I am here for a week massaging my favorite client on earth (sorry Simon Cowell, you’ve been bumped down a notch from my #1 spot for now), President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakaashvili, who invited me to his interesting country.
Happily married, father of two, busy running the country and yet he finds time for a massage or two. He has been taking excellent care of me, I feel really safe and have everything I could possibly need. He LOVES Americans and says my massage is the best he has ever had (massaged him for the first time if you remember that blog, last summer, right before Russia and Georgia fought).
Naturally after such a nasty war, he needs more massages on the shoulders that Russia keeps trying to sit on (please read this with sense of humor, lighten up folks).
Mr. President is so intelligent, sharp witted, generous, friendly and fun, he is always smiling and making sure everyone has enough to eat and drink. Fighting hard here to keep my trim figure, but the first thing he says when he sees me is “are you hungry?” and then proceeds to order massive amounts of food. Ha ha. I read that in Georgia, they believe guests/visitors are a “gift from god” and they LOVE to feed their visitors.
I will blog more later and as TONS more pictures as it is sunny and warm out today and I want to get the hell out of my hotel room. He has also been a VERY good influence on me, I have been getting up at 9am every day and going to bed at midnight. So I am now (well, for NOW) a day person. Lets see how long it lasts.
Pic taken on the plane ^ you know when you fly you can see where the hell you are going? I couldn’t help but get nervous when I was watching that screen seeing names of places I have never heard of or can even pronounce. But I felt safe, a plane full of heavily armed body guards, the emphasis on the word HEAVILY. JEEEEZE!!!
When we landed, the body guards took me here. Since we can’t communicate, I had NO idea where we were going or why. I dragged my lap top with me as I had no idea, turns out they just wanted to show me around, to the “Black Sea” which looks more brown than Black actually.
The Black Sea in Batumi ^
The pres was nice enough to first show me his beach estate in Tabuli, then the next day we flew to Tbilisi. This ^ is a view from my room here in Tbilisi. There are hardly ANY cross walks here, so people and animals are always bookin’ it across the streets and from my hotel room view, it looks like that video game Frogger.
Secret Service Coffee anyone?
Entrance to my hotel. Looks peaceful but there is construction going on on top, on the side, across the street, it is loud as FOOK. But I am sure my room has the best view of Tbilisi.
They were supposed to have a great fitness room, but when I asked to see it, they cringed. They brought me there and it was an old beat up tread mill, looked rusty and had some cow webs it on, a sad set of free weights and a super old fashioned exercise bike. I was like, um, never mind. The toilet in the fitness room made me laugh. I have not seen one of these since I was in Italy. Make sure you aim correctly ladies or your shoes will have piss all over them.
View from my room at night – looks GORGEOUS.
The President has SO MANY body guards, he has many to spare. He had them watching over me every day and I felt SO safe and secure. They are all so punctual, efficient, professional and dependable, it is amazing. Like a well oiled machine. The picture above is me and “Zoro #1”. He is a Major in the Military, not just a bodyguard. Super nice guy too. SUPER proud of his wife and kids (showing each other pictures while waiting for dinner was a great way to pass the time, as talking was rather difficult. His English is WAY better than my Georgian (can’t speak a word of it yet).
My favorite place to eat turned out to be a place called “The Old House” or something along those lines. This massive house had many tiny little houses where you would go into with your tiny group to eat. The waiters would come in to each little house to wait on the guest. Very private, cozy and warm. I had the guards bring me there a few times as the Greek salad and chicken were the healthiest things I could find anywhere to eat. Nice and lean.
Zoro # 1 told me that the blue jacket that was hanging on the walls of the Old House was a traditional old fashioned Georgia attire called a Chokha . So I posed in it. Could NOT for the life of me get it to close around the chest area, but you get the idea. Not sure if those things in the chest pockets were supposed to be bullets or magic markers though.
People were on the side of the street, everywhere, selling something. This boy sold me and the body guards (who baby sit me every day, all day, when the massage is over). There are also free roaming COWS, dogs, sheep and goats walking everywhere, on the side of roads, highways, etc, it is so bizarre. The dogs and cats are all free agents. They live off of trash and the dogs chase the cars, it’s mad.
Another thing that FREAKED me out about this place was the MAD driving. I am not exaggerating here folks, I thought I was going to DIE pretty much every day I got in a car. My drivers were the best, highly trained BUT it is tradition there to pass other cars, apparently without any FEAR. There were always two lanes, one going one way, one going the other way. We would pass like 20 cars and in the lane coming towards us were other cars, trucks buses etc, and I would FREAK OUT screaming for my life as there was no where to go and I was counting on a head on collision, but somehow it works out. The all beep and honk and then the row of cars lets the passing car back into line to avoid head on collision. I am sure I got a few gray hairs there just from the driving in cars experiences. No need for amusement parks there, just take a fucking drive, you will get your fill of adrenaline. WOW!! I used to think Rome and Boston were the craziest places to drive, with Guatemala as the runner up, but Georgia takes the prize now for wild drivers. lol. It took me like 5 days to get used to the driving, to trust my drivers. By the end of my stay, I was totally relaxed and having fun when they drove. It is just a culture shock if you are not used to it.
The Pres is so fucking sweet, he makes the body guards take me everywhere and show me shit. Too bad I realized I can use Bable Fish translator on my Crackberry a bit too late, I wanted to tell them I (1) HATE driving anywhere in a car (2) Hate churches and religion all together (3) If we can’t walk there, I don’t wanna go. But alas, we drove like an hour to the country side to see this OLD church, it is from the 1st century. OMFG. I was wearing my flaming RED pants, so eyebrows were raised when I was in the churches we saw. Pffffft!
Taking pictures inside the churches, whilst wearing flaming red pants will surely send you to hell in a hand basket.
Was super cold inside the churches, everyone was doing those hail Mary gestures and some were crying. There were many little old ladies dressed in black REALLY trying to get money out of us for a little guided tour (unofficial tour) of the churches. They were brutal, like following us and wanting cash NOW. Thing is, I don’t care enough about it to want a tour and they can’t speak English or German and I can’t understand or speak Georgian, so what is the point?
Left ^ Zoro #1 trying to let the ladies in black down gently “no, we are not buying anymore God today, thanks” ha ha. He would never say that. I’m just playin.
This was inside one of the churches. I assume is says “Please do not come into our houses of the holy wearing slutty red pants or mini skirts, you skanks” and or “don’t take any pictures (unless you donate some cash, betch”). Don’t mind me, I am over tired and enjoy pushing the envelope when I am cranky/exhausted.
Behind the 1st century church, see that tree with all the rags tied to each branch? Zoro #1 told me it’s a “witch tree”. Not sure what he meant, but I saw many of those around. Wondering if that is where the term “on the rag” came from, as in “she’s such a witch when she’s on the rag”.
A view from the old church ^
What I hated was there was lots of Monk like dudes up there all trying to get money out of us. Hey, selling God anyone? I have to quote my hero Mr. Zappa once again “Tax the churches!!!” No one has any fucking money in this country because they are so busy going to church all day, every day, they can’t/won’t/don’t have time to work and earn anything. They are WHIPPED. Religion rules here. Still.
It finally dawned on me how to communicate with the drivers/body guards with the internet translator on my crackberry and I told them I fucking hate churches, religion and basically just want to go for a jog and write my sex column back at my room and they were laughing their asses off. I mean, they were just doing their job and the pres was just being sweet wanting me to see everything, but as I said, if I can’t walk there, I don’t want to go. Planes, Trains, automobiles are no fun for me, I feel trapped like, like I am in jail. Restrained. UGH.
Outside the churches were locals pushing their handmade gear onto tourist and believe it or not, THIS ^ is a traditional Georgian style hat. I felt like a sesame street character/Muppet in this thing. It was warm as fuck, but I already stand out in my flaming red pants, so I had to pass on this one.
As we drove to get me some blank CD’s so I could burn the pres and the drivers some more music (HATE the music on the radio in the car here) I got to thinking that Tbilisi looks like Rome, but then I realized, this place is MUCH older than Rome. Those Roman copy cats. As I write this, I hear massive dog barking going on, as usual, I walk to balcony and look down, and as usual, the dogs are chasing the cars. wtf?
If you read my Rome blog (still not done with that one yet either) you would see what I mean, about how the places look similar. The people here are miles (erm, kilometers) friendlier than the snotty cunts in Rome. That place has turned into the most unfriendly place I have ever been. Lighten up people, perhaps cut down on the espresso and sugar and relax. Tourist are a good thing, they bring money. The first time I went to Rome in 1991, the folks were much friendlier, I wonder what happened. Perhaps the economy made them bitter, but again, you would think they would be even nicer to tourist, not bitchier.
I will ad more pics and text as soon as I can, I need to get out and stretch my stems.
Went out to dinner again with the President and his posse in such a great restaurant. It is so COOL how all of his guards scope out the place first and I mean miles before the place you can see cops and guards everywhere. SUPER tight security. I thought the Rolling Stones were VIP and all until I met and hung with Mr. President. It was so exciting to see all of this. I can not stress how efficient and tight they all are. You can tell how loyal these men are to him, it is amazing. I loved hanging with the guards, I always had a couple tall, built, handsome, armed men around me who always open the doors for me and pay for everything! It’s like having a few WONDERFUL boyfriends around you at all times. lol.
After dinner I had the guards drive me to a karaoke bar (forget the name of the place off the top of my head) but these flags hanging were not far from the karaoke joint.
Tbilisi even has a Beatles Cafe/Bar. I walked in and it smelt like Grandma’s moldy old cellar and it was empty as FUCK. The stench alone made me run out of there. They mean well, but “ooooh whooo that smell, can’t you smell that smell?”
This is Zoro #2 (different body guards all the time, I can’t even COUNT how many I met so far). Zoro #2 as you can see, is fit as fuck and easy on the eyes. Walking into places with them is hilarious. They scope the place out and NO ONE gets in their way. The karoake bar was the smokiest place I’ve ever been too (no smoking ban gonna happen there for another 20 years I am guessing.
The karaoke DJ was a microphone WHORE and would NOT stop singing or talking. No matter who sang, he was there singing right next to the singer, most of the time singing LOUDER than the singer and while the singer gave it their all, the DJ would just start talking into the mic, announcing their name, the name of the song, etc, DURING their song. If he did that in NYC he would get a fist in the face for sure.
They had NO JAMES BROWN anywhere on their song list/book. UGH, how can you forget James Brown?? They had Bad Company and loads of random USA/UK hits, but the God Father of Soul? no dice. I sang Ike and Tina’s Proud Mary and brought the house down. Zoro #2’s jaw hit the floor. Super funny. We only stayed a little while as our eyes were burning out of our heads.
Zoro #2 asked for some pics of us together, not sure how to get them to him as they are all so KGB, erm, you know what I mean, no numbers or email addresses, etc.. I burnt them onto a dvd and gave it to a driver to pass onto Zoro 1 & 2. I burnt them SO MAN cd’s of blues, rock, funk, punk and some rap/hip hop too, as I could not stand the crap on the radio on the cars. UGH. They were LOVING the mixes I made.
I am guessing this is the tidiest street/passage way in the city. Simply gorgeous.
Two of the funnies things the Pres said to me was that Ray Charles came to Tbilisi a few years ago, before he died and WHOEVER it was in charge of such things too him SIGHT SEEING. Guess they missed that memo that he can’t fucking see. After the tour Ray said his favorite part of his visit, was in fact, the sight seeing. He probably found it really hilarious.
Last night before I went to bed, I heard MASSIVE shooting like noises, SUPER LOUD, I wasn’t sure if it was fireworks or another attack from Mr. Putin and his posse. I was really frightened. I mentioned that to the Pres today during his massage and he made yet another wise crack saying that’s why they were unprepared when Russia attacked last summer, as they all thought it was merely fireworks too. Ha ha. He CRACKS me up!!!
One of the many cool shops in Tbilisi ^
The videos I made to go along wtih this trip can be seen here:
PART ZERO (the prequel)
From a reader:
“Dear Doctor Dot,
I was chatting with my big brother today and asked him about Georgia and his main points about Tbilisi are:
The locals whilst very friendly have a complete lack of empathy or regard for fellow humankind.
For example – when someone got run over by a car, a policeman merely stood next to the dead victim whose entrails were all over the place and waited for the ambulance to arrive, whilst passers by, including children, strolled by barely glancing over, as though it’s an everyday occurrance.
No attempt to cover the body or cordon off the area.
Nothing worked, such as lifts etc., and his main gripe was the pollution in the air, which he is convinced has affected his health.
He also thought the food was terrible, but this was 5-6 years ago so it might have improved.
He lived there for about 6 months at the Sheraton Metachi Palace which he said was fine.
He recommends a German informal restaurant called “Rainers” but there are probably lots of others to choose from nowadays.
One of my German colleagues was visiting me the other day (I’ve been off work since an accident last Xmas, but that’s another story) and she said that every single person she knows from our company that has stayed in Georgia for more than a few weeks has suffered subsequent health problems…
Coincidence or what?
The New York Times even commented on this blog: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/a-president-his-masseuse-and-her-blog/
Dr. Dot on facebook: www.facebook.com/drdotislovinlife