Hello Georgia – you sweet sweet lady. After a brutally long drive through the desert, mountain ranges and rolling Georgian hillsides, we arrived to Tbilisi – Georgia’s capital city. Home of Joseph Stalin and of course the Khinkali – a Chinese looking dumpling that is down right delicious.
It’s the most populous city in Georgia with just over a million people. The culture there is ancient and interesting. We were completely bent upon our arrival with no place to stay. Our initial reaction to the situation was to just dog it. You know – the Team Baja Llama default action in these situations of sittin’ on a street corner with beers in hand bullshitting until something is decided upon.
Sitting on the car, playing music and conversing with everyone that walked by was a great way to get immersed with the locals at 10am. Finally we found an apartment to rent on the top floor of a nice residential neighborhood in the center of the city. The plan was to take a little nap, shower and paint the town red. We had previously stopped by the site of a major dance club located underneath a soccer stadium and thought that was the place we were going to have a banger of a time.
We were doing a little pregame at the apartment when we met our cheeky neighbors who were peering over the shoulder height balcony separator. They were 4 women from Russia that flew down for a long weekend to celebrate their friends 37th Birthday. Their spirits were running super high as ours were starting to fade. We needed a tiny little nap to regain energy and be FULL POWER.
8 hours later, the entire team woke up fully rested and feeling fresh. Sadly the 24 hour journey and morning beers had annihilated our energy and we passed out around 6pm. No worries, there was always the next night.
The next day was dedicated to putting a gas can holder on the roof rack. Jason woke early to get some coffee and brekkie. He called Jeff who promptly met him down the street at one of the most wickedly cool hotels they had been to in a long time. Rooms Hotel is the name. Every detail of the hotel was masterfully created and attention paid to the smallest of details. They have a $200,000 McIntosh stereo sitting in the common room with a constant flow of mellow instrumentals playing in the background.
Breakfast was sound so we took off to meet the boys and get the car situated. This place as far as we knew it would be the last western paved road and english as a second language country we would drive through. We wanted to get our midget beast all the fixings before we left town. After meandering around the city for an hour or so we found the big open air market. It seems these are in every country we like being in. Usually hot, muggy, dirty and vibrant – these markets are a cesspool of nefarious activity and generally a place we like to go when things need to get done.
Jeff found some welders making what looked to be bed frames, and through the power of excessive hand movement and yelling he was able to convince a man to pause his monotonous lifes work to start welding on our gas can.
We all were starving at this point so we cruised the area until we found a zen like Buddhist retreat of a restaurant. It was not more than 3 blocks from the disgusting market streets. The service was understandably atrocious, but the food was decent and the atmosphere was fantastic. No one was there and we had a perched table on a little terrace overlooking the gardens and ponds.
After these mundane shenanigans, what were we to do? Anything cool to see in the town? Any museums, points of interest, culturally significant venues? I’m sure there were, we just didn’t find them. By this point the team was still so discombobulated mentally that we didn’t know which way was up. It was as if we had enough sleep the night before, but still didn’t regain any of the mental capacity we had lost.
I can’t be sure of what happened next. I know Jeff and JH went out searching for some fun. The only thing that is certain about Georgia is that it’s a place that was completely done wrong by team Baja Llama. Never have they been such boring losers in all their worldly travels. Collectively the team would tell you they really shit the bed here. Upon reflection and talking with other teams, it’s certain that our headspace really prevented us from fully enjoying and taking everything from this city that we could. Our plan to bleed her dry backfired 100%. That’s how it goes sometimes though. It’s just like when you get so pumped for so long on a certain night out and it’s shit. Then next time when you’re not expecting it you have the best night of your life. Well – maybe all of our expectations were the preemptive curse for not fully exploiting Tbilisi.
We were off the next morning. Feeling regretful and annoyed with ourselves, and also the city for not throwing us a welcome party! Next stop Baku, Azerbaijan. Try saying that 10 times fast please. The common joke amongst the other wayward vagabonds embarking on this journey even today is, “We’re still waiting for the ferry in Baku.”