Tbilisi, day 2

Arrived at the Azerbaijani embassy around 11am. The Georgian police(!) officer at the gate handed me an application form to fill in (but had no pens). Some locals lent me one and let me fill in the form on their car’s hood. I had to produce two passport fotos at the gate and was let through – to a barred door through which I had to hand my application form and one photo. They wouldn’t let applicants enter the actual embassy building. I was then asked for a ‘Letter of Invitation’ – which I didn’t have – and sent to a travel agency that would take care of that for me. To make a long story short, I’ll hopefully have my visa one week from now, on Friday, July 15. Crap. When asked why this would take so long they replied that the embassy had run out of visa stickers. What?!

Met Ben from Texas who also applied for a visa. Went with him to meet two other Americans, Alex and Roy, who are teaching English in villages here in Georgia. Turned out they had been to Batumi after I was there and knew the big American guy I’d met in Batumi hostel back then, who’d annoyed some people there, and they also know Lasha, one of the owners of Batumi hostel. Lasha, who’d invited me to his parents place when I come through, lives not far from where Roy teaches. Small world!

Ben used to play Lacrosse in high school and college back in the states.

Went to the National Museum with Ben. It doesn’t have much on display; the little that is there is mostly pretty cool, though. They have the Georgian Treasury, archeological gold and silver findings mostly from excavated burial sites with old but magnificently fine and detailed works. There’s an exhibition about the Russian communist/Soviet occupational period, and they show an excerpt of pictures from around Georgia from the early times of photography, i.e. from the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Bought a map of the whole Caucasus region and learned that it is well possible to go into Abkhazia. South Ossetia is strictly off-limits. It is also possible to go through Abkhazia to Russia. New possibilities!

I know now that there are no bike shops selling spare parts. That means I’ll have to have a new tyre shipped from Germany.

Took no pictures today so there is nothing to post. ;) And the rotation issue is still not fixed. :(

Interestingly, in early June a Hollywood movie was released that covers the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I had the chance of watching this tonight.

The movie is called ‘5 Days of War’ internationally, and ‘5 Days of August’ in Georgia. It is a bad movie. It is simple and dumb pro-Georgian and anti-Russian propaganda with lots of special effects and no brains and even less insight into the conflict. Vital facts are omitted and Russia and especially the South Ossetians are displayed as raw evil. Apparently, war crimes happened on both sides, but not so in the movie. On top of all that, all the lead characters are played by Americans. Not a single Georgian or Russian actor.

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