March 19, 2015

Batumi, Georgia

I woke up at 05:15 today, showered, dressed, packed, and then exited the hotel. I walked to the main street in Mestia and waited on the side of the road for the marshrutkas to arrive, next to a Georgian man wanting to go to Tbilisi. I was told the marshrutkas would depart between 06:00 and 07:00, thus the reason why I was standing outside in the cold and dark, looking up at the stars (it ended up being a cloudless and clear day – would’ve been perfect for skiing and viewing the Caucasus); of course, I knew the marshrutkas probably wouldn’t leave until 08:00 and that I was subjecting my body to freezing temperatures for no reason; though, it ended up not being that bad. Finally, a few marshrutkas arrived at 06:30, I figured out which one to take (the one to Zugdidi), and then I waited inside the cold vehicle for about another hour. Another passenger joined me and we ended up departing at 07:35. At this point, my toes felt numb and I was forced to warm them with my hands. We soon picked up several more passengers along the way, I spent most of the time looking out the window at the mountains in the morning light, we stopped for a short break at 09:30 – I munched on the remaining snacks (i.e. chocolate and biscuits) that I had bought in Mestia -, and then drove on to Zugdidi. We reached Zugdidi at 10:50 and I was shown to the marshrutka destined for Batumi. I then loaded my bag in to the marshrutka, bought my ticket, and waited for the vehicle to depart at 12:00. Just after noon, we drove off westward to Poti and then southward to Batumi; just after passing Poti, we drove by Paliastomi Lake and Kolkheti National Park; I also got my first glimpse of the Black Sea, out of the vehicle’s right-side windows. Also, it is worth pointing out (at least I think so), that many people in this region are conditioned to cross themselves any time they pass a church, even inside a moving vehicle; this is fine, but everyone I watched cross themselves – throughout my time in Georgia and Armenia – does so not once, not twice, but thrice, as if they all have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder . . . just a strange observation I made. Anyway, we finally reached Batumi shortly after 14:00. I grabbed my bags and walked in to the old/central part of town where the hotel room I reserved the night before was located. I soon found the hotel, checked in, was shown my room, and I dropped my bags off inside. I then walked back out to find a suitable restaurant, which ended up being a German restaurant located very close to the hotel. For my meal, I had a Caesar salad with chicken, a Bavarian hodgepodge soup with sausage slices, bread, and a half a pint of draught German beer. After eating, I bought some juice and beer at a convenience store, and returned to my room to type out journal entries and relax. Then, I ended up wasting hours watching RedLetterMedia’s reviews of several Star Trek films; some funny stuff, but, admittedly, a waste of time. Finally, at 22:00, I went to sleep.

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An open journal or an exercise in narcissism.