“Life never gives us what we want at the moment that we consider appropriate. Adventures do occur, but not punctually.” – A Passage to India
We made it! We are finally in Georgia. After spending a day resting and getting organized in Frankfurt, I got up early Sunday morning to fly to Istanbul where I met up with my cousin and her friend before getting on our flight to Tbilisi (the capital of Georgia). We flew Turkish Airlines which was pretty nice, mostly because of the several-course meals we got on the flight. I’m used to only getting meals on overnight flights, but these were only a few hours and they fed me all day long. And it wasn’t just a dried up croissant either (looking at you, Lufthansa). Breakfast was a spinach pie of sorts with a huge plate of eggs and roasted tomatoes, plus a bread roll, chocolate cake, and spring water #livingthehighlife
It was especially nice since we didn’t really have time to stop for lunch between flights. The boarding area was crazy busy in Istanbul and I kept getting hit by people and/or their bags. Nobody seems to pay attention to personal space there. I had to scold a man for consistently bumping me with his large belly while we were de-boarding later on. SIR, YOU ARE IN MY BUBBLE. Kindly GTFO.
Passport control was pretty quick once we landed in Tbilisi and our bags didn’t take too long to come out. I think we might’ve been one of the only flights around at the time. Eventually, we headed out to grab a taxi into the city. Naturally, we overpaid.
Oh, and this was on the way into town from the airport…
I’m used to seeing JFK streets in lots of major cities, but Bush, really? Fun fact: he was the first sitting U.S. President to visit Georgia. Apparently they thought that was worthy of giving him a street.
We finally arrived at the address of the Air Bnb we were supposed to be staying at, only to discover that the owner was nowhere to be found. E went over to ask a woman about the address who then tried to call the man, George, but his phone was off. Wonderful.
What do we do now? We wandered around the courtyard looking confused and helpless until a young man came over and asked if we needed help. We explained the situation to him, he called George (again) who did not answer (again). Do you know which apartment he is? We had the address but not the apartment number. Our new friend led us to the apartment and knocked on the door. No answer. We went back outside to the courtyard and tried to get internet to email George.
Then the woman from earlier came over to us to check in. We told her we were still trying so she offered to have us come up for a cup of coffee while we figured things out. I had heard the Georgians were very hospitable people but I was not prepared for this.
We went up to her apartment, all four of us squeezing into a rickety old elevator that runs after you drop a coin in the box. She brought us cold water, three bowls of fresh fruit, and a plate full of wafery chocolate treats. Keep in mind, we just met like 20 minutes ago.
We got onto her wifi and charged our phones while we tried to figure out our next move. After things seemed a bit hopeless getting in touch with George, the young woman called around with different hostels to help us find somewhere else to stay for the night. Finally, we found a good deal and she organized a taxi to come pick us up. There are not enough thank yous in the world for this woman.
The taxi dropped us off at the hostel, refused to take our money (probably felt pity for us) and left. Then we wandered around trying to find the hostel. There were signs for it, but the signs didn’t point in any one direction, they were just sort of scattered about the area. Eventually we went over to a man washing his car and said “hostel?” and he recruited another man to help us. He knew the hostel and walked us over to the door.
I’m losing count of the number of strangers who showed us kindness on our first day.
We found a woman waiting for us on the steps of the hostel, but she didn’t speak any english. Like not even one word. We followed her up way too many flights of stairs with all of our bags and finally made it into the hostel. She gave us a tour in Georgian mixed with improvised sign language, gave us the keys, and then peaced out, leaving us completely alone in the hostel. Well, okay then.
To be continued…