The umbrella traveller

Despite the fact, that I actually wanted to keep blog posts in a chronological order, I want to share this small story with you, before I forget to post it.

So after a recent weekend trip to Turkey, where I discovered a proper mailing infrastructure with post offices, specific opening hours, post cars, a unified corporate design and even a small post booth in Sapri 50m behind the border, I decided to go quickly cross the border on Women’s Day, which was a non-working holiday in Georgia, to mail a few postal items that were due to mail.

As Batumi is a 70 tetri bus or 1 lari marshutka ride away from the border, I figured that would make sense to take advantage of the also cheaper and more reliably looking Turkish post system.

So I crossed the border, walked up to the post office and tried to convince them in sign language [despite the fact that Georgians keep telling me that Turkish people behind the border and even up to Trabzon speak proper Georgian, nobody we actually talked to in Turkey does, the most we got was “tsota vitsi” (I know a bit) from an old man in Trabzon] to ship my items.

When they realized that I wanted to ship international items, they plainly waved their index fingers in an indefinite direction, saying ‘Hopa’ which is the closest town across the border, 25 km away.

That made me leave the booth again, cosidering my options. I already took the marshutka to the border and I also crossed it. I had roughly 25 Lira. The postal items would cost 10,40 TL [1,30 TL each compared to 4 Lari each with the Georgian Post, the exchange rate is roughly 1,05…]. So I figured [applying Georgian marshutka rates] that 15 TL should be way enough to take a round trip to Hopa and just decided I’d drive further into Turkey.

However, I somehow ended up in a Taxi whose driver wanted to charge десяать долар (10 $) first and when I refused he sat me down in the Taxi with a Georgian lady [who got super excited that I spoke Georgian] and made me only pay 10 Lira.

Anyway, he asked me Russian куда (where do you go?) which I, with my very limited knowledge of Russian, mixed up with от куда (where are you from?). After the answering из германии (from Germany) he, as it would be the most normal thing in the world, said something like “So you are going to Istanbul now and then to Germany?”. The Georgian lady helped me clarify the issue and translated my Georgian explanation into Russian.

Only later I realized how ridiculous this assumption of his actually was: This random German guy, at the most eastern remote corner of Turkey, not speaking any word of Turkish, not having dollars, speaking more Georgian than Russian and wanting to travel the 1200 km through Turkey to take the plane from Istanbul – with no luggage whatsoever except an umbrella.

With a good smile on my lips I wandered through the streets of Hopa until the post office reopened (on time) from the lunch break.

By the way, I sent my items (again through sign language, the guy at the desk only stared at me when I asked him qartuli itsit?) and paid exactly the rate I calculated before (through their fancy English website)..

A marshutka ride to the border, a purchase of amazing Turkish buscuits and a marshutka ride back to Batumi later and I still had more money than I’d have had after using Georgian Post. It just took me a bit longer and gave 4 brand new stamps in the Passport.

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About Paul

Hey, my name is Paul and I will be going to Georgia for one year to assist English language teachers in public schools through the "Teach and Learn with Georgia" program.
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One Response to The umbrella traveller

  1. chaotic says:

    haha, funny 🙂
    the “Deutsche Post” ist for sure one of the things I’ll miss when I get back home, despite the fact, that they only delivered bills 😀

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