Tuesday, June 28, 2011




A good question to ask yourself is 'how hard is it to replace'? As an example, when I was in the states, I had a bunch of extra cigarette lighters when I was in the states. I hated to throw them out so I stuck them in the pack. This is an item that you don't care about the brand (or really, the quality so long as it makes a bit of fire) and they are dirt cheap in most places. Not a good thing to pack extra as they're widely available. A different example is deodorant. When you're sitting in the states, you've got your favorite you always buy. Realize that it is probably not going to be available (or if it is it could be expensive) in other countries. Just dealing with the loss of that particular brand will allow you to pack much lighter. Also, you get the pleasure of experimenting with new stuff as you go.


For those wondering if the underwear I purchased when I was with Oleg are working out - they seem to be so far. I'll let you know if they disintegrate in the wash. We might have a winner.


I met a guy from the Netherlands named Wander Apoteka. That's like 'wandering drug store'. I consider 'wander' a great name for a traveler, and he has been to a lot of different places. He's also a really tall (2M+) and thin guy so if you see anyone like that, ask them if their name is 'Wander'.


Lasha didn't know of any English speaking doctors in Batumi so I decided I still had a couple cards to play. I went to the information center. I figure they'd have a list of English speaking doctors. This city is trying to become a tourist center. I figure there is nothing that would ruin the reputation of a city more than having something like a tourist get sick and die here. So, I went there to request their list of doctors.

They reacted in much the same way as you would if a stranger approached you with a carton of eggs and demanded you make a pyramid out of them.

They suggested I go to a clinic called 'Medina' via 'marshuka' (a small bus with an insane driver common in Georgia) because they are 'sure' they would have an English speaking doctor. It is an expensive private clinic. I asked if they could just phone 'Medina' and ask but at first I was told this was impossible because 'there was no money for the phone'. This means it is a long distance call and they can't call it on their office phone. I really had no desire to go for a ride on a crowded marshuka for an hour on her being sure of anything because I was very unsure of her. The fact that she had not one but three phones sitting in front of her was a bit of a sore point with me as well.

I gave the lady a level stare and then quietly asked 'What would you do if a tourist was seriously ill?'

I got stared back at for awhile as this question oozed it's way slowly through the ladies brain. She may have been struggling with the fact that she had a book lying out she obviously wanted to get back to. I say obviously because it was in front of her.

I began to relax into my chair and make myself comfortable.

I'm not sure if it was me looking like I might become a fixture in her office that prevented her from reading her book or if she just figured out the answer on her own that finally got her mobilized. Or it could have been the fact that I pulled out a small hard bound book and began to take furious notes (for this blog) and she got the wrong idea from that. I'm OK with people sometimes getting the wrong idea.

She passed the problem one level up to her boss.

Her boss somehow magically added money to her cell phone. It made a chirping sound to let us both know money had been added to it. Her boss also asked me what the problem was.

Now, in America, when someone comes to you and says they need a doctor you don't ask why. It is considered personal. What if the answer was something like 'genital warts'? Not good to hear about. [Note, I am excluding nurses and such from the people who should mind their own business on this one. Also, I had specified a 'general practitioner' when I had originally talked to the inept lady at the information booth.]

At heart I am a bastard sometimes (or more) and I was thinking about saying explosive diarrhea that I could feel getting ready to burst even as I talked to her but I told her I was looking for immunizations for Africa and Asia. The boss seemed satisfied with this answer and went away. [Note she made various promises to find a local English speaking doctor in Batumi as well but this never occurred. Since I seem to have gotten an answer I am OK with that.]

Through use of the newly charged cell phone, the local 'information lady' (who seems to be an expert in marshuka routes but little else) had me call and talk to a cardiologist in 'Medina'.

He told me that of course they couldn't help me in Batumi - they had nothing like that here. That's OK - I figured it might happen but I wanted to check. He did give me the name and number of an Irishman working in Tbilisi who might be able to help me.

Lasha said I can use his phone to call. More on this later.


So, while I was feeling frustrated and irritated anyway sitting in the information office, I decided I should knock another irritant out of the way and asked about teaching Georgians to speak English. The lady knew a different information booth I should go to about an hour away. I asked if this would be a local call. She grudgingly admitted it would be though the walk would be 'good exercise'.

The Erik Cartman retort was stifled quickly. It was painful, but I did it.

Keep classy, I told myself.

I smiled.

Well, that was the intent. I swear to God, it was the intent.

I think what she saw is all of my teeth. She may have thought, "Oh God, he is so fat - I'll bet he's killed and eaten a lot of people, now he is going to do it to me too."

She grabbed the phone and began to dial.

After talking to the lady from TLG to find out the possibility of me being able to teach Georgian policemen English (cool) I discovered that they had absolutely no desire for me to do so. I wasn't even looking for money - just pitch in for an hour or two every day for awhile. Make new friends, that sort of thing. Nope. The only people they have an interest in are those that signed contracts for six months or a year. What the fuck.

So, I don't think I'm going to be teaching the kids or the cops German here.

Especially since TLG never responded to my e-mail.

Christ, I hate bureaucratic crap.


Mediocre baklava, per piece: .8 GEL

Box of noodles that fills up my tiny (inner, obviously) belly, 1.2 GEL


  1. "'marshuka' (a small bus with an insane driver common in Georgia")- Never heard more exact definition of 'marshutka'

  2. I got my immunization for South America yesterday: 3 shots against 7 diseases. 166€ and 10 days no alcohol - wtf.


  3. Ten days with NO drinking? Egad! Plus, that's pretty big money.



{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

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