Dave, runs a journalism master's program in Tbilisi.
A French journalism trainer, with alarmingly little English skills, is teaching radio there for three weeks.
On Monday, Dave asked him if he had all the equipment he needed.
The response? "Yes, the sky is very blue today."
Friday, October 28, 2005
To pretty things up for George W. Bush's visit, Georgia's President Sakashvili gave the buildings in Tbilisi's Old Town a fresh coat of paint, and re-paved the streets and sidewalks. They needed repaving, since they both resembled the texture of the moon's surface.
When I was there last week, workers were jack hammering through the newly paved sidewalks.
Looking for the all the manhole covers they steamrolled over.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Apparently, Camilla the Dog has been barking non-stop at a hedgehog that has taken up residence in Wolfgang and Yvonne's yard.
At 4 am, Camilla makes like she needs to pee, then trots out to the yard to hunt down the poor hedgehog.
Wolfgang finally had enough. He evicted the hedgehog, bundling it up in a sack to take over to the woods along the castle ruins.
He and Camilla and Hedgehog are making their way to the woods when Wolfgang is stopped by an old lady.
"What do you have in the bag," she asked.
"A hedgehog. It's driving my dog crazy."
The old lady--disturbingly knowledgeable about rodents--reamed Wolfgang out for disturbing the habitat, saying he was killing the poor animal.
So Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is back in W. and Y's yard, and Camilla is back to her 4 am pee pleas.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I was somewhere in Transylvania.
The editor I was sent there to help had put me in a hotel far from the center of town. Far from the town, in fact.
I requested a wake-up call, and paid the 10 extra lei it cost for such a demand.
I settled into the room and took a shower. Since the shower was not separated from the rest of the bathroom (just a drain in the middle of the bathroom), and since I forgot to remove the towel, the toilet paper, my brush the toothbrush, et. al., everything got soaking wet.
I snuggled into bed and promptly fell asleep. I awoke a couple of hours later when a rusty, broken spring poked through my U-shaped mattress and impaled me in the ass. I was bleeding fairly badly, so stumbled into the bathroom to get a better look.
I slipped on all the water.
I went back and laid atop my broken-springed, U-shaped mattress, holding my bleeding ass, knowing then why the Fodor's Guide suggests getting a tetanus shot before going to Romania.
In the morning I never received my wake-up call.
I asked the receptionist why, and she fussed at me.
"The phone in your room does not work," she said, "so how can I give you a wake up call?!"
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Last week I posted an entry, an email from my dear friend Rob working in Afghanistan.
He died Tuesday.
His Afghan colleagues wrote the following tribute:
We are sharing a very sad day. I am fortunate to be here, though, the
place where I have met and learnt to love Rob, carrying on a common
passion day after day along many months. Here I have been able to share
our sadness with his trainees in Pajhwok. We did it today soon after
getting the awful news from Lisa and Tom; just Pajhwok staff and me. A
gathering open to all Rob’s friends and colleagues will take place on
Sunday at 2PM, again in Pajhwok premises.
Today it was like many of the weekly staff meetings in the news room in
which Rob has participated. This time there was a photo of him standing
in Pajhwok garden last spring, wearing a Pashto gillet, looking straight
to the camera, smiling. A white thin candle has been lightened in front
of it. The emptiness I was feeling every time that Rob was not in the
staff meeting is just a small measure of the emptiness we were all
Dost wrote a poem about our tears; because of his tears he was not able
to read it. I will forward to you as soon as it is translated into
English. Some others managed to speak: Danish, Farida, me. Then we were
all together in silence during some minutes.
Our Afghan friends and colleagues have said many times and again today
that they were not feeling Rob as a foreigner but as man, a companion, a
colleague, a brother, a struggler, feeling through him that we are the
same human beings and boundaries artificial. Someone else told me that
the day he was saying good-bye to Pajhwok –I was no longer there- he
have shouted: “the last American asshole is leaving!” It was hard not to
love Rob, good to be able to keep him in our hearts.
He strongly wanted to continue working in Afghanistan, more than in any
other place, and I have recommended him as a trainer for The Killid
Group. The contract was going to be e-mailed yesterday or today
proposing him to start his new job on November 1st.
Each one of us is unique, but only when we reach our uniqueness we
become an example. It is a long road. Rob has traveled it in his very
particular way, thus becoming an example worth to follow. He was a great
professional who loved and defended fiercely the essence of our
profession. He was an extraordinary trainer. He was both because he was
free of selfishness and had a sense of solidarity, friendship and
humanity that one rarely meets in life; curious, diffident, straight and
honest as few. We will continue thinking of him when facing our daily
crossroads. What would Rob say? How would he tackle this problem? How
would his firm tenderness help?”
I have already sent an e-mail to his wife and daughter with this and
other words that could make them perceive better the “Rob in the world
and among people” to be proud of, to love and thank.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
What I learned from a friend last night at a pizzeria:
A while back she was a journalism trainer in Romania (broadcast).
She did some research on the station she was assigned to help, and came up with more than a little dirt.
Turns out the owner financed his paper by selling Romanian babies to childless New York couples (most of the new mothers were likely told their babies had died).
This guy was (probably still is) getting handouts from Western governments all over the place. Gotta love this democracy-building game we're in.