Friday, October 28, 2016

Graffiti of Tbilisi

The streets of Tbilisi display some really amazing graffiti. There are artists out there with beautiful talent, and kids with hilarious misunderstanding of the English language.

Unfortunately, most of the best graffiti I saw while sitting on a moving bus, and I was not dedicated to this project enough to go all over the city seeking the actual best graffiti. 

So instead you have this:

Most "convenient-for-me graffiti that I liked" of Tbilisi

"Hey fool do you know? We pay for the spase shuttle 1.7 billion dollars"
"Long live the heroes" (I think...)

"Caucasus Power"

I really hope this is a clever play on The GOP...
not graffiti, but on the street -
this is my favorite wheelchair ramp in Tbilisi

Korean graffiti near the city's only (to my knowledge) Korean restaurant
CL is a Koren pop star
I guess this is promoting disability awareness/acceptance?
Pick up after your pet
Excerpt from a poem by Vladimir Mayakovsky:
"Eat pineapples, chew grouse
Your last day will turn out bourgeois"
(it rhymes in Russian...)

Georgian kids have an obsession with Tupac

and not so much an obsession with school...

This stencil graffiti is EVERYWHERE

I think I've seen others by this artist, really beautiful!

A rare anti-hate message

Another stencil I've seen a few times


Some fellow Georgian Wanderers submitted more pictures!
Georgian Wanderer Ethan and Bob Dylan in the tunnel out by the old Hippodrome

under the roundabout in Vake

Disney characters in Vake:

not sure what this is, but it's super creepy

the Vake street where a mafia hit occurred in early Sep 2016

Ninoshvili Street

The popular Tbilisi graffiti character "lamb" about to
dig into some khinkali in the Rustaveli underpass

Georgia proverb: measure 100 times, cut once

I do not know what this is...spotted in Old Town

The power of One Direction reaches all the way to Tbilisi

Have you seen any cool graffiti in Tbilisi?
Send it my way and I will post it here!

Instagram: Samanthaksa

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Georgia's Hottest Political Figures

This isn't the most professional post...but after the October 8th elections, I think we deserve a little fun.

Please also note, that this is not a judgement of their talent or performance in their jobs, and as politicians they should certainly be assessed by qualities other than their physical appearance. However, since there is a celebrity culture surrounding Georgian politicians, and since so many are young and inexperienced or entered politics straight from being an athlete (judo and football are favorites) or actor, I feel like this list is somewhat fair, if not good or useful.

Plus a legitimate media outlet made a similar post in Jan 2015, so...

Of course, we must start with Mr. Kakha Kaladze - former Deputy PM and Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. He was also one of Georgia's best football players in the mid-early 2000s before he retired and entered politics, as mentioned in this classic post...
He is number 2 on Georgian Dream's party list, but there is talk of him turning down the Parliament seat he won, and being re-appointed as Deputy PM and Minister of Energy
PS - the man who does his hair everyday is also my Tbilisi stylist!!

as a young footballer

as a young politician

as an older, more distinguished, bearded politician

Giga Bokeria is a leader in the opposition party United National Movement. While his peak of hotness is definitely behind him...Bokeria has this smoldering, dark 90-s, bad boy look about him. Also, he was a major player in the 2003 Rose Revolution - extra points for social activism that changed the world.

troubled soul Bokeria
A little less hot Bokeria...

Ex-Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania is now leading the Free Democrats, making a serious play for power in the 2016 parliamentary elections...and a serious play for our hearts  ;)
*post-elections update - Free Democrats failed to reach the 5% threshold for a seat in Parliament and Alasania resigned as head of the party without explanation*

Next, we have the not-so-famous Mariam Sajaia. What this United National Movement MP lacks in name recognition, she makes up for in bouncy hair and a piercing stare. Also, she became a member of parliament at the ripe old age of 21! However, she only voted 3.55% of the time during her tenure in Parliament from 2012-2016, as she was studying abroad at George Washington University. Thankfully, she has not been reelected. Gotta love #postsovietpolitics

Another UNM MP, Tina Bokuchava was elected in 2012 at the age of 29. I met her while I was working at Parliament - she came and spoke at a special conference on violence against women, even though she was on maternity leave! This video does make me a little uncomfortable...really displays the celebritization of Georgian politicians (which this post shamefully proliferates), and also displays Georgia's streak of bad feminism

Ketevan Bochorishvili is the Vice Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia. I don't really know anything else about her except she's super cute.
A rare Georgian natural blonde? Who can say...

Ms. Nino Kalandadze was a member of parliament from 2004-2008, and was in the running again this year as number 29 on UNM's party list of MP candidates. Based on their percentage of the popular vote, they won just 27 close, that's gotta sting. Kalandadze is director of the Tbilisi-based Saakashvili Presidential Library, and was deputy foreign minister from 2008-2012.
(not to be confused with Miss Georgia 2006 of the same name)

Look at that vision of reform glittering in her eyes
Ministering the Affairs

Tamar Chugoshvili was head of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association from 2010-2012. She worked as an advisor to the Prime Minister, and as the head of the Foreign Relations Unit at Georgian Dream. She has an MPA from Harvard's Kennedy school...definitely one to watch.

Tamar Khulordava is Georgia's First Deputy Minister of Corrections. Like so many young politicians, her path to public service has been through law. From 2005-2015, she managed the Rule of Law Program at the EU Delegation in Georgia. She was number 7 on Georgian Dream's party list, and will become an MP in the next session.
Locking up criminals...and our hearts

Kakhaber Kuchava is another legal expert and a businessman. He is also the CEO of mining company JSC Georgian Copper and Gold. Number 11 on Georgian Dream's party list, he will become an MP in November.
Laughing because he is rich and becoming powerful

Vera Kobalia was the Minster of Economy and Sustainable Development from 2010-2012, and objectively gorgeous. She grew up in Canada after her family fled the post-war instability in Abkhazia in 1996. Appointed as Minister at the age of 28 with little experience or relevant education, she fought corruption under the slogan "no nepotism." 

Khatuna Kalmakhelidze was the Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance from December 2009 to September 2012. She is US-educated from Hunter College in NY and the George Washington University in DC. She is now a university lecturer in Tbilisi.
That hair is unbelievably bouncy

I realized many interesting trends while researching this post - the majority of Georgian politicians are men, but women are making serious political gains. The gender gap is also stratified by age - older politicians are much more likely to be men, while women are beginning to dominate among the younger cohort.

Also, as you probably noticed, there are much more attractive women than men...some reasons for this:
1. I, a straight woman, compiled this list, and am likely much harsher when evaluating men than women

2. As a 22 year old, I also tend to find people closer to my age more attractive, and (as I explain here) Georgian men tend to age very poorly. Since there are more women in the younger classes of politicians, it's more likely that the women will be attractive

3. Young Georgian women are smart, driven, and the wave of post-Soviet hiring has focused on replacing old-style workers with new, young visionaries untainted by the Soviet system giving young people many opportunities unthinkable in the west. Georgia also has pretty good paid parental leave laws, which allow women to continue working after having a child

4. For women, physical appearance is much more important than for men. Men still do most hiring, and less attractive women are less likely to be hired/tapped for a position of power. Also, it is much easier for women to adjust their looks than men, through makeup, hair, clothing, etc.

*This post inspired by this 2012 video from Georgian Journal