Monday, October 3, 2011

Hitch Hiking From Batumi to Tbilisi

Friday 30 Sept
 I decided to do something I haven't done here yet, something I don't generally do, and hitch hike! I asked a friend for pointers as she does this a lot. She told me where to go and what to do etc. It was pouring outside. Great weather to hitch hike! NOT!
 I kept going back to bed, the weather was so discouraging!
 I decided 11 o clock sounded like a good hour to hike. I cleaned my room and got ready to leave. My host dad asked where I was going in that weather. He knows I'm not fully recovered from my flu. I lied and told him I was meeting a friend at the train station. He said, 'you know the train doesn't leave until 11 tonight, right?' I was like, yeah, I do, maybe we'll take a marshrutka. He said,'but the marshrutka station is right here!' Well, I don't know, but I've to meet my friend and we'll figure it out from there. He offered to take me to the station. Great!
 The station is quite far! I wasn't aware! It's right next to the Opera house where we watched a performance with the President.
 He dropped me off (my host dad, not the president lol). I waited for him to disappear, bought something to eat and used the bathroom because you never know when you'll get a chance to use it while hitch hiking.
 I found a spot and did my thing. The hitch hiking gesture here is different from back home. Either way, it was pouring rain. I got a lift in less than 2minutes. He dropped me off 10minutes later. I'd to hike again. I got another lift in about 2minutes again. It was two guys that said they were going to Kobuleti. They dropped me off about 2minutes later after asking me everything under the sun about myself. They did not drop me off in Kobuleti where they said they were going. Which was on my way. Then another lift to the real Kobuleti! In a cab! An actual cab offered me a lift! How nice are these people? We talked a bit. One of them new about 10 English words. I know a few Georgian:).
 In Kobuleti, I hoped that my friend, Michelle wouldn't catch me hitch hiking in the middle of her town. Nobody knew I was hiking besides my friend from Batumi. Michelle moved to the main road in Kobuleti, and I know her family owns a restaurant. Which is where they live. I made it a point to pass all the restaurants and then stand and do my thing. I got a lift in about 5 minutes. This time to Kutaisi.
 The guy told me he's half Georgian, half Italian. He taught me a few Italian words with a very weird pronunciation. Then he asked me the usual Georgian, personal questions like whether or not I'm married and y I'm not married.  As he was talking, his hand kept landing on my knew, it doesn't matter how far from him, I moved my leg. A bit further up, then he'd just rest it on my thigh and keep talking about God knows what. I moved the hand umpteen times. As time went on, he said 'hotel!'. He didn't speak any English. He asked if I wanted to go to the hotel with him. I asked, when? He said that day. And I asked him what about where I'm going? He told me he'd give me a lift all the way to Gori if I went to the hotel with him. I politely declined.
 Then he said something that I think meant that he and I should hook up. I told him I didn't understand. Frankly, I didn't want to understand. He'd talk about other things (still not sure what) and then go back to the same hotel subject.
 We picked up another lady on the way. As soon as she got in, I heard the driver tell her everything he knew about me. Then she asked her how much I earn per month. Don't freak out, it's a normal question here, one of the first things you get asked along with how you are, what your name is, your age and y you're not married etc. I told them I'm a volunteer and don't get paid. The driver thought I didn't understand. He said 'stipend' (which of course impressed me). I said yeah, I understand (in Georgian) and I told him in Georgian that I got nothing. He was convinced I didn't understand, the woman said 'salary!'Georgia  President, Micha. I said 'ara pheri' which means, nothing. They gave up and continued to talk to each other. Whew!
 After we dropped the lady off, the hand started again! Then he asked me to visit him at his house. I told him, I was sorry, I already had plans for the weekend. He giggled like a little girl. Silence. Then 'hotel'. Then he hummed hotel California. I sang along. We both sang out loud like fools. And we didn't even know all the words. I knew some, he practically sang it in Genglish (Georgian/English).
 He, out of the blue, said 'sex?'. I was like 'huh?'. 'Sex, sex English kho?' (Sex is an English word, right?). Ver gavige!  (I don't understand). Sex! Sex! Sex! I kept saying I didn't understand. Just for the fun of it.
 I did consider getting out of the car, but I didn't feel threatened yet, he was just being annoying. He wasn't brave enough to do anything, I reckoned. He dropped me off in Kutaisi, two hours later. 2hours! Of harassment!
 I went to the bathroom and then back to the hiking spot. This time, my clothes had dried off from two hours in a warm, dry car. It was pouring in Kutaisi as well. People were more rude in Kutaisi! They would slow down, pretend to want to stop, get me running towards the car and speed off. That happened a few times. Some would slow down and say something. I assumed it was 'where the heck are you going?' Then, boom! A car stopped and while I was running towards it, a truck honked (hooted) and I signalled for it to stop. I told the private car driver, I was going to Gori, he said No! I then proceeded to the truck. I had options! :)
 That thing was massive! There was huge space between us. Which I was super grateful for. No more touching of the thigh. Hooray! He was a nice man. He told me about himself, his family, job, etc. And that they'll be hosting an English teacher in a week's time. I gave him my number and told him to get the teacher to call me.
 He wasn't creepy at all! He even told his wife, over the phone that he was with me. He gave me his cellphone and ear phones to listen to music. He had a lot of Eminem in there! He also gave me a packet of Russian sweets (candy).
 He dropped me off in Gori, 4.5hrs later!
 Yesssss! I did it!