Down, but not Out in Georgia Pt 7: Connections and Coincidences in Small Places

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July 18th 2014
Published: July 30th 2014
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Abastumani, Georgia

July 13th 2014

Coincidence is God's way or remaining anonymous”

Albert Einstein, The world as I see it.

Coincidences mean you're on the right path.”

Simon Van Booy, Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories.

Today has been full of surprise and intrigue. A late start after a Sunday morning lie-in (even though for me, Sunday is no different to any other day really). I go to the growers' market across the road to get in early for my supplies: local yoghurt, raspberries, mulberries, tomatoes, cheese, cucumber, parsley, coriander, onion and nectarines. I come back to my room and discover an email from my Spanish friend Juan (met in Turkey and again in Tbilisi) who tells me this:

You know what happened to me yesterday in Kazbegi … I went to the pharmacy and asked for some Ibuprofen pills, do you know what they offered me as first choice? Nurofen Plus, yes. And I obviously did not buy it… I checked the box and all text was in Russian, no Georgian. As if they had smuggled it across the border from Russia (15km away from Kazbegi). I ended up buying some other cheaper generic pills with only Ibuprofen and no extras…”

OK, doesn't change anything for me but adds to the totally weird and nuts situation I find myself in (see previous blogs).

I decide that I should go back to the market as I have forgotten to buy lemons. As I approach, two bikers pull up and get off.... They are a German couple but they live in the Netherlands. They are on their first big bike trip having travelled all the way from...........Vaals (not a big place) in South Limburger, The Netherlands, where they now live. This is nuts because my father was born in Vaals. I visited there with him in 1982 and he showed me what used to be the family butchery and the room he was born in, before the Germans invaded in May 1940 when their world changed forever. We start talking about all manner of things. They have been in Tbilisi a week back and stayed at the Green Hotel.... which happens to be the same place that the aforementioned Juan stayed in when I met him in Tbilisi.... and they know him.

She (Anja) is a midwife. She tells me (when I ask) that they are carrying many medications in their first aid kit, including codeine content. But while their bags were briefly looked at when coming across the border from Turkey, there were no questions from Customs to them about medicines. Ah... the luck of the Germans! Lets see how they go in the World Cup Final against Argentina later today!

We have breakfast together out under the trees and talk a lot about travel, India, bikes, the meaning of life and the universe. We exchange email addresses and they are off back to Turkey (nice for some who are allowed to leave Georgia).

I get back to my room and my younger brother has emailed me (he has only just heard about my saga in Georgia) and asks for my details because he happens to personally know the Australian Ambassador for Georgia (stationed in Turkey). Not much I think can happen here but you never know.

I go out and buy vodka and khachapuri and take it to my friend Gela's place (see previous blog) for some more raising of glasses and toasting Georgia, Australia and World Peace. On the way back I am reminded by some ex-army vehicles of Georgia's 'occupation' by the Soviets before the wall came down. The ghosts of that time abound here as in most of Georgia.

That evening a Skype conversation with my Canadian friend Mark (of 'The Great Himalayan Bike Odyssey' fame – see blog # 547214) who now lives in Chengdu (China), had me actually contemplating the option of skipping the border back to Turkey (there are lots of open spaces between the two border crossings) and dodging the Georgian consequences of my misdemeanors. I even draft an email to my brother about having a quiet word with the Ambassador in Ankara about whether, with my still valid Turkish visa, I could get away with this ploy.

After sobering up a little, I dismiss this crazy notion and go to bed, only to wake later that night to loud exhalations, and wander downstairs to watch Argentina get beaten by Germany 1-0 in the final.

It's a mad mad world. Just live it.

Additional photos below
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30th July 2014

Plotting and planning
Your saga continues. It seems oh so crazy. Stay safe.
4th August 2014

Go bikers go!!!
And they won the freaking World Cup as well. I'm glad you chose to sleep it off and not go with the crazy ploy. What an adventure. Love and hugs Marguerite

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