I have some catching up to do here so stick with me. By the way I will add pcitures once I get back and can easily upload them, thanks for asking everybody though. I have been running around ragged the last few days having blast but not really sleeping and not having any time to update my site or answer emails. I am currently in Odessa, Ukraine chilling on the Black Sea but I was however, sad to leave Tbilisi the other day.
Tbilisi is easily the nicest of the three Caucasus capitals; Baku and Yerevan being the others. It is at the base of the Mountains and has a lot to do. The city is excellent to walk around and has a great old town with lots of cool sites and killer, absolutely killer food. I will do a future top 5 list and Georgian food will certainly make that list. Also, the people were great to me and were always willing to help and show you things, it was refreshing, especially in a former Soviet state.
The city itself is gorgeous, spotless almost, and set on either side of a beautiful river which the name escapes me right now…sometimes cities blend together. Tbilisi is also the jumping off point for tours of the Caucasus Mountains which are as advertised as stunning. Mt. Elbrus, technically the highest mountain in Europe and one of the seven summits is in them, although many peoople argue that it’s actually in Asia as Georgia technically is as well but you wouldn’t know it…it certainly looks and acts European.
My fun and relaxing time in Tbilisi ended early Monday morning when I caught a Minibus to Yerevan, Armenia. For those of you who don’t know what a Minibus is or have never had the displeasure of riding in one of those deathtraps, you couldn’t even imagine what a horrifying experience they are. I didn’t know it was going to be a Minibus in my defense and when I saw it, my only other option was to take a $500 taxi 7 hours with a driver that smokes 8 cigarettes at a time-as all Georgians seemingly do (maybe not 8 cigs at a time but most people do smoke).
So against my better judgement from prior miserable experiences in Africa, Asia and South America, I went along with it and it was just that-awful. 18 people packed into a glorified minivan with basically folding chairs as seats and the bags packed in wherever they could fit or actually not fit. The driver drives like 10,000 mph while chain smoking the whole time and talking on his mobile phone. Did I mention that someone had a windshield on this one, yes a windshield for a car. Could a windshield fit into this hellish tin can, NO! but somehow they managed to get it in the middle of everyone. The funny thing is that nobody complains or yells about this kind of stuff and if you know me, you’re probably thinking there is no way Lee kept his mouth shut on this one and you’re right. However, to my disavail, as what happened when I “politely” asked the driver not to smoke, he didn’t understand me or care in the least. In addition, I think he was just too stupid to realize how uncomfortable it made it for everyone, especially those of us that are 6’3″ and don’t like windshield digging into our legs for 8 hours…oh well, what can you do.
To make a long story short, the ride was an absolute 8 hour nightmare but it actually ended up being alright in the end because good things happen to good people and I will fill in more on that once we get to Armenia, next entry.