The Stolen Phone Incident

Date Time Coordinates: 9 Sep 2018 CE (Common Era), Batumi, Republic of Georgia, Earth, Sol System.

I’ve been in ბათუმი (Batumi) for a couple days now. This is my second visit; the first was enough to make me form the opinion that the city is too touristy. There’s been nothing about this visit that’s changed my mind. I’ve spent the last few days going out occasionally for food and a little sight-seeing, but most of my time has been spent surfing the internet and catching up on everything I’ve missed. I have internet access back in თბილისი (Tbilisi), but it’s not unlimited so I haven’t been doing anything that requires a lot of bandwidth.

My alarm goes off at 0900. I turn it off, and spend 5-10 minutes trying to convince myself that I should get up (I’m not used to getting up this ‘early’). I go to the bathroom, and start packing; we need to check out by 1000. I debate when I should wake up my travel companion. Fortunately, he gets up on his own a few minutes into tossing what little I have into my backpack.

I go to the kitchen, start some water warming up for tea, and pull a cup of yogurt out of the refrigerator (my breakfast). By the time I’m done with the yogurt, the tea is almost ready. I discover that being up this ‘early’ has benefits; the other people staying at the hostel are up, and we chat for a little while….

Okay, maybe a bit longer than a little while; a few hours later…we check out. It’s well after the official check out time, but the owner’s cool about it. We ask if we can leave our bags while we go get lunch and explore. We don’t want to lug our things around all day.

My travel-mate has looked up the ‘best’ place for ხაჩაპური (khachapouri) in town. The place looks busy (a good sign) so we find a place, and sit down.

Quick note: In Georgia, it’s common to just find a table and seat yourself. This is even expected by the local servers. Also, you typically have to flag down a server when you want to add something to your order or pay your bill as they won’t normally come back to check on you. Sometimes, you even have to flag someone down to place your initial order. The whole thing seems very strange to me, and took some getting used to.

We order a couple medium sized khachapouri, and start talking about our time out here with a few smatterings of business ideas (the guy I was with loves coming up with crazy ways to make money; it’s like a hobby of his). Then our meal comes out. I’m immediately glad I didn’t order a large as this ‘medium’ is huge. I manage to scarf most of it down like the little piggy I am, but I was nowhere close to finishing all of it.

We pay our bill, and wander around the city for a couple hours until it’s time to start heading for the train station. We go back to the hostel, check out for real this time, and head out to the street to find a taxi.

Problem number one: both Yandex and Taxify don’t have any drivers available. After hitting refresh for 5 minutes, we finally find a driver. Except that he’s not moving. We wait 10 minutes. Still no movement. We decide to wait 5 more. Still nothing. Enough of this; we’ll just flag down a passing taxi. It’s not what we normally like to do because they charge more, but we really need to get to the train station so….

We flag one down, and tell him we’d like to go to the train station. He says he can take us. My travel-mate asks about the price: 10 Lari. He counters 6. The driver says 7. We agree. It’s still twice as expensive as a Yandex, but we can only expect so much; we did flag the guy down after all. We arrive at the train station, pay the driver, and head for the ticket counter.

Problem number 2: the cashier wants 99 Lari each to get back to Tbilisi. What!? There’s no reason it should cost that much. We tell her we’ll think about it, and wander off to discuss our options. We decide to get another attendant; maybe the one we got had something weird going on. She didn’t; still 99 Lari. We ask about the next train (that leaves 45 minutes after the one we were trying to initially catch). Still 99 Lari.

WTF!? We ask why it’s so expensive. Apparently, all the second class seats are sold out. The price we’d been quoted was for first class.

Considering our second class tickets going the other way were 24 Lari, I wonder what makes first class so special. Second class is pretty nice. Do they have strippers and free drinks in first class? Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Considering how many rich Russians travel between those two cities, I could probably make a small fortune if I offered a ‘strip club’ car during high season. They’re going to be stuck on a train for 5 hours so might as well provide something entertaining right? But I digress….

I saw a bus station half a block away from the train station. We should go down there and see what they’re charging. On the way over, I decide to check the time and…shit! Where’s my Georgian phone? I always put it in the same place, and it’s not in that pocket. I’ll worry about this later. Right now, we need to get to the bus station, and see what the deal is.

We get to the bus station, and ask the guy if anything’s going to Tbilisi. He writes down 1800, and says “go”. Okay, there’s a bus that leaves at 1800. We ask how much it costs. 25 Lari each. There we go; something reasonable. We buy tickets, load up, and wait for the appointed time.

By now, I’ve figured out my phone must have fallen out in the taxi. I pull up my travel phone, and pull up Google’s tracking service. My phone’s in the middle of downtown Batumi in the middle of the street. Okay, so it definitely fell out in the taxi.

My travel-mate pulls out his Georgian phone and calls my lost phone. He has a brief conversation with the driver who agrees to bring the phone to the bus station. Nice, I’ll get it back, and will only have to pay a fraction of the phone’s value as a ‘thank you’ for returning it.

We wait 15 minutes; still no sign of the driver. I check Google’s locator again to see where he is. Hmm…Google says it can’t locate it. My travel-mate tries to call it again, and it goes straight to voicemail. It’s turned off. That bastard turned my phone off on purpose!

I go back onto Google’s page and tell it to delete the contents of my phone the next time it’s turned on. That asshole might have stolen my phone, but I’ll be damned if I let him have my data. I spend the next few minutes stewing, and then it’s time to leave.

The bus takes 6.5 long hours to get back to Tbilisi. By the time it arrives, it’s 0030. At least I slept a little on the ride over. Now I can just walk over to the metro and…wait, what time is it again? Damn it, the metro stops running at midnight. I guess I’ll have to walk home.

I arrive home, get ready for bed, and read more of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series. There’s nothing like reading a book to get you tired, and calm your mind down a bit.

The next day, I went to my local mobile carrier, and got another phone and SIM. The woman at the counter told me I could go to the police with the IMEI number, and they might be able to get it back. So…if something like this happens to you, there’s something you can do even though it’s not not much.

And that’s the long version of how my phone was lost/stolen. Occasionally, shit like this happens when traveling, but it’s still so much better than being back ‘home’ (if it can still be called that) working my ‘normal’ job. I’ve seen places, and hung out with people that I never would have found if I hadn’t ventured off to see what’s out here. And who knows; maybe someday I’ll run into you!

Stay frosty, people….

Financial Friday 33

Locations: Batumi, Tbilisi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 33 of travel has come and gone. Let’s see what my wallet’s been up to.

Transportation

On Sunday, my friend and I took a taxi to the ბაგუმი (Batumi) train station: $2.74. This was considerably more expensive than most taxis since neither Yandex nor Taxify had available drivers. We ended up flagging down a taxi on the street. This is not recommended, but it was either that or not make it to the station on time so….

When we got to the ticket desk, we discovered that all the 2nd class seats were booked (on 2 trains). They wanted 99 Lari ($38.72) for 1st class tickets. We decided that was far too expensive, and walked over to the bus station. Tickets for a tiny ass bus were far more affordable: $9.78. Six hours later we arrived back ‘home’ in თბილისი (Tbilisi).

On Monday, I took the metro twice to go to English club and back: $0.39.

On Tuesday, I also took the metro twice to get to ქართული (Georgian) club: $0.39. Have I mentioned I love the metro here?

Wednesday was insane. I ended up taking 3 taxi rides bouncing all over Tbilisi: $4.50 for all of them. Considering it took around an hour for all that travel, I think I did pretty well on this deal.

On Thursday…you guessed it; more metro: $0.39. This time it was to meet someone for a language exchange. I think I made more progress in an hour than all of my previous study in regard to trying to pronounce those crazy Georgian consonants. I’m still not good at it, but I’m definitely improving.

Accommodation

So there’s the house: $5.67 per day for this month.

Friday and Saturday also included the hostel in Batumi: $10.83 per night. Even put together, the housing expense is pretty reasonable.

Food

Friday and Saturday involved a lot of going out in Batumi for meals.

Wednesday was a crazy, bounce-all-over-town day which inevitably involved a lot of going out and drinking.

Thursday involved a trip to the grocery store as well as a meal out so it looks ‘expensive’ as well.

Other

Way too expensive travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN service: $0.13 per day. Always use protection.

Amazon Prime membership: $0.33 per day.

On Sunday, my Georgian phone was stolen. So on Monday, I bought another one: $192.66. I know it seems like a lot, but the price of data plans on it are so much cheaper than with my ‘travel’ phone. I’ll make up for it in a month or two.

On Wednesday, I had to top up my ‘travel’ phone’s data plan: $15.00. It’ll be worth it when I hit the road again; I swear.

Summary

Week 33
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 12.52 0.39 0.39 4.5 0.39 18.19
Lodging 16.5 16.5 5.67 5.67 5.67 5.67 5.67 61.35
Food 7.07 9.16 4.73 0 5.69 9.15 10.5 46.3
Other 9.1 9.1 9.1 201.71 9.1 24.1 9.1 271.31
Total 32.67 34.76 32.02 207.77 20.85 43.42 25.66 397.15

So yeah, I went over budget this week, and spent a lot more than normal for Georgia. I attribute it all to the nearly $200 phone. Could I have gotten a cheaper one? Yes, but I wanted something nice. I think it’s worth it to splurge on something you use all the time.

Anyway, that wraps it up for this week. See you all next week for another Financial Friday…. And I think I’ll write something about the phone stealing incident this week too. I could make a decent story out of that.

Financial Friday 32

Locations: Tbilisi, Batumi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 32 on the road, and I’ve finally done something ‘interesting’. Here we go….

Transportation

On Saturday, I took the metro twice: $0.41. I went to visit some friends in a different part of town. We hung out for a while and took care of some ‘business’.

Also on Saturday, we took a cab: $1.22 for my portion. A friend was trying to get out of his rental contract that was way too high for თბილისი (Tbilisi). Another friend has been here for over a year, and knows a thing or two about Georgian law. He was able to scare them into not demanding an extra month of rent.

Quick tip: If you’re looking to rent an apartment in Tbilisi, you shouldn’t pay any more than $300 per month. Most likely, it should be around $200 per month. Don’t get ripped off.

On Monday, I took the metro to English Club: $0.20. It’s proven to be a fantastic way to meet people, and help them with their English. Afterwards, some of us went out to a bar, and it was later than the metro runs by the time we were finished. So no return trip (I walked home).

On Thursday, a friend and I decided to go to ბათუმი (Batumi). The train ticket was $9.00 which is a lot for Georgia. It must still be tourist season so it was far more expensive than when I went from Batumi to ქუთაისი (Kutaisi) to Tbilisi in early June. This city is a tourist trap, but a relatively cheap one.

We also took a taxi from the train station to the hostel: $1.17. Normally, I would have walked, but a more than 1 hour walk with bags didn’t sound appealing to my friend. The ride was cheap enough, and we even got some free chacha (Georgian liquor; it’s distilled from wine and is seldom lower than 60% alcohol)! The driver tried to give us his number so we could call him again whenever we needed a ride, but that’s not how we roll.

Travel tip: If you want to take taxis in Georgia, the Yandex app is going to be your best friend. It’s far cheaper than a normal cab fare.

Accommodation

There’s the house rental: $5.48 per day for August and $5.67 per day for September. Hello different number of days in a month.

We’re also staying in a hostel in Batumi: $10.83 per day. That’s why Friday looks so expensive under housing.

Food

On Saturday, I was hanging with friends so we went out to eat. That’s just what you do with friends.

On Tuesday, we (my roommates and I) threw a barbecue and invited a bunch of people over. There were over 20 people crammed into our little yard. We ran out of chairs and tables, but it was still a good time. That’s also why Monday’s and Tuesday’s food bills are higher than ‘normal’.

On Thursday, we were in Batumi so we ‘had’ to visit a few restaurants.

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN service: $0.13 per day.

On Friday, my Amazon Prime service renewed itself: $0.33 per day. If I wanted to be cheap, I could drop it. But I still occasionally order things, and have friends forward them to me. Between that and the TV series, I still think it’s worth it.

Speaking of ordering and having things forwarded…. On Saturday (or was it Friday; it’s listed under Saturday anyway), the dog whistle I ordered off Amazon was dropped in the mail. The cost for shipping a dog whistle from the States to Georgia is $15.00 (if you send it via USPS that is). Now I just get to wait a few weeks for it to show up.

On Tuesday, we had a lady come by to clean the house. My portion came out to $10.00. It was well worth it for the common areas that always manage to get filthy.

Summary

Week 32
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 1.63 0 0.2 0 0 10.17 12
Lodging 5.48 5.67 5.67 5.67 5.67 5.67 16.5 50.33
Food 4.18 8.97 0.82 7.16 15.88 0.55 9.43 46.99
Other 14.1 14.1 9.1 9.1 19.1 9.1 9.1 83.7
Total 23.76 30.37 15.59 22.13 40.65 15.32 45.2 193.02

So you can see this week was still pretty good despite the barbecue and trip to Batumi. We also hit a new month this week so you know what that means….

Aug 18
Week 27 Week 28 Week 29 Week 30 Week 31 Week 32 Total
Travel 0 0.41 2.25 0.82 0.2 0 3.68
Lodging 10.96 39.67 74.41 38.36 38.36 5.48 201.76
Food 5.87 25.23 33.74 15.44 10.31 4.18 90.59
Other 36.77 95.87 102.93 79.53 61.39 14.1 376.49
Total 53.6 161.18 213.33 134.15 110.26 23.76 696.28

August has been (by far) the cheapest month so far. If you settle somewhere, and live a ‘normal’ (at least for me) life, it’s really not that expensive to live a traveler life style. This is far less than I was spending at ‘home’ in the States. So if you’re from the West and you think travel is unobtainable, I have news for you: you too can do this.

Until next week….

Financial Friday 31

Locations: Tbilisi, Mtskheta [Republic of Georgia]

This week, I discovered the ultimate hack: get someone else to pay for everything. It was made possible by virtue of my being a native English speaker (and a little luck). More on this later….

Transportation

On Monday, I took the metro to English club: $0.20. I’d started going the previous week to meet people, and that day it paid off. I met a Georgian who wants to improve his English, and we’ve been getting along well ever since. As demonstrated by….

On Wednesday evening, I went to მცხეთა (Mtskheta). We took my newfound friend’s car, and it cost me nothing! He’s been showing me around a few places, and describing everything in English. I correct him when he makes mistakes, and he’s been showering me with gifts. I’ve told him a few times he’s taking it a bit over the top, but he won’t listen.

Accommodation

This is pretty boring by now. The daily rate to rent a room in the house is $5.48 for this month.

Food

I’ve made a few trips to the grocery store, but far fewer than normal thanks to my new student. He’s taken me out to dinner a few times, and even cooked once or twice. Like I said, over the top….

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN service: $0.13 per day.

Strangely, nothing else came up this week. There’s usually something….

Summary

Week 31
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 0 0.2 0 0 0 0.2
Lodging 5.48 5.48 5.48 5.48 5.48 5.48 5.48 38.36
Food 1.98 4.34 0 0 0 3.99 0 10.31
Other 8.77 8.77 8.77 8.77 8.77 8.77 8.77 61.39
Total 16.23 18.59 14.25 14.45 14.25 18.24 14.25 110.26

So yeah…. It’s been a super cheap week. Is English your native language? Do you enjoy teaching? I know I do. It’s fun to see my new student’s progress. There are ways to get jobs teaching where they’ll even pay for your accommodation and give you a small salary too.

See you all next week….

Financial Friday 30

Location: Tbilisi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 30 here we go….

Transportation

On Monday, I took the metro twice to go to English club: $0.41 for there and back. I don’t need any help improving my English, but it was a chance to meet some people that do. Most of the people were cool, and I made a few friends to mission accomplished.

On Thursday, I took the metro twice again: $0.41. This time for Spanish club. I was a bit worried since my Spanish sucks, but it turns out it was unnecessary. I spent most of the time speaking English as all the native Spanish speakers hung out with themselves. I did get to meet some people though, and made a few new friends so mission sort-of accomplished?

Accommodation

Nothing new here. Monthly room rental comes out to $5.48 per day for this month. There were a couple that had a bad habit of not cleaning up after themselves very well that left today. Hopefully, that means we won’t need to have the cleaning lady drop by as often. I’m crossing my fingers….

Food

This has been almost all groceries. I’ve managed to make a ‘friend’ (sort of) of one of the vendors at a produce stand that’s a block away from the house. Yesterday, she was helping me with a few Georgian words. I was pretty happy about that as I’m finding it difficult to integrate. It’s probably just me….

Other

Travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

VPN service: $0.13 per day.

On Friday, I topped up my data on my local phone bill: $12.80 for 15G of data. It’s so much cheaper than my ‘travel’ carrier!

On Wednesday, I couldn’t help myself and bought a book: $5.34. It’s called Forever Nomad: The Ultimate Guide to World Travel, From a Weekend to a Lifetime. Maybe the author knows a few cool tricks I haven’t discovered. Also, it was on sale so…. Thanks e-reader technology; without you I wouldn’t be able to get all these books. There’s no room in my backpack for a bunch of physical books.

Summary

Week 30
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0 0 0.41 0 0 0.41 0.82
Lodging 5.48 5.48 5.48 5.48 5.48 5.48 5.48 38.36
Food 0 0.61 3.04 5.59 1.02 2.77 2.41 15.44
Other 21.57 8.77 8.77 8.77 8.77 14.11 8.77 79.53
Total 27.05 14.86 17.29 20.25 15.27 22.36 17.07 134.15

This has been the cheapest week yet! I guess it helps when you don’t ‘do’ much, but still…. My wallet is very happy. Now if I could just get WiFi at the house…but that’s a topic for another time.

See you all next week.

Financial Friday 29

Location: Tbilisi [Republic of Georgia]

Week 29 is done. Let’s see where I spent my money….

Transportation

On Saturday, I used my metro card for 4 of us. Why did I do that you ask? Well, 2 of them were only in town for 3 days so they didn’t have cards. The other one…he really should have one by now. He’s been here longer than I have! Anyway….

On Monday, I went out with the two previously mentioned non-metro card holders, and covered their rides: $0.61 for 3 of us. We also took a taxi across town because we were really tired of walking: $0.82 for just my portion. Little did we know we’d do far more walking, but at least we cut some of it out.

Accommodation

There’s the standard rent for the month: $5.48 per day.

On Sunday, I paid the utility bill: $28.71 for my portion. This included electricity, water, and cleaning the water pipes. The really expensive part was the electricity since it’s been ridiculously hot, and we’re trying to use a window unit to cool the house. Seriously Georgia, you’re like a modern country in so many ways, but when it comes to temperature control….

On Thursday, we had a cleaning person give everything a good scrubbing: $7.34 for my portion. It took her about 4 hours. Multiply what I payed times 5, and that’s what she got. So…really cheap.

Food

Nothing much to report here. On Sunday, I made a large grocery purchase.

On Thursday, I had to go out and find some food to be out of the cleaning lady’s way. I would have preferred to sleep during that time, but she did a really nice job on my room. I’m a little proud to say my room was not the worst place in the house. that honor goes to the kitchen. Such messy, messy people…myself included.

Other

Obligatory travel insurance: $8.64 per day.

On Sunday, I purchased The Handmaid’s Tale in Kindle format: $10.69. It was on sale, and I’ve heard a lot about it so I had to purchase it. It’ll be a while before I get to it, but….

Also on Sunday, I purchased a year’s subscription to a VPN service: $0.13 per day. Because internet security is a good thing. All those ‘free’ WiFi places I’ve been using…yeah, I really should encrypt that data. Not to mention, when we finally get WiFi at the house, I can stream TV over the internet!

On Thursday, I topped up my ‘travel’ carrier’s data plan: $25.00. We’ll see how long I want to maintain this before the price gets to me….

Summary

Week 29
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 0 0.82 0 1.43 0 0 0 2.25
Lodging 5.48 5.48 34.19 5.48 5.48 5.48 12.82 74.41
Food 0 5.33 8.33 4.9 3.71 3.93 7.54 33.74
Other 8.64 8.64 19.46 8.77 8.77 8.77 33.77 96.82
Total 14.12 20.27 61.98 20.58 17.96 18.18 54.13 207.22

So as you can see, it’s been a little more expensive than last week. A few bills hit that likely won’t be there next week. In any case, it’s still a good deal under budget so…win!

Catch you all next week.

A day in my life: Georgia edition

Date Time Coordinates: 12 Aug 2018 CE (Common Era), Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, Earth, Sol System.

I go to sleep around 0430 after a couple hours of reading A Clash of Kings (Book 2 in the A Song of Ice and Fire Series; or some know it by the name of the first book A Game of Thrones). I suppose it’s technically the day in question though really….

I awaken around 1300 and head for the bathroom. I reach for the toilet paper to clean up the mess I made of the porcelain, and am greeted with an empty roll. WTF?! There was half a roll there last night. What did my roommates do; eat it? This is particularly disturbing since I’m the one that bought that roll last week. Not that it’s that expensive; it’s just the principle. If you use the last of someone’s TP, you should replace it. It’s common courtesy, right?

I wander back to my room, and notice someone’s hung their laundry from my cloths line. That’s fine. I’m not using it at this particular moment, and I did hang it in a common area. As many times as the roommates have been subjected to my drying underwear, it’s only fair if someone else does the same. I grab my phones and head for the kitchen.

The Indian couple are making lunch. The kitchen’s not large enough for two people to use the stove at the same time so I figure out what I can do while they’re at it. Let’s see…grab cutting board, chop an apple, start the electric kettle making some hot water…. I finish a good deal before they’re done with the stove.

I’ll check my social feeds while I wait. Oh look, a picture of the girls we met yesterday at Bauhaus (a popular bar). When was this posted…oh, midnight. So that’s an hour after she DMed me to ask if I was there. I’d told her I could run down there and meet them, but she’d waved me off. Did she not want me there? Was she just trying to be considerate since they didn’t get there until an hour later, and it was latish? I’m putting way too much thought into this. It’s not like I want to date one of them or anything. They’re travelers, and will be somewhere else in a couple days.

Anyway, the Indian couple’s done with the stove so…time to finish making my oatmeal (or porridge for Brits). Now where’s the small pan? I can’t find it anywhere. Someone must have it in their room. I guess I’ll have to make it in a skillet. That’s a little more difficult, but…do what you have to do I guess.

Throw the sliced apples into the skillet, add oats when the water’s boiling, go for the butter, and…. Where’s my butter? There’s a specific place I leave it every time so I’ll know which one’s mine (because everyone’s bars look the same, and there are about 4 of them in there). The Swedish guy must have borrowed it. It’s cool, I told him he could use some if he desperately needed it, but now I don’t know which bar to use. I don’t want to use someone else’s, because…you know, rude. I send him a quick message explaining the situation. Maybe it won’t happen again. Though, who am I kidding? It probably will.

It’s rather annoying since I need the butter right now, but I guess I’ll just have to go without. Should I add the egg? It’s so much more work to stir it into the oats when they’re in a skillet. Fuck it; I’m already butter-less. What’s no egg going to hurt? I’m such a lazy bitch…. Except…. With no butter, the oats are sticking to the pan. Ugh, I want my oats lubed! Oh well, not the end of the world.

I sit down, enjoy my apple oats with tea, and continue browsing my social feeds without incident. And now I have to take a dump. Except someone used up all my toilet paper, and didn’t replace it. I guess my first stop is going to be to the grocery store a block down the street.

I hit up the grocery store, grab toilet paper and some other sundries while I’m there…. Oh, my typical cashier is working. I’ve developed something of a…I guess you could call it a working relationship with her? “Hello” she says (because she knows English is my primary language). “Hello, გამარჯობა” I respond (I’ve been attempting to learn some ქართული [Georgian]). She finishes bagging my things, I pay…. “მადლობა” I say. She says something as I walk out. She says the same thing every time, but I haven’t been able to figure out what it is. I know it’s something you say as someone’s leaving, but that could be several things. I’m pretty sure I’m not hearing all the sounds she makes when she says it, because I never get an appropriate translation from Google Translate when I punch in the Georgian sounds (in the Georgian script). Someday….

I get back and unpack the groceries. I put a roll of paper in the small bathroom, I go to place one in the large one…damn it! There’s water all over the floor (as usual). I’m pretty sure one of the roommates is used to the bathrooms where the whole room is a shower. I don’t know if it’s the Indians or the Georgian. In any case, this bathroom is not like that. There’s no drain in the floor, and there’s clearly a shower curtain. This bathroom is not supposed to look like a hurricane just came through, but since I’m too lazy to try explaining that…. Reason number 743,956,872,707 why I always wear flip-flops in the house.

Anyway, I take my dump now that I have toilet paper. Sweet, sweet comfort. And since I bought the paper, it’s not the cheap, sand-paper kind that makes your ass feel like it’s on fire after use.

Now it’s time to pay some bills. The combined electric and water bill arrived a couple days ago so let’s have a look. Hmm…this is much more expensive than the last one. I wonder what made it that way. I take the bill and head for the kiosk that’s half a block away. Georgians use these things for everything. They’re linked to the local banks, phone carriers, utility companies, car insurance providers, and I’m sure I’m missing something. These would be so amazing if they were everywhere, but alas, only in Georgia.

I go through the prompts, input the correct information, and…. Oh cool, it breaks it down and says what’s due for which part of the bill. Let’s see…water, normal…’cleaning’ (that must mean water line cleaning), normal…electric, ouch!

It seems most Georgians don’t believe in central temperature control systems. Only one of the rooms in the house has a wall unit so we’ve been using it to attempt to cool the whole house. It’s obviously far more than the system was meant to handle, but it can get the house (minus the kitchen with the gas burning stove) to a reasonable temperature. Since the highs have been over 30C (86F) every day of last month, and most of them have been over 35C (95F), we’ve been running the AC pretty much non-stop. While that makes the house a tolerable temperature (again, minus the previously mentioned kitchen), it also makes for a rather unpleasant electric bill. It’s a good thing it’s August and summer is on its death bed (at least for this year).

I pay the bill, divide it by 5, and send out the group message informing the other roommates of how much they owe me. They’re not going to be pleased, but it has to be done. At least splitting it between all of us brings the cost down to a reasonable level.

I return home, and the landlord starts group messaging us. “Good morning Happy Family. First full night at our beautiful home.” She has some funny ideas. While the last room was signed for last night, I don’t think any of us have seen the new guy yet, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t stay here last night. Also, the Indian couple will be moving out in a couple weeks at the latest. When that happens, we’ll be finding new ‘family’ members for their room.

She did manage to find us someone to clean the house. That’s fantastic since everyone staying here has a different idea of what exactly ‘clean’ means. Yes, I will gladly pay a small fee for someone to make this place look presentable. There’s far too much “I didn’t make that mess so I’m not going to clean it” going around, and it’s resulted in the common areas accumulating a few not so pleasant patches.

I poke around on the internet a little to amuse myself. The WiFi we were promised over a month ago still hasn’t materialized so I have to tether my phone whenever I want to get online. So, no streaming videos, music, or other bandwidth intensive activities. Writing blog articles is fine though, and I start writing this one after a little while.

In the middle, I see a Snap come in. I have an 83 day streak with a friend in the States so we ‘have to’ send something to each other every day. I snap a quick picture of my computer screen with this article being written. Send it off, download the pic, go to Instagram to add it to my story….oh, wait.

That chick I talked about earlier in the article is following me on Instagram. Okay, I guess I won’t add that pic to my story. I hope she doesn’t look at my bio, find a link to my blog, and read this article. Well, if she does…. Hi! This is…umm…awkward…. Moving on….

A little later in the article writing, I’m interrupted by the ‘new guy’. Oh, hi! Nice to finally meet you. He wants to get the key to the yard so he can put his bicycle back there. You ride a bike; in Tbilisi? Brave man. This city was not designed for bikes, and the drivers sure as hell don’t respect them. Pedestrians are usually okay, but bikes…not so much. Anyway, the Swedish guy (who has the key) isn’t here so he has to take his bike through the house. I go back to writing this article. He interrupts me one more time to ask for the WiFi password. Sorry dude; no WiFi. Oh how I wish there was….

And that brings me to here. Like, literally right here where I’m writing these words right now! Queue The Twilight Zone theme music.

I’ll probably poke around online a bit more, maybe play some games, and do some more book reading before going to sleep tonight. For all practical purposes, though, the day’s pretty much over (or at least the entertaining parts).

I hope someone (other than me, of course) has been entertained by this. If not, well…. Comment down below about what you’d like me to write about. If it’s reasonable, you’ll have won yourself a brand new article written just for you! Anyway, time to do something unproductive. Later….