Dinners with Misha

A few days old now, but still an interesting one from Slate.com:

These days, the news from Georgia is all bombing campaigns and Russian occupation, but for an odd and magical week in the summer of 2006, I was part of Mikheil Saakashvili’s great and tragic fantasy of an independent, America-loving Georgia. My boyfriend at the time was a sometimes travel writer who had wangled a magazine assignment to write a shopping guide to Tblisi, and he brought me along. We were two Americans without credentials, connections, or, quite honestly, value. There was no reason for anyone to notice us, much less the president of a small nation. We spent the first few days, Fodor’s in hand, cooing at early Christian churches and Ottoman baths. And then one night, during the intermission of a puppet show about the Battle of Stalingrad, we got a panicked call. The president had heard the American media was in town—us. Although I hadn’t known that Georgia was a country until the travel writer told me he’d gotten us a free trip there, I was suddenly at the Chancellery Building in Tblisi meeting President Saakashvilli—call him Misha, he implored.