Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ninotsminda weekend

Friday, 29July after work, I got a call from Molly, another English Teacher from about 45mins outside my town. She told me she was in town. I met up with her at the marshrutka station. I was on my way to Jennifer's for the weekend. Jennifer was in Molly's group of teachers. Clint was also on his way to the station. He met Molly and offered her a place to stay for the weekend if she didn't have plans and she didn't, so we all left together for Clint's town, Akhalkalaki.
Molly had left her house to buy yarn (wool for crocheting or knitting ), and ended up randomly catching a lift to Akhaltsikhe, my town. There she was on her way to Akhalkalaki with Clint and I! You have to love the spirit!
To her credit, she did buy the yarn.

My students had assed their police friends to take me to Ninotsminda (Jennifer's town) as soon as I arrived in Akhalkalaki. I told the driver I'd be free at 5, after Clint's class. But one of Clint's Students lives in Ninotsminda, so her offered to take me there after class. I subsequently cancelled my prior arranged transport. After class, the student got a call frm his boss and had to work, and thus could no longer give me a ride. I called my student's friend and he was also no longer available. Grrrreat!

While we were standing outside the police station, me sulking, Molly listening to me, Clint started hitch-hiking for me. I stopped him, of course! I hadn't done that since varsity, and that was many moons ago! He assured me it's safe to do that there as there are no marshrutka's to Ninotsminda. There was another guy at the hiking spot, who was going to the same town.
We got a lift in a Mercedes ML driven by 2 Russian youngsters. Akhalkalaki Is full of Russians and Armenians, my little bit of Georgian was useless there. I don't even know the difference between Russian and Armenian at this stage. It's like Sotho and Tswana, only I understand those two languages.

30mins later, we were in Ninotsminda, a very rural village, in my opinion. Our villages in Akhaltsikhe aren't have as village-like as that town. Sorry did I say village? It's a 'town'. Chickens and cows and horses all over the show. The roads aren't tarred either.
Jen let me use her room for the weekend. I had lunch, bread, and fries. And cheese, probably. I can't remember.
We then went for a walk, I wanted to check the place out. We saw some cute boys. We bumped into a PCV, american, of course, who lives in the same town. Apparently he and Jen had heard about one another, only they hadn't met yet. We hung out for what seems like forever as he and Jen went on and on about college basketball, Ohio state this, Michigan that! Me, sitting patiently, wishing I had a car, so I could drive home or somewhere, anywhere. I didn't want to do be rude and be on my blackberry because, apparently that would be very rude and it's not rude to invite a friend over, have them travel almost two hours, including hitching and blatantly ignore them for 2 hours and later ask them when they're leaving when your new 'friend' invites you over for dinner!
Back to the house, bed.
Saturday, 30 July
Next morning, I woke up around 6. I went to bed around midnight the previous night, chatting on BBM to my friend Phumle about life and things. She's in Johannesburg. Two hours later, everyone was still sleeping, I had to do something. So I texted the guy I hitch hiked with. He had asked for my number and I took his instead, not intending to call him cos, let's face it! We met hitch hiking!
He texted back, and proposed to take me for a walk before the picnic. Jen's police friends had invited us for a picnic. He picked me up in a cab frm the house and we were dropped off near the park. I almost immediately got this text from Jen ' my host mom is mad that a guy in a taxi came to pick u up. She said the neighbors gossip a lot without knowing the full story'. I apologised and asked if I should head back. She said not to worry she explained that he was a friend. I don't know what else he would have been, but oh well. The 'friend' and I walked up and down as there isn't much to do there, then we sat at the park and talked. He bought me ice cream and Sprite! And I don't KISS and tell, so that's it for now!
We were there for about 3hours, when I got a text from Jen telling me to hurry up and get back to the house they were about to leave. It was 1:20 and I'd been told we'd be picked up at 2. And Clint and Molly were going to join us, they hadn't arrived yet. 'Friend' called me a cab, I got back at the house, the host sister was doing her make up. We sat there and watched her for about an hour and a half. We left at 3. Some took a cab because for some reason, they came to pick us up in a packed police van (truck). And assumed 5 adults would manage to squeeze in. And we were not allowed to hop on the back of the van. Photo shoot at the picnic, I had to be in. All the photos, because, well, I don't know. But it was exhausting, it was scorching hot and I was hungry AND I just met the lady that needed me to take tons of photos with her 6yr old daughter.
We ate, and drank and had fun. The picnic was at the lake. Beautiful, huge lake! We then were invited to spend this coming weekend in Batumi by the beach, at one of the guy's stip joint/hotel. Later on, we left the lake for this guy's restaurant. We had drinks and chocolate and danced to random music. Molly (the yarn lady, had still not gone back home! She and her yarn stayed the weekend!) decided to sleep over at Jen's so that she and I could head back to akhaltsikhe together where she'd catch her marshrutka back to her 'home'. We were told not to wory about transport, we'd be taken home in a police vehicle.
Sunday 31 July
I confirmed transport arrangements with the host sister as I didn't need any more transportation drama. The 'sister' assured me we'll be fine and had nothing to worry about, let's all just go to the restaurant and have khinkali (Georgian dumplings) as planned. It was 15mins before the last marshrutka left for my town and both Molly and I felt we needed to get back more than khinkali. Not the sister!
I asked her to call the guy responsible to take us home and confirm, she said that wasn't necessary. I literally begged her to do so for our peace of mind. Call it a hunch, she still refused. In my understanding, it's free for police officers to call one another.
We left for the restaurant at 1pm, had the khinkali, BILTONG and some wine. Came time to leave, the sister who was adamant transport was a done deal, told us she can call us a cab from Ninotsminda to akhalkalaki, we might still catch the last marshrutka in Akhalkalaki and then Molly would have to take another cab from Akhaltsikhe. Here's a breakdown: a marshrutka frm Akhalkalaki to akhaltsike is 6Lari (R24) for an hour's ride. Ninotsminda is 30mins away frm Akhaltsikhe and we're supposed to take a cab for 10Lari (R40) and Molly would have to take another cab for 20Lari (R80) for the 45min ride home frm Akhaltsikhe. All this instead of 'getting a ride' in a police car AS PROMISED! So, of course, I reminded her that she tols us to forego our taxi for khinkali with them, promising us a ride home. she explained how impossible my that was as their police cars aren't allowed to leave the region. I cannot stress enough that this is the same lady that had promised us transport and refused to call the boss to confirm for us. We ended up(pissed off) getting a lift to Akhalkalakhi, catching a marshrutka to akhaltsikhe, Molly caught a lift from a police officer to her house. Yarn in tow!