Once upon a time, my friend Kaley and I went on a trip to the small Caucasian nation of Georgia. The last few days of our trip were spent in Batumi- a resort town on the Black Sea coast, extremely popular since Soviet times.
|Our bus from Gori to Batumi|
|as of yet untained khachapuri|
"How much was the bill? We would like to pay."
"No, no, they already paid for you."
"I understand, but we want to leave...alone...if they pay for us, they will think we owe them something else, won't they?"
"What?!" the waitress seemed shocked, "No, absolutely not! If you want to leave, say thank you and leave. Don't worry, they don't expect anything."
So with considerable relief, I tapped Kaley on the shoulder and gave the signal it was time to leave. After thank yous and goodbyes, we began to back out of the restaurant, but the men tried to invite us to another bar. We only managed to throw off their insistences by claiming we had to meet a friend. When we finally left the restaurant, we weren't free from their grip yet, because they were leaving right behind us. We knew it would have been much more difficult to get them to leave us on the open street, so we picked a direction and booked it before they could find us. We saw them leave the restaurant from down the street, and unfortunately they started in our direction.
So we did the only logical thing, and sprinted up a random apartment building stairwell to hide and wait for them to pass.
We couldn't contain ourselves. The after shocks of adrenaline turning into hyperactivity in our brains and we literally ran and skipped down the wide, empty, off-season streets laughing and yelling like American hyenas.
In our giddy haze we didn't notice a young man in our path. He turned around and smiled, "Why are you laughing?" his English cut through our shrieks.
I forget the exact conversation that ensued, but basically this guy, named Tengo, turned out to be studying English...but his skills were, uh, still developing, so he called his friend who had lived in America and made us talk on the phone with him. Then he invited us for coffee and said he would call his English teacher to see if she wanted to join us.
|big feet at the beach|
Coffee with Tengo was, honestly, quite difficult since his English teacher was unable to join us and there was a significant language barrier, but I'm so glad we did it, because the next day we met up with Tengo again and he drove us all over the city! He even bought us each a big English hardcover illustrated book with Georgia's most famous epic poem, The Knight in the Panther's Skin!
So, that's like 50% of what happened in Batumi, and some pretty awesome times with really cool people.