Archive for Caucasus

(SUR)real Georgia

Posted in Photo with tags , , , on 2015-09-22 by candycactus

Here is a collection of images from Georgia taken during prolonged stays in 2004-2012



Posted in Caucasus, English with tags , , , on 2013-06-19 by candycactus

Displaced people, robbed public money and overall unsustainable development as an effect of the neoliberalist logic  – same reasons for the protests across the world.

The film Ecümenopolis (2012) describes the background of Turkish protests, but the story is really similar in other places, like Brazil, where tens of thousands of people have been displaced due to the building of stadiums for the Olympic Games.

Sochi in North Caucasus, where Russia is preparing the Winter Olympic Games 2014 literally on the graves of Circassian people, suffers from the same fate. Will North Caucasus rise too?

Watch the film Winter of Discontent published by Al Jazeera.


And some more info, why to boycott Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. 

Caucasian Brazilian Fusion

Posted in CandyCactus Music, Caucasus, Downloads, English, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2010-09-30 by candycactus

back in Tbilisi, Georgia – the amazing, craziest, most surreal spot in the World.. A place where subconscious is all played out: people love, kill, steal, give everything to you, disappear as in a dream and come back transformed with stories of things that can happen for anyone in the rest of the world only in a dream…

Also back in Anna’s cellar in Barnova, again recording music. Here is the fruit of music recording last night (demo): a classical Brazilian song “Aguas de Marco” with Armenian duduk, Georgian panduri and Indian tampuri..!

version of “Agua De Beber”

Posted in CandyCactus Music, Caucasus, English, Music with tags , , , , , , , on 2010-08-30 by candycactus

Black version of Tom Jobim’s “Agua De Beber” – coctail of Brazil, Armenia and cactus, since it Armenian duduk and JHNO with strings in the background


Posted in Caucasus, English, Poetry, Stories and Tales with tags , , on 2009-06-03 by candycactus

“Some have entirely forgotten the lost heritage and the mystery of their abandonment; their games absorbed them, they have become gamblers, they have theories of chance, their talk is all of Progress of one sort or another. They forget the great mystery of life. We tramps and wanderers remember.”

“The town is one large house of which all the little houses are rooms.
The streets are the stairs. Those who live always in the town are
never out of doors even if they do take the air in the streets.”

“Then the spirit drove me into the wilderness to my mountains and
valleys, by the side of the great sea and by the haunted forests. Once
more the vast dome of heaven became the roof of my house, and within
the house was rebuilded that which my soul called beautiful. There I
refound my God, and my being re-expressed itself to itself in terms of
eternal Mysteries. I vowed I should never again belong to the town.”

“I never knew in advance where I should make my night couch; for I was Nature’s guest
and my hostess kept her little secrets. Each night a new secret was
opened, and in the secret lay some pleasant mystery.”

from “A Tramp’s Sketches” by Stephen Graham, a guy who hunded years ago was a tramp in Caucasus. His writings are like medicine healing the sadness being once in a while back in what they call civilization. I am back in Tbilisi, suffocating of cars, dust and noise. Will escape soon. Mountains are close.

Toast for ancestors

Posted in English, Travel diary with tags , on 2008-07-22 by candycactus

Even being sedentary one cannot stop traveling I guess. Yes, I was on one spot, next to the sea. I would read books and practice poi and then have some future building activities – trying to buy a piece of land in order to set up a garden in the epicurean sense.

One can survive there before and after the season. I was before. Piles of plastic bottles, the unimaginable green around and quietness, interrupted only by at the sudden busy Georgians who seemed to grab histerically all their tools and try to repair that has not been repaired since ages. But that’s fine with me as long as the bars, playing “chornye glaza” – the music type I cannot bring over my heart, were not opened yet.

I did not move and people came here with their stories.

There was this Russian familiy around. While eating at the only opened inn I told them from the other table, that they were as smart as me to come before the season would start. Their child, Petia, had a summer cap that looked like a white boat, like from the old times. His face was incredibly Russian. Like from the old pictures in black and white. But here they were. In colour.

It took some time for us to strike the conversation. Both, me and them rather shy animals. Another, when we already would dine all at the same table, Ilja said: I am actually a Georgian. It sounded stupid. Trying to what? To complimet the culture this way, or what? No, my grandgrandfather was Jugashvili. They called him Stalin.

In Georgian tradition there is a toast that one drinks for the ancestors. One spils some of the drink to the ground.

Let us drink to our ancestors: your grandgrandfather, and my grandfather, who was forced to write a poem for your grandgrandfather.

We did not talk about politics, the future or the past. We drank toast for the houses, boats and the black sea.

On the last day, when they had to leave, I ran around trying to find them. I wanted to give them a small childish badge with moomintroll, we were talking so much about.

I found them finally. Ilja and Olia smiled. Like in one of those books of Tove Jansson they started digging in their bags, unpacking and causing a chaos just before having to leave.

They pulled out a small black bag. They said, you might need the bag more than a badge, don’t you?

There were moomintroll on it.

I waved them good bye like a grandma from the old animation film about the lion Bonifacius. I will miss you, I waved to them.

In the shadows of USHBA

Posted in Caucasus, English, Photo, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , , , on 2007-09-18 by candycactus

It smelt like death. Dead meat. Must have been an animal or something, I thought. Hm, so this is the known Svaneti, the praised place. I was walking to Nakra, and looking at the pieces of woodlogs on the side of the small dirt road I thought only how I really like it small.. small mountains, small lakes, rivers, I missed Ajara, Spirakiai and felt so unfitting in that place. No people. Then a young woman with a child. We went to fetch some mzhave zkhali, the mineral water coming out from the ground. There used to be some tourist bases in soviet times. Many sovietzt toursist would come to hike around Ushba, bringing kedi, sportshoes that they would trade with locals to cheese and other food. Empty houses in Nakra. There used to be a sasadilo, an inn. I could imagine tourists flirting with the locals here on the stairs. Only ghosts remain.

I walk to the main street again, 6 km, no people, in the shadow of the narrow  valleys mountain. It is a little bit spooky, but there are no objective signs of what i should be afraid of.

In the main road there are no cars. In the way I enjoy the facts, since there is so much dust after anyone passes by. but now, the warm suns light is turning to dusk and i admitt to myselft that i dont want to walk here. one car comes from the front. we talk, they live in a village in the opposite  direction, say surprised xochax xochax, when they here my story, that i travel alone, by bike or by foot. Their excitement does not comfort me much, since I have read and heard of Svaneti being a little bit wild place. Therefore I let my bike in Batumi and came up by marshrutka.

They leave and I walk again. Strange, I think. THis landscape is not mine.


pics are here, look for Svaneti

Games and Bread

Posted in Caucasus, English, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , on 2007-07-04 by candycactus

You might ask yourself already, why she got stuck there, in Caucasus? I realised while traveling, that in becomes borring at some point not being involved in some bigger schemes. It is not a very big one, but small is also cool. Was running all month long to get funds, and finaly – got!

Tomorrow early in the morning I will be leaving my cosy place in Tbilisi and will go for three month in the villages in Georgia. The plan is to employ people there as photographers. Instead of taking pictures myself, I am carrying several disposable cameras and looking there for people who will want to take pics of themselves. It is about minorities. Dukhobory, Azeri, kurdish Yezidi, muslim Georgians… They say, there are 56 ethnicities living in Georgia.

I feel like a troubadour, bringing people what they long for. Instead of songs of troubadours I will bring some kind of bread and games, duonos ir zaidimu! The cameras will be a game part and the bread part is that they will be payed for their work.  

Will write after a considerable break now I guess. But you can write an sms +995 93 26 73 54 and I will write back!

Good summer. Geros vasaros.

Misle apie mergelike

Posted in Caucasus, Lietuviškai, Stories and Tales, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , on 2007-02-28 by candycactus

ne, neimanoma visas idomybes surasyt, tai jus prasom surasykit, as tik klausimelius pametysiu, kaip tas butu?

Kas buvo per mergelike is Sirijos, katra per Kapadokija vare ir koki stebukla padare Gruzijoj,  kad ana Krikscionybe priemo?

Mr Adam

Posted in Caucasus, Stories and Tales, World Bike Trip with tags , , , , on 2007-02-19 by candycactus

sita pasaka radau tbilisio bibliotekoj. per tris ejimus tenais galejau pagaliau ja issikopijuoti, nes elektronınes versıjos nera. tada vezıaus ı turkıja. tada sıaıp ne taıp gavau ta savo klavıatura, kurıos laukıau kelıas savaıtes ır dabar aute naktı sukalıau. popıerıu ısmesıu dabar, taı kurpıne palenves.

o adomo ıstroja, kurıa tas stephen graham parase tınka tıek, kad man jı tapo vısıskaı mylımıausıa pasaka. o dargı esu dabar antıochıjoj senojoj. vısaı netolı nuo tarıamos adomo tevynes. yra teorıja, kad adomo, beı prımuju zmonıu cıa buta butent dabartınıam turkıjos hakkarı.

ilga ıstorıja, tai gal atsispausdykit geriau 

Stehen Graham ‘A Vagabond in Caucasus’ (1911) 

Mr Adam

Tramps often bring blessings to men. They are very brotherly; they have given up the causes of quarrels. Perhaps sometimes they are a little divine. God’s grace comes down upon them. Certainly one day I met a noble tramp, an Eden tramp. He came upon me at dawn with a wood smile on his old face. He was one of the society of tramps, he knew all
Russia, its places and peoples, and he called himself Mr Adam. Why did he adopt that name? These were questions he was not in a hurry to answer. They involved story. Such a story! It sounded in my ears like a secret melody of the world. But first let me say how I met this most jovial wayfarer. I had slept one night by the side of the road among nettles and thistles. My pillow was a stone, my bed soft, dusty earth. I was so near to the rod hat the lumbersome, cracking ox-carts, that approached and passed in the night, seemed within arm’s reach – so near, that I felt the movement in the air as they passed.Horses snorted uneasily now and then, and once in the early morning a dog came snuffing among the herbage after me. It was a night of dew and dust. I do not suppose I slept more than three hours, but it did not seem a long night. The approach of dawn came as a surprise to me. I was glad to think it was dawn even if it should turn out to be an illusion. My bed was cold and fresh, my eyes seemed clammy and sticky, as if spun together with gossamer threads, my forehead was heavy as iron, my body seemed long and ponderous as that of a trold. Everything in me waited for the sun. A night on the mountains gives its peculiar refreshment, it nurses each limb in cold, dewy air, and transmits its influence in cold thrills into the very depths of one. I sat up and surveyed the scene in the half light and what was my surprise to see an apparently monstrous figure of a man coming toward me along the road. I almost feared him, but soon I saw his peculiar smile of geniality and my fears gave away. This was Mr. Adam. He came up to me as if he had known me from the cradle. The usual greeting and question passed, and then he pulled out of his ragged overcoat a chunk of bread and some hard white cheese, and sat down on a stone with the evident intention of breakfasting. I bade him wait whilst I filled my kettle. Whilst I went to get water he lit a fire. We had a very cheery meal. He cut his bread and cheese with a rusty dagger! He told me how he came to take the name of Adam, in memory of an old companion of the road who made a poor woman in Vladikavkaz very happy. This is the story. There was a man named Peter who died, leaving a widow and three children. The woman was very young and had a baby at her breast and was without money. When she had paid for priest and coffin there was little left her. Her husband ad been a writer in a railway office, he wrote envelopes and copied letters He only received forty rubles a month and as very improvident. Though perhaps it was not he, but Society, that was improvident, for his wife was a good woman and her children worthy. And when one is young one does not expect to die. Anna, for such was her name, had to leave the house where Peter had died. She had to step down in the world. She took one room in a little cottage, and lived there, and waited to starve. Neighbors helped her, but they were very poor, and her babes, like young birds in the nest, all stretched out their mouths to her and cried. It was a bare room. The family slept upon the floor. There was an old table that had been lent to them, and a stove and a box. In a corner the Ikon picture gleamed. The woman was little clothed, and the children showed their little bodies. So much had been sold to get a little money for food that even the samovar was not seen. Neighbors coming in held up their hands in pity for their poverty.But their fortune changed a little, for one day a strange chance befell. Anna had made a fire between some stones in the yard of the cottage, and was cooking a mixture in a pot when a ragged old man came up and begged a taste of the soup. She looked at him and thought how strange it was that anyone sod beg of her, and then she refused him, saying, “I am as poor as you, good man,, and my soup is bad, for it s what I have myself gathered. I took my pot to the market and begged. It is the first time, and it feels very strange. Everyone knew I did not beg for money, only for food. Some put in fruit, and some poured in milk, others threw in biscuits, near the butchers’ line I got a piece of eat, and by the vegetable stalls I picked up some cabbage leaves and an old cucumber. It is very well. I shall go every morning and we shall not starve. Only the soup is for us and it will not be good for others. The old man was tall and very hairy, one could scarcely see his face for hair, and through the rents of his ragged red shirt one saw his brown hairy chaste. His overcoat was of many colors and many cloths; he had evidently sewn into it whatever cloth he had picked up during many wanderings, and he had an it in many muds and soils, and the stains remained. His legs were tied up I in sack like trees protected for the winter, and his boots, which he had made himself without leather, were little bags of wool and shavings and grasses and dandelion down. He was not, however, the least ashamed. He did not reply to Anna’s refusal for some minutes, but he stood watching, fumbling among his rags, and she wished he would go away. But going away was not part f his intention. He slowly brought out a large iron spoon and, to the vexation of the woman, knelt down on the ground and peered into the pot. Then he gave his reply. “When Christ is near, water becomes wine,” and with that he skimmed the simmering liquid and lifted a spoonful to his mouth. “It’s tasty,” said he; “awfully tasty – really amazingly tasty.” Anna smiled and answered simply “I’m glad you like it, grandfather.” Grandfather took another spoonful and smacked his lips. “You know,” said he, “this is quite out of the way; it is very original; knew it was very good soup, it was speaking so well. I heard its voice far away. It called to me, it sang. What do you say to it, my dear, if I dine with you to-night?” Anna looked up at him appealingly. “No,’ said she, ‘pass by. We are very poor, and this is all we have to eat; it is too poor for any guest. Dear old man, go away.”
“Oh, no! I don ‘t think so. This sort of soup a king would be glad to eat. It is the sort kings can’t get. You might even make a great fortune if you sent a sealed tin of this to the Tsar. The Tsar’s cook is a great friend of mine; if you could get on the right side of him you’d never wan for a piece of eat to throw in the soup. But I advise you, don’t part with he recipe, it’s worth its weight in gold. And now, what do you say to having me as a boarder? Yes, surely as God rules over everything why shouldn’t I stay here? How much shall I pay? Well, never mind, you make this soup each day and then you can save al the money.” Anna now felt seriously troubled. An old ragged man could be no help to her; he could not pay her anything, and she would be poorer than before. She pinched up her pretty lips into a bunch, and frowned and shook her head violently; it would never do. “No grandfather, I couldn’t take you; we are very poor and you are even poorer than we are.” Thereupon the old an laughed exuberantly, and his eyes shone like those of Santa Claus. “I know, I know, I know,” said he. “What do you know, grandfather?”
The old man laughed again and then pulled out a large volume, old and rusty-leaved. It as a Bible, and he opened it between the Old Testament and the New, and there were money notes for seven hundred roubles. “That’s what,” said he. “My wages for clearing the clouds of the sky for the Sultan of Turkey – for you twelve rubles amonth and you needn’t spend a penny of it, for we shall live on such soup as this.” Anna meekly bade him welcome, wondering who he might be in disguise. Some great man, surely, she thought for he seemed very highly connected. “What is your name, grandfather?” said she, as he stumped into her room and sat down on the box, and took little Foma on one knee and Mania and the other. “What is may name?” said he. “Ho, ho, ho,” and he laughed. “That’s a good joke. It is a long, long while since anyone asked me my name. I’ve heard so many names; they were so like mine that I got confused long ago, and it wasn’t worth while remembering. What do you think, little Fomitchka? And you’ll be asking where I come from. Really, I don’t know. How many provinces are there in
Russia? Thousands surely. One day I slipped out of my own province and lost myself and kept coming t new provinces, always new names, and the places just looked the same. You know it says in the Bible Adam was the first man; Mr Adam, then came Mr. Cain Adam and Mr. Abeol Adam, and Mr. Seth Adam. You call me Mr. Adam.”
“A-dam, grandpa,” said little Foma.
So the ragged old man with the money and the Bible and the spoon came and lived with them. They all lied together, slept in the same room, and ate from the same table. Every morning Anna went to the market with her pot and collected food, and ever evening she boiled soup on the stones, while grandfather dipped his finger or s spoon into the stew and tasted it approvingly. Every Sunday she received three rubles from him and put them by. It was strange; they lived as poorly now as they had done before. So poorly they lived that they only had tea once a week, and they led it in a saucepan and had I without sugar. Grandfather had produced a partly-used two-ounce packet of tea from his overcoat. Yet this tea-party was something glorious – a strange weekly happiness to be anticipated even six days ahead. Anna ceased to feel anxious, and the children grew rounder and happier, though it was difficult to see how had come to be. They were being fed by something more that soul; perhaps, as they scrambled abut grandfather’s knees and listened to his stores, they were enchanted a little. Anna looked at them and wondered. Grandfather has tramped through sun and rain, thought she – how dark and rich his hands are, like the black earth in the spring. Her little baby, that had done nothing but scream and look unhappy since it was born, had now begun to smile. It smiled at grandfather like a little evening gleam of sunshine after wet, wet days.
“Lizetchka,” her mother would exclaim. “Ah, Lizetchka! Little Lizetchka! My little angel!” then neighbors came in and they would have found fault and gossiped, but grandfather’s cheery way took their hearts b surprise. And the owner of the cottage, who was responsible, wanted to turn the old man out because he had no passport, and it was dangerous to harbour such a man; but he too, was won over; though he was mean, and had a wife meaner than himself, he contentedly took the risk. Sometimes his wife would urge him on against Anna and the old man, and he would go to them to say stern words; but when he came and saw the children, with their little finger tangled in grandfather’s hair, he would forget his message and laugh and say, “Oh, Mr Adam! Fancy you live here without a passport! It’s all right living so, eh?” So time went on, and no one disturbed the little menage of Anna and her three children and Mr Adam. Years passed and the old an ceased to be a surprise; nothing new happened; no one inquired after him; no one claimed him. He lived all the while in his rags, and read from the Bible and played with the children, and praised the soup, and made merry with the neighbors. Only once Anna has been sad. That was when she mended his torn shirt for him. She had often mended Peter’s clothes whilst he wore them on his body, and now and irresistible memory brought back the pathos of her loss. She wept a little and Adam comforted her, and as she looked through her tears at him she felt suddenly very grateful, and it seemed to her that perhaps Peter had sent this man to her to help her. Suddenly the thanks which had been mounting up in her heart overflowed, and as she finished sewing she put her arms round his neck and kissed him. The days of these years were strange days, the strangest of Anna’s life and in after years they seemed only few days, only a short, strange period of heavenly comfort. For the time came when she had Adam no more. He fell ill and died.
Mr Adam’s dead, said all the neighbors, and the felt very sad. “Mr Adam is dead,” said the owner’s wife. “Now you’ll see how foolish it is to have a man without a passport. What will the police say? You’ll have too put his dead body in a field for men to find, and then it will be said we murdered him.” “Grandpa dead,” said all the children and moped. But Anna felt very troubled. What was she to do with him, a man without a name, without family, without a village? A man who had over five hundred rubles in his bible! Poor Anna! Had she but had a little cunning she might have put by she five hundred rubles to be a little fortune for herself. Grandfather had died very suddenly or he would have told her to do so. Anna was simple enough to go and tell the police the story, and an official came, looked at the man, and took away the Bible saying he would have it examined. In the Bible lay the precious notes! Then Anna bought white robes and took off Adam’s rags, and washed his body, and laid him upon some clean boards, and bought a cheap coffin, and hired a man to dig a grave, and se went and buried him, and put a little Ikon on his breast, and held a lighted candle over his tomb, and sang the thrice-holy hymn, “Holy, holy, holy,’ and went home. Adam was no more; they were poor; the official never returned with the bible; no one asked about the missing passport. But what the greedy official had not guessed, and what Adam had never divulged, was that in his rags, in one of his man deep pockets, was secreted another sum of money, a thousand rubles. This Anna found, and was wiser than before, having leant from experience. To-day she keeps a little cookshop and is prosperous, and the peasants say that she, better than any of the wives in the village, knows how to make god soup.Such was the story the tramp td me. He liked telling it, and now, as I have repeated it, I find the same personality in the friend of the woman and in my acquaintance. Surely Adam did not really die, Adam never really dies.One other thing he said to e that remains; there are two Adams – he Adam before he tasted the fruit and the Adam after he had tasted. Most Russians retain their Eden happiness, but whenever one of the tastes of the tree of knowledge his old happiness is cursed; the time has come for him to leave Eden and seek the new happiness. Adam was the first modern man. The tramps have found the second Eden.