Monday, October 21, 2013

Georgian Vacation Day 6, or "UPGRADE"

Gohar wakes me up to go for our run as we planned to be on the road for 10am. I drink some water and we head out. It has never been this sunny this early in the morning before and we begin sweating profusely. We make our 15 minute mark in 13 minutes and head back. I am feeling quite dehydrated on this run so am a little more tired/sluggish than normal. When we get to our 30 minute mark, Gohar mentions it has been less than 20 minutes. We thought we made a mistake but realize we just ran a lot faster on the way back. We are impressed but too sweaty to really revel in it. We added some sprints but decided to try gradual acceleration this time and headed home. We quickly changed, had our protein shake and went straight for our last swim in Gonio. We had at least an hour before we had to head out to Kobuleti. Gohar and I swam more individually this time, both preoccupied with our mixed feelings of leaving Gonio and heading to the unknown. Batumi was interesting but I definitely preferred Gonio over it, but we were becoming quite bored with Gonio so I didn't really know what to expect from Kobuleti. Regardless, we dried up, headed home and ate the remaining vegetables and packed. We said goodbye to our host-family and took their number and our host-dad walked us to the mashootka stop and told us we were good girls. We realized we couldn't take a mashootka straight to Kobuleti but had to take one to Batumi and then another to our final destination. We got off at the right spot and about 5 mashootka drivers told us how to get to the stop that would take us to Kobuleti and we boarded a bus where the driver waited until it was full to leave.

When we arrived in the centre, we began walking in the direction Gohar knew her host-family from 3 years ago was. She wasn't exactly sure where it was but felt we were at least headed in the right direction on the right street. On the way, 3 men sitting outside a gated area started talking in Russian with Gohar. They chatted for a bit and she told me they asked if we wanted to stay in the family run hostel behind them. We realized we could stay for just $7/night and when he showed us the place, we were sold. It was like a castle: stairs that twirled, beautiful colours, spacious rooms with large windows, huge showers and bathrooms. We both said “UPGRADE” to each other many times. We were paying a little more in Gonio for a lot less.
Twirly stairs!
We became delirious with excitement but realized we were also very hungry so headed out to get some lunch. We bought tomatoes and suluguni (Georgian cheese) and Gohar saw signs that read “lavash” (Armenian flat bread) and we decided that would be the perfect meal. But when we approached a bread maker, he told Gohar what he meant by lavash was a completely different bread. She asked if other places had Armenian lavash and he said no. We bought the Georgian version and on the way back home to eat, realized how beautiful Kobuleti was – a perfect mix of village and city. Just enough city to keep things interesting and just enough village to make it different and cozy. It was a place we definitely wanted to explore.

We made our sandwiches and the tomatoes were delicious just like Armenia's tomatoes when they are in season. We finished eating and were told there was wifi in our rooms. UPGRADE CENTRAL. I logged on and was able to get some work done which relaxed me and Gohar and I headed off to the beach, deciding to buy an ice cream on the way as a celebration. We had watched an episode of Arrested Development where George Sr. was eating/savouring an ice cream sandwich in prison and Gohar and I both talked about how we had eaten that exact same type (in the US and Canada respectively) and how delicious it was. We wished they existed in Yerevan and sighed. When we went looking for ice cream, we joked that maybe Georgia had ice cream sandwiches and of course we ended up finding them. We bought two and headed to the beach. The first thing we noticed was that there was an actual crowd here and laughed about how we thought 3 people was “busy” in Gonio. This was hardcore. We found a spot and began eating our ice creams which hit the spot – half was covered in chocolate and the other half was a traditional ice cream sandwich. I couldn't believe how good it was and for the first time EVER, the real thing was as good as the idea itself.
I am too impressed with myself that I found this
Gohar and I headed into the water and decided to swim to the buoy again to feel invincible. I copied Gohar from the previous time and held it as a sign of accomplishment and asked Gohar if she was going to hold it too. She said yes she would because she wanted to steady herself while she peed. I laughed and swimmed away pretending to give her a sense of privacy even though no one else was around. She called my name about 20 seconds later and out of nowhere there were two young men swimming towards her, mid-pee I assume, and they both seemed very intent on holding the buoy as well. Competition. I watched as Gohar refused to let go and go somewhere else, even as they both awkwardly held it as well. Gohar had the strangest look on her face and I knew she made up her mind: she would finish the pee as a form of protest. And she did.

We swam back, lost our spot for at least 15 minutes and by then the sun was gone so it was a little chillier so we left sooner than anticipated. Then Gohar asked if I would want to run since it was the perfect weather for it (nice breeze). We decided to do it while running in the direction she thought her old host-family would be, and then on the way back we would pick up a watermelon to devour. MULTI-TASKING AT ITS FINEST.

We began our smooth run and realized Kobuleti even has bike paths on the sidewalks. We ran by parks, tree houses, tennis courts, markets and were really beginning to love the area, even wishing we had spent less time in Gonio and more time here. We saw bikes on the street and found out we could rent them at a much better price/deal than in Batumi and we became ecstatic. We decided the next day we would go for an early bike ride, swim, head to the markets to buy all the spices in Georgia and then head back to the beach. We finished our run without finding Gohar's old house and bought the smallest watermelon (9kg, represent) and headed home to eat it, shower, check e-mails and sleep.

We ate too much and Gohar felt sick. We put the rest in the fridge (this hostel had a full on kitchen open to only us) and showered, settling in for the night. We definitely wish we spent more time on Kobuleti and are already thinking of extending...dun dun dun!!

Observations: Georgian drivers are as insane with pedestrians as Armenian ones.

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