President’s friend for a week

The World

I was on a trip with a boyfriend who was an unemployed travel writer and he had gotten this assignment to go to Tblisi. He offered to bring me along and I said sure. We were then invited to see the president. So we said absolutely. At the time we were at a puppet show. He seemed to want to brush off formality and asked us to call us by his first name. he was talking about all his pet projects to make Tblisi sexy and for tourists to want to come there. he had painted the towers bright colors and was building this great big white house. He then asked us what he should do with his stadium. And then I suggested he get this popular artist to wrap it and he thought that was a great idea and he had his secretary immediately try to find him. After that meeting, we were invited to dinner with him and he then invited us to go to a separatist region’s capitol, and we boarded in a helicopter and we were surrounded by these security guys. We landed and the next thing I knew I was being asked to come down to a beach and get on the back of a jet ski with the president. And then we did a little tour and before we knew it we were having another dinner with him. We started talking about relations with Russia then. We then flew back and thought we weren’t going to see him because he had to see Putin in Russia. But then he said Putin stood him up. The topic came up that my boyfriend wanted to buy a pelt but he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to bring it on the plane. He then gave my boyfriend a pelt which Putin had given him as a gift. And we spent the rest of the evening trying to pack this thing. The way I make sense of this is that the Georgian President had a way of trying to get news out about Georgia’s democracy and he thought we were a powerful media. He had an idea that American-style PR would make his country safe.

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