I finally arrived in Batumi about 4:00 PM and as I said in the previous post, knowing how and where to stop is important as the driver did not stop at the train station but the marshutka station, a few kilometers down the road. It all worked out well as my megobari (Georgian for friend) Richard was able to locate me very easily.
First off to a small restaurant, owned by Richard’s host father, for some ludi (beer) and Georgian breads (Kachapuri, a cheese filled bread, and Tonis puri, a bread baked in a kiln) both nice and hot. Pictures to follow.
After a short ride down by the beach we headed to a wine shop for a tasting of some very nice wines. Finally off to the host family house where I met Richard’s host mother and many other family members who live near by.
Dinner was good and filling and just as we were getting ready to settle down there was a knock on the door!! We were invited to one of the relative’s house a few doors down for a going away Supra (celebration meal) for one of the member who was leaving in the morning to work in Russia. The food was delicious and the home made wine and chacha (home made vodka) flowed freely.
The weather forecast for Sunday was supposed to be sunny, but I awoke to a cool breeze and rain. Thankfully the rain was short lived and the sun broke thru the clouds. Breakfast was delicious , breads, eggs, cheese, and coffee what more could I want except sharing it with Suzanne but I am sure she is also enjoying her meal.
Off to tour Batumi.
Richard is a most gracious host so he started the day with a bus ride from his house to downtown Batumi. He doesn’t live in the city but in a small village by the Batumi airport. I guess it is considered to be in Batumi but when giving directions he was referring to it by another name, almost like a suburb.
There is a lot of construction happening in Batumi with new hotels, restaurants and other attractions being built. My descriptions may not do the city justice, I only hope I have some good pictures. There are sections of Batumi that if you didn’t notice the Georgian letters on the store fronts you would think you were in New Orleans. Here are old churches, mostly Georgian Orthodox, but I did see one Catholic church which was rather new.
Around three o’clock Richard and I met up with Amy Harris, another PCV who lives and works in Batumi. Together we finished our walk through the streets of Batumi and headed to the Boulivard, a long walk along the Black Sea coast, about 6 kilometers long. The beach is not sandy rather rocky but it was filling up with people. It wasn’t long before we ran into another group of trainees and PCVs who traveled to Batumi to enjoy some of the sunshine. We all stopped at a beach front restaurant for snacks and drinks.
Later in the afternoon we said our goodbyes to the other volunteers and headed to have a bite to eat at place new to Richard and Amy.
After dinner we walked Amy most of the way home then Richard and I raced off to catch the bus home only to have the last one pass us by 😦 We had to get a taxi for our return trip home.
I was looking to retire early Sunday evening but that was not to be the case. About 10:00 PM there was a knock at the door and Richard’s host mother came in to invite us to a going away party for one of the family who was heading to Russia for work. Little did we know this was a full Supra ( a Georgian celebration). There was food, food and more food. There was wine, wine and more wine. There was chacha, chacha and more chacha (Georgian homemade Vodka). And there was the tamura (toastmaster) giving toast after toast. This continued for a couple of hours until Richard and I had to excuse ourselves because Monday was a work day.
On the Job:
Monday I became a shadow to Richard as he went to work. It was a short day as he wanted to show me all that he did which was not all with the same organization. He works for the Institute for Democracy, a NGO whose mission is to look out for people’s rights, government transparency and assist people at risk with legal and social services help. The other organizations Richard works with are the Education USA which works with Georgians to perfect their English language so they can apply for scholarships and grants and finally an organization that works with children with hearing problems. The one other thing he does is teach English to the children in his neighborhood.
Monday night we spent with Richard’s host family on one last spin around the city taking in the evening sights.
Back to Telavi.
Tuesday morning started early with a bus ride to the marshutka station and the 6 hour ride back to PST. Along the way two other trainees, Ryan and Heather joined me on the ride back.
To say the least this was a much needed but tiring break from the grind of PST.
The link below should take you to the pictures I took. Enjoy: