Thursday, April 19, 2012

Third time lucky

The first time I tried to visit Georgia I had a fire in my apartment in Moscow that waylaid any travel plans. The second time inconveniently there was a war. So yesterday clinging wood and crossing toes, I embarked on the bmi flight to Baku and Tbilisi...and arrived!

The flight was emptied at Baku of its burly, Scottish accented men (oil engineers) and a more diverse group carried on.

I cannot claim to have seen anything of the country as yet - a day work-shopping in the office was followed by a hospitable dinner at the Senate restaurant. Here I was introduced to the Georgian custom (not in evidence in Russian Georgian restaurants) of piling plate upon plate of food literally...and fabulous food especially the cheese and the wine, both unique to their places.

In the workshop, I was exposed to the challenges of working here, especially with the current government. In many ways it is set on a well-intentioned course of reform but carried out at breakneck speed and without attending to wider currents in society that might, if consulted, correct egregious errors. You feel the 'wheels may have to come off the bus' before deeper sense prevails - a correcting spell in opposition, in fact, may be the tonic needed (and it has worked elsewhere - Sali Berisha, Albania's current Prime Minister, is a much less divisive and more measured individual now than when he was the authoritarian coloured President of the 90s).

I am looking forward to Saturday when I can get out and breathe in the place.

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