Ugly Pictures Of A Beautiful City

I wanted to take nice pictures of Tbilisi, I really did.

It’s such a fascinating place:

The food is amazing,

the people are nice

and this week Georgia had a free, fair election

that filled the storefronts with huddles of people watching the news, pointing at it for me so I know it’s important.

But I’m not a good enough photographer to capture Tbilisi’s inner beauty.

So I biked around her for three days,

looking for signs of it on her outsides.

My friend who lives here says many of these apartments are in a lot better shape than they look.

No one is officially responsible for maintaining building exteriors and shared spaces.

And there’s no property tax, so many people own more than one apartment and leave it empty for years.

I like the thought of a vast, polished ballroom waiting behind each of these awnings:

Immaculate innards protected by this cracking, pockmarked skin.

Like people, cities’ insides show on their outsides,

whether they want them to or not.

And in Tbilisi, ‘good looking’ isn’t what you see, it’s what you owe.

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