In these recent years, I get insomnia before any major event. I think its due to the fact that I just get crazy excited. The night before going back to the States was no different. But I only had to power through a short rest period, because we had to be up to get a taxi to the airport at 3 am. The plan was to get a cab at my hostel, then pick up Leah (another TLG #43 member) on the way to the airport. Easy, right? Not so fast.
The taxi was waiting for us when we came out of the hostel. So far so good. He helped us with the luggage then I told him we were picking up a friend on the way to the airport. I even told him the address. This is obviously when things went South. He thought we had another friend in the hostel, then he thought we wanted him to take us to the airport and THEN he go get our friend, afterwards. We were getting him (and us) more and more confused. Fortunately the clerk, who spoke English, came back out of the hostel and explained to him what we wanted. And she told him the address. He nodded in ascent, and off we went to pick up our friend.
I had been to the area we were going to pick up Leah. But the further we drove, the less familiar everything looked. But of course you want to give the person who’s job it is the benefit of the doubt to know and do their job. Plus he was the chattiest man. He worked every bit of English he knew. We found out his brother lives in New Jersey, he knows and loves the Chicago Bulls, and all sorts of fun facts. And it was actually him who brought up the issue that he might not know exactly where we where going with an innocent enough question, “Right or left?” I didn’t know, so called Leah. But the problem was she might have known her surroundings and where she was, but we couldn’t communicate it to him. She was at a major intersection; we were in the dark underside of Tbilisi.
He got frustrated and wanted to talk to her. Okay.
Obviously that didn’t help, so he had the idea (which I must admit was a pretty good one) to stop at the police station and ask them, also hoping that they spoke English. In the mean time Leah was to stop a taxi and ask him to talk to our taxi guy to tell him how to get to her. The police said there was no such address. Okay. Leah’s first taxi that she waved down was full of scary Georgian men. No thank you…keep on moving.
So we stood outside the police station in the cold winter morning of 3:30 trying to figure out how to get our friend.
Leah flagged down another taxi and this one told our guy that we weren’t even in the right area. Okay. So finally we concluded that it was best for our guy to take us to the airport and Leah’s taxi take her. (He ended up charging her 30 Lari to our 20, but whatever).
We were making pretty good time getting to the airport, until Mr. Chatty taxi driver leans over to me and asks me to let him open the glove box. In the glove box is a gauge. He looks at it and says, “Problem.” I must confess, that statement alarmed me at first. Then I realized he just needed to stop for gas. We then pass like 3 gas stations! He leans over again, looks at the gauge again, this time with a flashlight, and taps on it…. “No problem!” Okay.
We do stop for gas shortly thereafter, though. I guess he figured better safe than sorry. And then on to the airport.
“Money hoes and clothes all a playa knows
A foolish pleasure, whatever
I had to find the buried treasure, so grams I had to measure
However living better now, Gucci sweater now
Drop top BM’s I’m the man girlfriend
(Honey check it, (check it)
Tell your friends, to get with my friends
And we can be friends
Shit we can do this every weekend (that’s right)
Aight? Is that aight with you?”
Big Poppa, Notorious B.I.G