Tbilisi, Georgia, 2019: the bad stuff
6 months, 3 weeks ago
- Some guy slammed my friend against the wall in a dark and quiet public space and pressed a piece of cloth dipped in chemicals against her mouth. She managed to break free. The police did not treat the matter seriously at all and said things like, oh, you don't know what he wants, maybe it's not that bad. They even tried to leave out the part about the cloth. (A friend says we can report this whole incident including police behaviour to the General Inspection Dept., which controls the police. Leaving this here in case anyone needs it.)
- Other women guests have been stalked by groups of men and molested on public transport.
- Once, I was walking home in the old town at around 12-1am. Two guys drove up to me in a car, rolled down their window and asked, "Do you want to fuck?" Not even a hello.
- A security/police guy stood across the road and made kissy noises at me. They seem to think Asian men with long hair aren't men/straight.
- Racists. A lot. Someone spit on me. An old lady vendor in the market screamed at me for no reason. Another one who has the best spinach in the market won't look at me and then she stuffs the spinach into a bag and throws it at me.
- Georgia's first gay pride parade was held this year. It was really difficult. There were anti-LGBT protests. The parade was cancelled twice. A friend tells me that one morning, anti-gay people patrolled the streets looking for gay people to "detain".
- Once, a cat snuck into my apartment and gave birth while I was asleep. I'm allergic to cats so a friend helped me call the animal shelter. They said I had to pay 30 lari (or was it 50?) for each animal. Fine. They didn't come. We called them the next day, they said they'd come in 20 minutes. They didn't come. They never showed up.
- Same thing with the Silknet employees who wanted to come and change my router. Except, it took them four or five days and every single day they said they'd definitely come but they didn't.
- The air quality is not great. This report says it's among the worst in Europe. This Quora answer provides more global context. Suffice to say it's very noticeable, especially if you've just arrived from Western Europe.
- Once in a while in the news you read about gas explosions in apartments here. I think there's a piece that says some people were killed. Local friend says bitterly that this is not unusual. Even the boiler in my own home is engulfed in a flash of flame sometimes when I turn it on.
- My friend Kader was in his parked car one day when the balcony right behind him crashed to the ground. It was like an earthquake. Look:
I'll write about the good stuff tomorrow.