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Brad’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 26 Jul 2005

Location: Batumi, Georgia

MapJust a short update to let you all know that I yesterday I left Turkey and arrived safely in Georgia. After an 18 hour bus ride from Istanbul plus a further six hours to the border, having to put up with the heat and border guards trying to cage bribes from me it's good to have finally arrived.

Georgia is a fascinating place. I'm currently in Batumi, a sweltering port city on the black sea coast surrounded by lush green hills. It's really humid here, and its been raining a thin mist the entire time I've been here, just enough to make you damp.

One of the most interesting things about Georgia is the language. It's from a language group totally unrelated to anything else and is totally indesipherable. Not many people speak English here either. Coming from Turkey where I know some of the language and most people could speak some English it has been quite a challenge to communicate with people at times!

Last night I went out for dinner and was invited by a father and son (both Georgians) to join them at their table. The son spoke english quite well, and I ended up sharing the meal with them. That, and a rather substantial amount of alcohol. Never try and outdrink a Georgian - just sitting down at a table with them is a serious risk to your liver! They have this great tradition where at any function there is a toastmaster whose duty it is to make a toast every so often. The guy last night was really poetic! Then after the toast, eveyone must drain their glasses. Of course, it's rude to toast with anything but chacha, the Georgian version of vodka, so after the fifth or sixth toast things start getting pretty sketchy. On top of this they drink beer at the same time! So consider yourselves warned!

Today I arranged to meet up with the guys from last night and we went and swam in the Black Sea, it was really warm! Since the I've just been resting, but I've noticed some odd comings and goings at my hotel. The lady, or should I say madam, running it is really nice, but there does seem to be a bit of a side buisness going on...