It rained all night and all morning. Thomas left for Turkey and the Polish couple left for the ferry to Ukraine, which curiously is called ‘Greifswald’.
Accidentally met Bori, who’d come to Batumi with her Youth in Action-group.
Finally left for Poti and beyond. The countryside reminds me a bit of Madagascar’s east coast. Though, of course, flora, people and buildings look a bit different. Stopped at another Roman fortress, Petra, which is in less good shape than the one at Gonio, but it’s located on a spectatcular site on a clifftop above the Black Sea. Otherwise the ride was quick and uneventful.
Came to Poti and decided to have a look at the city and find a place to have dinner, then possibly to go on a bit to find a place to camp. Also stopped at an ATM to withdraw copious amounts of cash for the following weeks in the mountains. Who knows for what it’s going to be useful…
Near Poti’s port, Georgia’s most important one, by the way, I cycled past a police station. Interestingly, flag poles at most police stations carry the Georgian as well as the EU’s flag. Was stopped by three civilian-clad (and armed) guys who tried to interrogate me about my travel and sleeping plans. They didn’t speak English so one of them phoned an English-speaking colleague or whatever to do the questioning. I had to explain where I was going (“Mestia”) and where I wanted to spend the night (“Camping” – “What is camping?”). He then told me I’d stay in a hotel and that someone would bring me there – “so you are safe”. I asked why that was necessary and whether Poti was dangerous. He just repeated that it’d be better and I’d be safe there. So I had to follow two police officers (in uniforms this time) who drove their car to a house more or less right around the corner. The guy on the phone had told me that the escort was necessary because it would be too difficult to explain how to get there and I wouldn’t find it.
The police officers made sure that I checked in and even waited outside until my bike was tucked away in the garage.
I have no idea if all that was just friendly service, or paranoia, or good advice and necessary precautions. My guess and hope is it’s a mix of the former two options.
The place is strange. There are three large rooms with living room furniture and a couple of beds each, with one or two rooms branching off that look a bit more like hotel rooms. The girls working(?) here had no clue about the price and had to phone their boss. I probably got the rate for westerners.
Anyway, they invited me to dinner, which was much appreciated after the ride. There’s Indian music videos on TV here – Shah Ruk Kahn rulez, eh?
Heavy rain and thunderstorm after nightfall. Some of the windows are broken and it’s raining in.
At 10pm electricity died. Yes, in the entire town.