Batumi, Batumi, Batumi

This weekend was an extended one. And a doozy at that.

Jessica, a Peace Corp friend in Oz, had a visitor come from London- Audrey (originally from France). The first leg of their excursion was Batumi and Mestia.

The fabulous Audrey

The fabulous Audrey

I had never been to Mestia, and really wanted to go. And I needed to expand my circle of exPat friends. This was a perfect opportunity to get to know some more Peace Corp people.

Friday afterschool, I headed down to Batumi. Jessica and her friend Audrey where already there, so I met them at a pretty well know café in Batumi, Press Café. Press Café was started by a former Peace Corp member. The premise was to hire Georgians and assist them in their English skills and service hospitality skills so they can move up in their careers.

There I not only met Audrey, but another Peace Corp volunteer, Kirk, as well. We hung out for a while, and then eventually started walking around Batumi looking for a cool hookah bar. We went down to the pier first, then ended up in the Turkish district. Because Turkey is so close, they have a great thriving district of cafés, restaurants, and hotels. We walked past a hotel with a hookah sign on the front. So we were escorted in and up to the fifth floor. Here there was a restaurant with a beautiful view of the sea on one side the city on the other. And the hookah was delicious!

On a side note, on the way to find the hookah bar, we came across a carnival bungee thing. I always wanted to do back and front flips like the gymnasts. so here was my chance!  …It’s harder than it looks.

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Then we went home and started drinking some more. The beautiful thing about hostels are the random people you meet. That night we met some Ukrainians there on holiday from University. After they went to bed, had a minor dance party, then bed.

The next day, we found out that our hostel was inundated with new TLG members. So many that they didn’t even know they were all coming!  It was exciting to see all of the newbies. But part of me was thinking, “Were we like that?” I was sitting in the kitchen the next morning and one of them passed by and asked, “Are you Georgian Chronicles?”  I said I was a member of it, but couldn’t claim credit for it (because I heard GEORGIAN WANDERS- which is a Facebook group here in Georgia that the exPats are a part of).  After her looking confused and me rethinking what she REALLY said, I said, “Yes… YES! I AM!!!”  She said that she was reading my blog before she came to Georgia. I was (and am) so humbled and honored. People other than my friends who love me—because they have to—read me!

The second day in Batumi, we were met by a relative of Jessica’s host family, Etuna. Etuna was fabulous. She spoke English and French. She worked as a journalist in Batumi. And she offered to show us around the city. Our first stop was a great restaurant that we would have never found. Then to a swank hangout to people watch. Next to the Sea so Aubrey could take a dip.

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Jessica, Etuna, me.

That night, we found a great little upscale coffee shop. Although they didn’t have anything I wanted, the things they did have were gourmet quality.

Next, we went searching for a Karaoke Bar. And on the very next block, as luck would have it, we found a sign for Karaoke! My friend, Vaughn, and I went to investigate. As with most Georgian entertainment establishments, this one was empty of patrons. It was on the 4th floor of a hotel, but it was indeed a karaoke bar. So we went to get the troops (Etuna peaced out),  and descended upon this bar. But….

They then tell us that the DJ didn’t get there until 10 (an hour later). And we had to buy at least $50 dollars in drinks. FIFTY DOLLARS!!??!!!  Surely they were misunderstood. But, no. 50 bucks. My friends didn’t even wait to listen to the rest of the story, they were gone. I didn’t understand, 50 dollars? Would we get it back? No.  …Okay.   Bye.

We made it back to the hostel intending to just relax and drink the night away, but the TLGers were primin to go out. So we, and some more Peace Corps, joined them to go to a dance club. We started off walking following a Georgian. And we walked… and walked… and walked.  We walked in a big circle and my crew couldn’t take it anymore. So we broke off and went to a German restaurant to drink and regroup.

After we relaxed a bit, we decided to go find our own dance club, which we easily did. The cover was… well, there was a cover charge for dudes, which I didn’t mind paying. I wanted to dance. I didn’t care if no one else followed. But the rest of the boys encountered the dilemma all American boys face when confronted with a cover charge to a club and they are unsure if they want to dance, “Is it worth it?”  They thought not. So in the end it was my original friends and the other Peace Corp volunteers. We had the best time!

The next morning we packed up early to catch the marshrutka to Mestia!

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***

Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond

Find light in the beautiful sea
I choose to be happy
You and I, you and I
We’re like diamonds in the sky

Diamonds, Rihanna

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