Georgia, Asia

Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Some low dive

Flag of Georgia  ,
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Had to go and see what the beach was like, having noticed the signs pointing to "The Beach" Its rocky, with waves big enough to sink a fair sized ship. There's the remains of a diving platform, but we reckoned that anyone diving off there would never be able to swim to anywhere they could get safely ashore. Why advertise the beach, its like sending people to a quarry when there's blasting going on.

Went to have breakfast. There was a massive display of all sorts of foods available, enough to feed about 100 people, let alone the 10 that we have seen at the hotel. But no service.

Packed everything up and went down to work on the car. I took out the fuel gauge sensor from the upper tank, which had bveen causing the smell of petrol, and refitted it with gunge (thats a technical term) on the gasket and retaining screws, while Martin removed the wiper motor and put some other gunge on the block where there is some oil leaking. We also checked the usuals, water, oil, wheel nuts etc. After a coffee we went and sorted the bull. 267 Turkish Lira, they said, so I paid it. Would I like a bill? Yes please, I said, thinking I'd like to see whether they charge for the complimentary coffees, and what dinner cost, etc. So they gave me a bill showing 267TL owing, 267 paid, nothing outstanding. No details whatsoever.

Anyway, we set off up the coast.

Eventually got to the border. Showed the passports and were waved on. Went to the next post, where someone asked Martin for passport and car papers, which he handed over. The guy disappeared round an office. Waited. Then someone else came and asked for the papers, told him they were being sorted. The guy asked whether we had handed over any money? No. Told us not to. Waited. Eventually Martin went afetr the guy and got the papers back duly approved. Turns out he was genuine, but the second guy was a total con, they take your papers and demand money to give them back. The second guy followed us for quite a while, demanding $100 from us.

After much queuing and going past queues because we were told to, we got to the Turkish exit post. There we were sent back because we didnt have a Turkish exit stamp. What do I need an exit stamp for? Obviously to get out of the country. So I walked back, handed over the 2 passports, and got them stamped and we were then through Turkey. Thats just the exit!!!

Into the Georgia side. We get to a guy in an anorak, no insignia who wants our passports. So I show them but refuse to hand them over. He demands them, as he has to take them to study them, he claims to be an official. Eventually I give up, but get out of the car. Turns out he IS an official, I point out that other people have tried to take our passports, but he's not really interested. I have to go through by foot, only the driver goes by car. I queue up, get a stamp issued (there's no Georgian visa required) then queue for ages to allow another official to look at the stamp. How could I have got to him without getting my passport stamped? Why do they have these stupid restriction? Its not as if we can get any benefits by being here, but they come into UK with little or no regulations and we give them loads of money for being there? Dont get me started!
Ant way, the Georgian are very polite and welcoming, the Customs people are all interesed in the car. However whenever I ask if I can take a photo, there is a definite cooling! At last we are on our way. Second border post completed, and no photographic evidence.
 Drove on over the roughest roads we have had so far, and eventaully reched Batumi. There, there is only one pothole, about 10 miles wide, varying depth and some tar strips in it. Makes the Zimbabwe roads look positively first world. We saw one pothole which had a tyre in it so you didnt actually have to hit the bottom! Went to a bank to get some Georgian Lari, drew some from an ATM and changed some with a money changer who operates inside the bank, although he isnt with the bank. How can they allow that?

Eventually left, stopped along the ay for a lunch of mushrooms and coffee. Later on, the police stopped us, seems all they wanted was to look at the car, take some photos. However, while they were talking to us, 2 other guys appeared from nowhere. Then Martin noticed that one of the tyres was leaking from a valve, so the police hurried us to get moving, Never quite sure what was going on there or are we just suspicious? So we moved on to a place where it was safe to change the tyre, 2 people around, As we worked, more appeared until there must have been about 20 watching, helping, inviting us to a drink! However we declined. One of the wheel studs that our Turkish Makinist put in had come loose, so that needs to be looked at in future.

Drove on into Kutaisi. Not as far as the schedule says we should be, but there's no point in pushing it further. The roads are bad and in the dark you risk something serious if you cant see, which you cant. They say that the drivers drive on both sides of the road, well, if you see a dirty great pothole in your way, then your instinctive reaction is to swerve. A few times we have been driving on the left because our side was so holed. Best to drive in the light.

Found a hotel, pretty basic, but better than the truckstop. Only 65 Georgian Lari (less that 30) for the 2 of us. Dinner in the local taverna was odd, didnt have any sort of menu, she got a friend who speaks English to come and discuss what we wanted. Beef, bread, and coffee, no veges, salad or anything like. Oh, and 2 beers. But the place was huge, and all nicely decorated, with half of the chairs with those white dresses, like it was for a wedding. Oh well.

Off to bed and we'll post this whenever we get a computer link.

Martin's moment:
Off to bed? We're two hours on (or three if you believe O2's automatic update).So its a bit early.Bit of a rough day today.Felt a complete hostage in exit process from Turkey,and entry to Georgia with blokes just wandering around everywhere.No apparent authority and no directions as to what to do.Thought at one point had lost passport and papers to car.Vehicle traffic just mixing with pedestrians and apparently plenty of people just lurking around presumably waiting for opportunity to skip through unnoticed.Which way and why for heaven's sake.Final point was when Roger had to get out of car and made to walk through own pedestrian route out of sight from me in car.
Still raining.Two days solid and Batumi a collection of dangerous potholes.Drive anyside of road you like and bip that old hooter.

Still who's this putting in an appearance:?

But none of more fame than a man by the name
Of Ivan Petrovski Skivar

Thank the Lord Ivan's popped up - things are beginning to look a lot different.So its a hard old slog and there are times when it looks a forlorn task.We are on day 11 of about 40 driving days and have covered nearly 3000 miles .Although we are short of Tblisi by about 140 miles,we have not used 2 days we allowed as extra so I'd say we are ahead of the game.When we get 50% of the way there we'll be almost half way.And there is Vladivostok.

We need a bit of sunshine and time to boil the kettle whilst looking over waves lapping the shore.
I shall retire now to my Georgian bed kitted out in a green version of those large blue laundry bags I see being lugged around at home.I do so to the sound of the local dog attacking car tyres - something for us to look forward to in the morning.

Mileage 187 av speed 31.7 max 53.7

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Alien on

Fantastic adventure! just read up to today, good luck

Janet & Dave Parsons on

What an adventure you mad pair. Think of it as a cultural & mechanical learning experience (they said helpfully!). Hope you slept well ready for the next days excitments. Take care.

Ralph and Carol on

Hi Lads, Reading all your adventures with great interest, admiration and envy (that is me Carol thinks she is better off at home!!!!) Keep it up and good foraging.



Alison on

Back to you Roger and the singing, I think youo are being overlooked, Hot news on the music fro.nt, Hugh Laurie has just launched himself as a blues singer!, released his first disc and had his first gig in Memphis Did you pack your accordian?Could be the answer to your prayers at the border controls!

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