Friday, December 9, 2011

You're an Ass-hole my friend!

Friday 2nd December
........ I don't know if my room-mates / carriage mates slept at all the night before, but I woke up and find them all staring at me. I suppose they were curious to see what a zangi (nigger) looks like first thing in the morning. I pulled my beanie (hat) down, trying to hide underneath it until I cleaned my face up. the stares wouldn't stop!
I cleaned myself up as much cleaning as you can achieve on a train. It was still early, around 6am and we were scheduled to arrive in Tbilisi at 07:25. I lay down again, and faced the wall, anything to avoid the stares. At 7 o'clock, someone scratched me in the centre of the palm of my hand. You know when someone's trying to 'seduce' you while you shake their hand, and they sneakily scratch the centre of the palm of your hand? Yup! They did that to me while they thought I was asleep. IGNORE! I woke up about ten minutes later.
More stares, more zangi jokes I couldn't understand, more pointing at me and laughing, more of the same stuff as the night before.

When we finally arrived in Tbilisi, I couldn't wait to get out! On my way out, I went over the 'English speaking' Stand up comedian and asked if he knew what an ass hole was. He was like, 'me?' DO YOU KNOW WHAT AN ASS HOLE IS OR NOT? 'ME?' YEAH, YOU! YOU'RE AN ASS HOLE MY FRIEND!
Then I walked away. Whether he got it or not, I couldn't be bothered, it just felt nice saying it to his face.
I went over to the booking side of the station to book my return ticket. After a long wait, when it was my turn, the lady said something in Georgian or Russian, who knows, who cares? I know I didn't understand her and everybody looked at me when she said it. She then walked away from the counter and started cleaning up her office. I thought she may have closed, but everybody else, behind me stayed in line. I was the only one that didn't understand what the heck was going on. Some of the guys in the queue tried to explain to me what was going on IN RUSSIAN (Georgian are convinced Russian is English!) and then they pointed to another queue. I know there's a lady that speaks English on the other counter, so I just went over there and queued all over again, trying not to let it get to me. I had had a long morning as it was. As soon as I left that queue, that lady went back to work, I guess she just didn’t want to help me. Fortunately, the other lady was willing to help. I got my ticket and took the metro (subway) to Marjanishvili.

The office opens up at 9:30 or something, I needed to collect something from them. I was early. I went to Mc Donald's for breakfast. Fortunately, the staff speaks English.
Hi!
Hello!
Do you speak English?
So So
Ok, how are you? (to see how so so her English was)
Thanks, you?
(Oh Lord!)
May I Please have a Mc Feast Deluxe?
What?
A Mc Feast?
What?
Do you sell a Mc Feast at all?
What?
Do you know what a Mc Feast is?
Excuse me, sorry, WHAT?
Okay! Uhm, does anyone speak English here, because, clearly, you don't speak English at all.
One minute please!
(She calls another dude, that looks like he doesn't speak English.)
Not convinced that he would understand me - Hi, I'd like a Mc Feast De Luxe please?
Oh a Menu? No problem!
I KNEW IT!
Okay, so nobody speaks English at THIS Mc Donald's! I'll take the menu thanks.
do you have a meal with  2 burgers and 2 cheeses?
2 Burger Patties?
(yess English!)
Yeah, have you got that? Wish two cheese slices?
blah blah blah, until English speaking staff showed up out of nowhere, like 3 or 4 of them! They must've been in English Speaker's training or meeting. It turned out they don't have Mc Feast at all. Sorry, I am not well clued up with the latest Mc Donald's menu, I'm in Georgia, there are only 4 Mc Donald's in the entire country, and none where I live.
I enjoyed my meal, or kinda did. There's something about Georgian Mc Donald's, it tastes like something's missing, like ketchup (tomato sauce) or something. And I don't even like tomato sauce!
They did nail my milk shake, I asked them to make it really thick, and they understood the word thick. Unlike the Indian restaurant where they thought thick meant really thin WITH LOTS OF ICE CUBES! (to make it super super weak!). Mc Donald’s 1 - Indian Restaurant 0.
They played really nice music. Lots of Mika, some of the songs I don't even know, but I love Mika, so yeah.

I called the office and told them I was already in Tbilisi, I needed directions to the office.
Me: I am at the Metro Station, won't you please direct me to the office, you can sms me the directions.
Office: Ok, no problem, it is very near, please go straight until you get to the office.
Me: Oh, that simple? Cool. Wait, Say I am in front of the Mc Donald's and I am facing the Metro, which direction should I go.
Office: go straight.
Me: Ok, this is an 4way street. There are 4 straight directions here, which one should I take? Should I walk up towards the ... Church or? Can you please explain to me?
Office: Go down the street....
Me: Oh, opposite direction to the Church?
Office: Yes, we are near the bank.
Me: Thanks, I will call you when I get to the bank
I walk down the street and see the said bank to my right, and another one across the street. Great! I look around for the office that supposedly clearly marked, and see nothing!
Me: Hi, I am in front of the bank, there are 2 of them! Where about are you?
Office: From the bank, please come this way and you will see the entrance to the office!
Me: Uhm, which way?
Office: You see the bank?
YES?
Come this way, we are on this side of the bank. Is there someone that speaks Georgian near you? Can you give them the phone? We are really not far from where you are.
Me: Not really, if you are close by, could you just direct me to where you are? ......
........ Until I found the office. Whew!

I got my document and headed for the Embassy, the reason I was in Tbilisi to begin with. My appointment was for the 8th of December, it was the 2nd, I was hoping for the best. I didn't want to wait until the 9th, it's too close to my departure date, what if there was a problem with my application? I wouldn’t have enough time to re-apply or something. It was snowy in Tbilisi, more snow than I've ever seen in Batumi. Parts of the city were warm, some were really cold. It was fascinating! I waltzed up the never ending drive-way praying a never ending prayer that they help me that dat. I got to the gate and the security recognised me from the first time I was there. He let me through, no questions asked. I was nervous and excited and confused and and and.
When I got in, I saw the guy that I talked to the first time I was there. He waved and disappeared into the offices. Oh Lord! Maybe he knows I don't have an appointment :( I was debating whether to be honest and appeal to their kindness by begging for their help or lying and telling them I had booked for that day and acting super confused and not impressed when they tell me my name was not on the list.
He came back and asked if he could help me. I had to bite my cheek because I knew I was about to lie through my teeth. I felt like he could see right through me, Which i why I never lie. I suck at it! I got caught too! He told me my name wasn't on the list. I stood there, blank faced, he called the call centre and they told him my appointment was the following wee. He came back and told me that because I had come all the way from Batumi, he would help me. I was glad he remembered and that my never ending prayer was answered. I just had to hope that I had all the required documentation.
Alas, I didn’t! He was so kind, he snuck me his email address and told me to scan him the missing document. Yesssss! I couldn't believe my luck! SUCCESSSSS!

I took the bus back to the city. I was on the phone the entire time. Sometimes that's the best thing you can do to avoid all the stares and the madness. I got off and wandered about while still on the phone. An old Georgian man walked, slowly towards me, he stuck his tong out and did that thing that perverts do with their eye-brows (think up and down motion). I may have thrown up in my mouth a bit! I crossed the street and encountered 2 gypsies. They cornered me, called me zangi, felt my skin, one of them kicked me in the leg. I wished I were dreaming. I wasn't, they followed me for a while. Nobody said a thing. I thought they wouldn’t, but they stopped and walked away. Whew!

I called my friend, D, spent some time with her at hers then we went over to her new bf's. After a little bit of awkwardness, that I won't get into, I decided to leave.
I prayed for a more peaceful train ride than the night before, And I got it! The next morning, I was back in Batumi - then Sarpi. I couldn't be happier to be back in my own little room, all by my lonesome!