drive South

The morning is traditionally clouded. There's no-one in the hotel except for a sign in the reception that claims the price for a room for one to be 126 laris. How David made 50 laris of it, remains a mystery.
I move out if the room and wait on the street corner. We have to be in the airport at half past eight. Already at quarter past eight calls David to tell me that he's on his way.
Along the street approaches an old lady, wrapped in gaudy wardrobe and with a red headscarf. She parks herself on the opposite side of the corner and starts to curse the neighborhood loudly and rhythmically. Mostly in Russian, waving with a coffee cup and cigarette packet at the same time. At the end of the session the content of the cup is poured on the street, she says "gaumarjos" and "vsjo" and leaves left.
In the airport café is a part of our Georgian welcome committee. I get a sandwich and tea. The story about Tamar's picture makes me popular among the locals. We should actually be doing check-in already but no-one is in a hurry. Supposedly the airplane will wait. At last we give away our luggage and only after that I remember that my pocket knife is in my photo bag. This information creates some confusion among the welcoming committee but I try to calm them down saying that the knife will just be taken away. My own stupidity. Well, the knife is not taken away. The security gate doesn't even notice the cell phone in my pocket.
In the waiting room are some collapsed-looking notaries. They had a spirited night-breakfast. I'm scolded for being cheery.
In Batumi it's hot and sunny. Some rooms are ready and some are not. Finally me and Ülle-Riin move in on the 17th floor. The view is towards the sea, park and monstrument (monster + monument).
Others go to sleep, me and David go to see the city. Water in the sea is warm. For some reason my swimming suit is laying at home in a drawer. We eat some ice-cream and walk on the long promenade where really are the palm trees received as a gift from the shah.
For a while we stay on the piazza, the central square in the old town. The square is new, good-looking fake-baroque. There's wine and fruits. I've given up trying to pay for something long ago. Old town is nice. In the middle of the city towers Medea with the golden fleece. The Greek stole the gold-washing technology from Georgians. Then already they liked to live on the cost of others.
Suddenly somebody waves from a balcony. It's Nino, she shows us a bicycle. Right, they have a weird system here, a foreigner can't rent a bicycle and even a local needs a special card for that. Nino promises to arrange bicycles for us. Cool.
There's giant khatchapuri in the harbor.
Back to the hotel. Riina has made a souvenir-list. Genial.
The tour starts with a visit to an office. In the middle of the archive there's a generously loaded table. We get a demonstration how to make a POA via Skype. Then to the House of Justice. Looks like a giant bottle upside down. I suggest that it means everybody being constantly drunk. David says it's for not letting the jinn out. The point of the house is to be a contact point for the citizen when dealing with the state. Statistics on the wall: on 21st of September 228 chldren were born in Georgia, 111 marriages were registered, 251 companies were started and 2815 real estate transactions were done. For a real estate transaction you don't need a notary here, there are standardized contracts and lot of court disputes.
The piazza looks staggering also in the darkness with the lights on.
The dinner place is a bit away from the center. In big hall there are two long festive tables. The other table will be conquered by mainly local men. We are mostly women. A lot to eat. Music and dancing start almost immediately. Tamada is not very talkative. Estonians are represented by Jaan who also starts a song in Georgian. The other table goes bezerk and forgets what they came there to celebrate. When I discover myself standing on the chair and singing "Beer brewer" it's clear that things are getting out of hand and we escape along the beach.
free time

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