Tbilisi Revisited

A friend from Istanbul decided to come visit Georgia and tour around with me for my last week. After a few days in Ozurgeti, we caught a night train to Tbilisi and see what that city had to offer. I have been to Tbilisi several times since orientation, but only to pass through or to met up with friends.

We meet up with various other TLGers headed home throughout the week.  Said goodbye to Abbey, Brooke, Erin, Lindsay, Juniper, ‘the boys’, Monita, and others from #43.

We found several American owned establishments. That was exciting! First was Ronny’s Pizzeria. The most obvious appreciation of Ronny’s was no mayonnaise on the Pizzas. And they were REALLY good! They also served bread sticks with real Ranch dressing. The second was a bar called The Hanger Bar. They had burgers, Chicken Strips and hot wings on the menu! But what endured me to this bar more than anything was that the bathroom LOOKED like an American bathroom. Since living here, I couldn’t quite cleary verbalize what was exactly wrong with the bathrooms in Georgia as they all are wrong for various reasons. But the word is ‘complicated’. Why is the plumbing snaking outside the walls and helter skelter? Why is the washing machine in the middle of the floor? Why does the sink ALWAYS look as you will become dirtier by using it? Why are they always also used as random junk rooms? Why is not having soap the norm? Why are they always dirty and grimy? Not at The Hanger Bar!  We also found the famed Prospero’s Book Store, which sells books in English.

Hot Wings and Beer at The Hanger Bar, Tbilisi

Hot Wings and Beer at The Hanger Bar, Tbilisi

During the week, I got a good handle on the layout of the city. Explored the different areas thoroughly enough to feel comfortable with them. And now can effectively use the subway. Tbilisi is a large diverse city that is rapidly growing to catch up with the rest of the great cities of the world. They have the unenviable job of meshing modern architecture and commerce with ancient or soviet era buildings and infrastructure. In one view of the city all you see are rows and rows of concrete slabs meant for housing. In the very next, you see posh yuppie streets that would rival any neighborhood of the famed European cities of the West.

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On the negative side, I spent WAY too many days at a previously favorite cheap hostel. By the end, it was just gross and filled with weird people. And it smelled funny. All of which should have been painfully evident in the several previous times I stayed there. Hostel Romantik (the story goes) used to be a brothel. And looking at the layout of the rooms, one doesn’t need an active imagination to see how that was definitely a possibility. Also the hostel is entirely underground. No natural light sources whatsoever. It’s perpetually twilight down there. And people drink 24/7. Some people who were there with us during the same duration seemed like they never went outside. They were there when we left for the day, and were there when we returned at various times of the day and night.  That was sorta creepy.

But for 10 Lari per night and all you can drink free wine, you can’t beat it.

I will post about the day trips we took in the next couple of posts. But I wanted to end this one by saying it was a great week. It was good getting to see and know my friend better. She is a great person with the biggest heart. And there are very few other people I would have had as near as great a time.

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“I’m singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feeling
I’m happy again
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
I’m singing, singing in the rain
In the rain
In the rain”

Singing in the Rain, Gene Kelly

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