Tuesday, May 3, 2016

St. Petersburg and Tbilisi: a Brief Comparison

In Tbilisi...the women wear fashion sneakers
In St. Petersburg...the women wear high heels

In Tbilisi...people walk fast
In St. Petersburg...people walk faster

In Tbilisi...people are short (especially women)
In St. Petersburg...people are around my height

In Tbilisi...average people do the "dirty jobs"
In St. Petersburg...immigrants (sometimes Georgians) do the "dirty jobs"

In Tbilisi...people everywhere sell their homemade and homegrown products, and Western stores and companies are celebrated politically, but often stand empty, although Georgia thinks it's BFFs with America
In St. Petersburg...everything is for sale and being marketed in the 'Western' style, although Russia paints itself as the opposing pole of the West

In Tbilisi...I will always be an outsider
In St. Petersburg...I could physically blend in, and at least attempt to communicate with people in the language of their hearts and homes

In Tbilisi...I feel constantly watched, guarded, and sometimes overprotected, but generally very safe
In St. Petersburg...I sometimes felt threatened by Georgians and other immigrants (a generally irrational fear born of pervasive systemic racism)

In Tbilisi...tourists didn't become significantly noticeable on a daily basis until mid-June, and they're mostly from Poland, Ukraine, and Russia
In St. Petersburg...I was constantly inundated with tourists from all over the world

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