The 2.5 hour bus ride to Tbilisi delivered the anticipated sauna which the weather suggested I might be treated to. Squeezed between a lumpy Georgian and a South facing window, respite only came briefly when we drove through a small thunderstorm, behind a lorry, and the driver kept his window open showering me nicely after the morning’s riding. I arrived to a flurry of taxi offers but braved the Georgian streets, stopping off at three bakeries en route for fuel, to make it to FedEx and ask optimistically whether our passports had arrived.
I was duly sent packing, early on Friday afternoon, until Monday afternoon as apparently the summer is a justifiable reason to not stick to their opening times and close all weekend! Free public wifi all over the city came in handy as I started tracking our parcel via a different delivery company to DHL who promised me that it might arrive at one of their depots at some point the next day!
In the meantime I went about trying to fix the iPad which had suffered a horrible fate descending the mountains when I fell in a river crossing, duly filling my bags, and the instrument which has been instrumental to our navigation and communication! After literally pouring water out of it for a while, I opened it up using my sketchy iPod touch knowledge from a few years ago and let it dry in the sun for a few hours, much to the confusion of the hardcore 4×4 crews riding up the valley. Unfortunately, the drying was not enough and a faint Apple quickly faded on startup. After two failed attempts at repairing it by local shops in Tbilisi, I left it with a third who told me they would do their best overnight…
I stayed the night with Nils, whom we met a week earlier in Tbilisi and who kindly offered me to stay for as long as I needed. He had three French friends over for the night and we unsurprisingly headed out for Georgian food, beer and vodka in town with his Georgian colleagues ending in a great club with a view over the city.
The next day, my terrible karma had reversed and as well as finding out that one of the French friends lives in Baku, both the iPad and the passports were collected in the nick of time in complete and functioning form! Elated and a little tired, I headed back to Lagodekhi, this time forced to sit on the bouncy bench at the back with the luggage, every bump in the road we had cycled over the previous week ensuring I stayed awake! I must have looked pretty disheveled, as even a little boy sitting in front of me offered me some of his sweets and peanuts!
*** I didn’t take any pictures in Tbilisi so instead, here is our first attempt at long shutter speed night shots: WNFTS = Why Not Fly to Shanghai ! ***