Last weekend I have been in Tbilisi. Not for some random reason, no. Actually I did not plan to drive through the whole country again that early. No, there has been a wedding. Of two of our second group fellows, Rob and Ashley, both situated in Zugdidi.
The other day I got my dad to help me out to buy train tickets at the Makhinjauri train station (Batumis main station, but located in a village north of Batumi itself). 23 Lari (read: 10 Euro) for the 400 km ride to Tbilisi. Not bad.
So Friday morning I hopped on the Georgian railways “high speed train” into a cabin with an angry looking old lady (who turned out to be quite nice eventually), benches with quite uncomfortable backs, air conditioners and that original Soviet flavour (the windows fabricate said in Russian пролетариат – proletariat).
After “only” seven hours of “high speed travelling” I finally tempted to get out of the train in Tbilisi at 4 pm. But the police tried to teach me wrong: Some lady in our wagon seemed to have lost her passport and money and all of the passengers turned into suspects all of a sudden. I know enough words of Georgian to recognize that the lady was yelling at the police that I was a “germanuli bitchi” (German boy) and that it was “absurdum” (absurd) to search me and my bags. It turned out that either the police was not too serious about searching all of us or just was sick to be spammed by an old, angry lady, so they let me through. Maybe they even found the bad boy already, who knows.
Nevertheless, the stunning landscape was worth the inconveniences of the travel. Plus my cabin mate. I do not know how, but she seemed to know what anyone in our wagon was doing. After 2 hours of travelling she told me there was an English teacher a few cabins away. When I did not find her (how would I?), she simply dragged her, her daughter and her mother into our cabin to – what seemed to be the main purpose – interview me.
When that one lady lost her documents she magically found a German speaking lady to explain me the situation. And she helped me, when I was practising my Georgian by writing things down.
When I arrived in Tbilisi, where my good friend and host for the weekend, Raughley, picked me up, I was just told, that I missed the actual wedding. But around 45 group mates were going to go out tonight. As I particularly for the wedding brought a fancy shirt, pants, shoes and a tie, Raughley and me figured to wear a tie that night. At this time, we did not know that we were basically the only guys in the whole of Georgia wearing ties. Until we went on the good 10 minute walk to the metro and all the youth from the neighbourhood was starring (read: laughing) at us.
After being at Max & Co.’s apartment, eating German Thai soup from a German supermarket around the corner, drinking Georgian wine from horns and making some strange photos, we went down town into some international bars, having a few beers and good Georgian wine, before we got picked up by a friend of Raughley host brother just to force us to continue drinking with them until 3 in the night.
The other day we went (after ~ 5h of sleep) to an AWESOME bath with sulphur water, a scrub and a massage that made us feel like super clean babies. I couldn’t describe it better then Raughley did.
A Adjaruli Khachapuri, a walk through some parts of the city, an (unsuccessful) one hour attempt to get train tickets for Sunday morning, a nap and a snack prepared by Raughleys host mother (we said we are only a tiny bit hungry, so she made “only” 7 eggs with cheese for the two of us) later, we ended up sitting in a nice café in Old Tbilisi (again with ties), watching a Boney M. DVD 1,5 times. Nobody from the US/Canada seemed to know Boney M, while I did 90 % of the songs on the DVD, which was great fun for the other guys. At least Max, Raughley and Bill are now big fans of Boney M. More then 20 years after their times they will probably climb the charts in the US until Christmas.
Raughley’s family has only one key, so someone has to stay awake until everyone is in the house. As Raughley’s host mum told us to not be late, we figured we might take the last metro at midnight. Then we came up with the glorious idea to just ask Raughleys host brother to not mute his phone, so we call him as soon as we are there and he opens up the door, while his mother is not forced to stay awake.
When we mounted onto the taxi at one (the driver turned out to a German born in Tbilisi), Raughley called Ilya, his host bro. And got terrified when his host mother answered the phone. Turned out, that Ilya just gave his phone to the host mum and went out drinking. That snitch. Sorry Raughley’s mum!
The next day I hopped on the Marshutka, had a ride of only around 5:45h (including break to eat), met some nice guys from the Ivory coast) and arrived in Batumi again at 15:45h. Thanks again Raughley for hosting me and saving my ass a couple of times with your Russian skills. Highly appreciated.
Sorry for “lending” your pictures Raughley and Max. Also, no pictures of Tbilisi at the moment. I will head there for one week in October and a couple of more times probably, so be patient. 🙂
PS: For all the lawyers amongst you with knowledge of private international law: Would the US accept this Georgian marriage under its private international law? 🙂