For someone my size, the bathroom at Hostel Batumi presents a series of daily challenges. There simply isn't a lot of room to maneuver. Additionally, there is very little shelf space to put my toiletries clothing when I prepare to shower. Although the plumber was out and suppose to fix the toilet two days ago, this hasn't happened yet. It is my belief that the tank of the toilet leaks which adds to the bathroom the 'wet floor challenge'. Nothing must touch the floor - not my feet, old clothes, new clothing, nothing. The floor is slick with water at all times despite the drain in the floor. But, I am a fairly tough, resilient world traveler. I can handle it. It takes just a few extra minutes every day. So, I go through all of the careful maneuvering and handling of things to ensure they don't fall on the floor and that I do not accidentally tear apart the bathroom. I then approach the shower clad in nothing but flip flops. In that small, windowless room the power then goes out plunging me into darkness. Neato. Slower, more careful maneuvering then takes place to get my glasses and towel. I am a fairly tough, resilient world traveler - I have a flashlight in my bag I carry everywhere. Aside from into the bathroom on this particular day. Towel in place, I dart (lumber) out and grab it. All of this is no big deal. I am either as far east as you can get in Europe or as far west as you can get in Asia depending on who you talk to. Shit happens. Flashlight in hand, I return. More careful maneuvering and placing things not to fall upon the dread floor. The flashlight is hung up to provide feeble light to the bathroom. I turn on the water. I suppose this is a good time to tell you how the water heater works. In America (as well as many other countries) the water heater is a huge tank that contains heated water. The heat is applied when the water is either used up and refilled or cools beyond a certain range. The water heater here doesn't seem to work that way. For one thing, it is tiny. I suspect that it heats the water as it is used. Not nearly as good for a couple reasons but I'm guessing it is more cost efficient. So, I now have a choice between 'cold' and 'icy'. On top of that, my carefully hung up flashlight begins to flicker showing the end is neigh for the batteries within. I am a fairly tough, resilient world traveler - I can wait until tomorrow for a shower.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Gary from Ireland, free range pharmacist. Unlike myself, he is a much more adventurous explorer. He entertained us with some of his tales of dealing with corrupt police and nearly being killed by them in Nigeria. He has had enough adventures that he (and I) thinks he should be writing a blog but a blog is a lot of work.
Gary has a very irregular work schedule as he works by substituting for other pharmacists. This allows him to have long periods of free time in his work. Gary is also responsible for the 'traveler's lore' tips below.
I was told it is permitted to bring your own wine to some restaurants, such as the White Room. This tells me that if you wanted a FEAST (with two bottles of wine) for four people it would cost about 32 GEL ($20 total or $5 per person). That so rocks.
The 'Georgian salad' is made from about 45% cucumbers and 45% tomatoes. The remaining 10% seems to be comprised of very small pieces of onion, some green herb I can't identify and perhaps some light oil I can't really taste.
GEORGIA AND KIDS
I hear that the government is encouraging larger families because 'Georgia is a small country'.
From what I've seen Georgian's are extremely indulgent with their children.
Adjarian Autonomous Republic: I've been told this is almost like a separate country but not quite. In 2004, a politician wanted it to be a completely separate republic. He even tried to blow up bridges that connect it to the rest of Georgia but the people rioted at this and he fled office. Now, it is kind of like being a state within the United States. The two completely separate republics that joined Russia make Georgians angry and nervous. But, there is nothing they can do about it as Russia has stationed troops there.
GEORGIAN CUSTOM - BEEJ-ZAH
This is hanging out in your neighborhood or no your street. Just hanging out. You might hang out alone or other people may show up. Could be called 'chillin' in American English. Due to the more interesting uses of computers (games) this custom seems to be disappearing.
'Flagging' is a fun game many people play. I hadn't heard of this since I was in the military and a few guys were playing it. At that point, I knew the game as 'Fuck the Planet'. 'Flagging' is a much nicer name. If you know a 'flagger' that has a home, you might consider getting them these wonderful bed sheets. Thanks to Travis G. on Facebook for that pic.
Northern Iraq likes Americans. They are Kurdish and apparently America liberated them from Saddam and such.
The Yellow Book aka vaccination book. This book has nothing at all to do with the King in Yellow but it is a record of your inoculations. Suggested inoculations for Africa (and possibly Asia) include Hep A & B (a drug called Twinrix may do both), typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus, cholera, yellow fever, rabies and meningitis.
Bottle of excellent Georgian wine, 8 GEL
Small cup of Turkish coffee, 1 GEL
Cheap, plastic flip flops from bazaar, 8 GEL
Cheap underwear from bazaar, 4 GEL
Basic corkscrew from bazaar, 1.5 GEL
Lunch at a restaurant in the bazaar (salad, main, bread, beer) 13 GEL
Swiss style army knife, bigger and heavier than I'd like but it's a knife, 10 GEL
WHAT ELSE LOGAN IS UP TO
Sylvia (TIU Frontpage Hostel in Odessa) had traded me for a book on Russian literature I had picked up for a book called "The River of Doubt" by Millard. I was wary of it because it is a) a biography b) dealing with Roosevelt c) historical. I figured that it would be another of these 'get a bunch of incompetent people together and go on a voyage we're totally unprepared for with our own ideals and not take local stuff into account at all' voyages. I was right, though I am still (for some reason) reading it. Usually, if a book doesn't interest me in a page or two I toss it. Anyone that reads through a book and tells me they didn't like it I see as having wasted a lot of time. There are literally millions of books out there you can try instead. But something about this keeps me reading. I blame Sylvia for getting me interested in it. This is also my last hard copy book, after this I am switching to the Kindle.
Every day, I am the first person who rises at the hostel. I usually get up, shower and am on the internet by say 9AM. Others may get up anywhere from noon to 14:00. This gives me plenty of time to type, reflect, whatever I need to do.