Upon my arrival at 4:00 am to the airport in Tiblisi, I immediately felt that I was in Mexico. Starving due to the lack of good judgement on the part of the airline (a Delta partner that will not get one more dollar from my wallet) of what constitutes as edible food, I hauled it to the twenty four hour Burger King. I had previously sworn off BK a few weeks ago in the UK, due to the fact that it tastes NOTHING like the BK's at home and is more like extremely over priced shoe leather. Not here. This one impressed. Mightily
After receiving more than a few strange glances from the natives in the airport, I made my way to the train station to take the train to the center and on to my hotel. I met my translator/security person there and was informed that the train station was closed, for no apparent reason. Sergio is a huge fellow, I'm just not sure if he's here to protect the Russians that are here from me or me from them. At dawns first light we caught a taxi to the center and I was installed in my hotel. Not exactly the Radison, more like a Soviet Era Travelodge lost in a Mexican time warp. Funky low rent; two room Soviet wallpapered suite plus a decent bathroom. There's a great balcony, a fridge and a horrible view of a new hotel that is being built. Sergio's services weren't going to come cheap, and since I would mostly be in the hotel at night to write and sleep, I viewed it as a viable option. Plus, I like funky as long as it's clean, and this is. Room 301 will be home for the next few days.
I had recently picked up smoking cigarettes yet again, but at a rate of about 25% of what I smoked before. Cigs here are cheap, and they taste it. I have located a supply of my beloved Romeo Y Jullietta cigars, but they aren't cheap. I picked up a pack of Winstons for about a dollar and a quarter after I woke up and had breakfast at what should have been supper time. The food here is amazing; Setsivi; chicken covered in an extremely complicated walnut sauce which I first encountered in London at a fabulous Armenian restaurant called Erebuni. Kharcho, a killin' soup that I also first tasted there. Grilled trout, which needs no further explanation, and wine. Lots and lots of wine. After "brupper". I walked around to see part of the new part of town. Great market place, but an overabundance of people asking for money, and offering not so much as a "chicklet" in return, as is customary in Mexico. Great art. And the coolest McDonalds I've ever seen. People stare at me out of curiosity. They don't get many American rock and roll biker looking types here. I've also noticed that even in this eighty plus degree heat, that with the exception of tourists, nobody wears shorts. Its jeans or slacks and knock off Izod and Polo shirts. Time to head back to the room and break out the green Gretch and my IPhone and work on this bluesy almost Zeppelin like track that's been haunting me for months.