taxi drivers

After a great day and late night with the Swedish crew here I was lazy enough to take taxis four times (!) in one day (average cost 3 USD). I usually pitch the few Georgian words I’ve learned, “Hello, how are you?”. They answer and toss the question back at me, “kargat“, fine, I says, and trust between us is established. As a rule, they then ask in Russian, “Otkuda ty, brat?” Where are you from, brother? and the conversation is in motion…

Taxi driver 1

This man in his 50’s justifyably complained that there are no jobs around, times are difficult. I know this is true. But sometimes it is easy to see what you don’t have, and less easy to see what you do have, so I suggested to him that it seems that Georgians are rich when it comes to relationships and culture. “Listen, brother, for what do we need love when we don’t even have money for rent?” he asked retorically, reminding me that I probably take my material well-being forgranted. Despite our differences we really connected and just like he enriched my life that day, I think I also may have enriched his, simply by hearing him out and sharing some honest thoughts.

Taxi driver 2

The second driver brought up equally thoughtful philosophical aspects of life: “Many have gotten out of touch with spirituality, materialism is all they care about” he said, referring primarily to my [western] society but also to the modern segments of Georgia. That was kind of the point I was trying to get across to the first taximan, that there is more to life than fine material living standards. But then again, that’s easy for me to say who’s always been able to buy the food, clothing and housing i need..

Taxi driver 3

This fellow shared a citizen’s perspective on the conflict at hand. “Russians are our neighbours. We don’t have anything against them. It is them up there [politicians, people in power] who’s creating these problems.” It is not the first time I get this feeling, that most people prefer much to live side by side in peace, not paying attention to different passports but rather the similarities and the benefits of interaction..

Taxi driver 4

After dancing away to the beats of Erykah Badu live in Tbilisi and a glass of sweet red wine in great company I caught another taxi back to the hotel. It was getting late and I needed some rest. A guy my age pulled up his dented worn out BMW with tinted windows. He was more into his smokes and technobeats than discussing philosophy with me, so we sat in silence for a few minutes until he dropped me off.

Needless to say, taxirides here enrich my perspectives on things.

After 6 nights in Tbilisi – for Swedish contingent meeting and a drivers instructors training – it’s nice to be back “home” in Gori.. Ready for more patrols tomorrow morning.


About wangaa

A couple of years ago some people I know unanimously said that “Aron, he’s a seeker.” At the time that was undoubtedly true, but since then I think that aspect of me has subsided somewhat. I’ve taken some time off and explored the world within and without, and through the support of beautiful teachers, friends, family, books and practice I found more clarity in life. So grateful for this journey! Perhaps this blogg will serve as inspiration or reflection for a reader, perhaps someone simply is interested in what I'm up to. But it is also very much for myself. For I am searching in waters which are not known to me, and should I sail astray, hopefully this blogg can track me back to safer waters.
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6 Responses to taxi drivers

  1. Johanna Löfvenius says:

    Erykah Badu live i Tblisi – det låter det… Och allt annat för den delen också! Kul å läsa! Kram Johanna

  2. wangaa says:

    Ja, det var fett. Hela Georgiens elit var där kändes det som, kommer inte kändisar av hennes kaliber hit så ofta misstänker jag. Kul att du följer mitt äventyr här! Kram!

  3. jon says:

    Underhållande att läsa och intressanta perspektiv. Nu har jag lagt till en prenumeration. Kram

  4. Greg Nemet says:

    OK since it looks like you are forming somewhat of a cyber-groupie following I’ll join their ranks with my minor remarks. So I have told you that my childhood was spent in Tbilisi. Now I’ll put my money where my mouth is. I’ll give you a little brief analysis of your photos.

    Photo # 1 from where you took it was my childhood road to-and-from school for 5 consecutive years. The red and white house is a former house residence of one of the many wealthy capitalists of the 19th century (nationality of set person I will withhold haha). In that building I bought my school supplies I doubt that this store is there till this day. Behind that building is where my mom’s friend worked at the national museum, often we would stop by her work on the way home and I would run around the empty halls while the two ladies socialized over coffee (Turkish I assume, although as an Armenian I should never use that reference haha). Exactly where you stand while taking the shot across the street is an arch (passage) through that building onto a street where my school stands to this day (at least it was there in 2010) Armenian School #104 (the last of its kind).

    Photo # 2 This photo was taken at the footsteps of Narikala citadel. If I’m not mistaken to your left and above is the Statue of Mother Georgia. That neighborhood holds a lot of painful memories for my father, literally within a few blocks into the center of town was the former residence of my great grandfather who was arrested by the man from the town where you currently live, (wink wink) while he was serving as the Minister Of Finance of Georgian SSR in 1936. He was murdered a month later in November of ’36 so that makes it 75 years ago. A few blocks down past the church in your photo (there should be another church “bigger one” right next to that one) is where my widowed great grandmother was given a communal apartment and the birth place of my father in 1956. The neighborhood is called Maidan or Maidani (I don’t know what Georgians call it these days) it is a very old neighborhood with a significantly diverse population (at one point). If you walk towards the river you can walk past the Armenian Cathedral Saint Sarkis, Georgian Cathedral Sioni, Georgia’s main Synagogue and ultimately you would hit the Turkish bath’s right before the river.

    Photo #3 looks like a very good photo of a friend I went to high school with, seemingly enjoying an imported beverage with a few buddies. I can’t quite tell exactly where you are but the Irish flag in the background is misleading. My hunch says its not far from the central square (the one with a huge column of Saint George covered in GOLD). All I know is that I’ve been on those exact mountains behind you. Actually if I may suggest you take a ride up the tram to where the TV tower is (my favorite childhood activity) chances are to get to the tram station you will pass my old house.

    OK enough with this sentimental rhetoric. How are the ladies in Georgia?

    P.S. To answer your question. I want to go to Armenia as early as yesterday haha. My life looks unrealistically busy till March, but I must say I need to come soon otherwise I’ll loose my head. On the flip side of this argument I want to extend a warm welcome to come and enjoy the Golden State with the City by the Bay. (translation California, San Francisco lol)

    I Promise I will not write this much anymore 🙂

  5. Georg says:

    Du skriver bra Aron! Alltid roligt att läsa.
    Jag hoppas fortfarande på ett besök i vår, om du fortfarande är kvar. Utsikterna ser sämre och sämre ut dock. Både ekonomiskt och tidsmässigt. Precis som du skriver så måste ju det materilla behovet få sitt. Nä, men vi måste spara upp en bufert för vårt fortsatta liv någonstans i världen. Inget Tekniskt Universitet i Gori?

    • wangaa says:

      Tack Georg!! Skönt att höra att mina inlägg är läsvärda! Ja, det materiella må få sitt.. Flyttar ni från England i vår eller? Spännande att se vad ni tar er för! Vad det än blir så blir det bra, det är jag övertygad om. Finns ett universitet här i Gori med ett par fakultet, kanske tekniskt, men jag skulle nog satsa på tbilisi i så fall 😉 denna stad är lagom upphetsande i längden… alltid välkommen iaf, vi hörs!

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