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November 25, 2002

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In Georgia hospitality extends to cab drivers. A senile cab driver kept giving us apples from his car's glove compartment every five minutes. Another driver handed us a bottle of homemade wine in a plastic bottle and stopped by his house for lamb sheesh kebabs. With these rides we made our way across Georgia and stopped in the 2nd largest town, Kutaisi. A thief tried to open one our backpacks while Jill was wearing it. She turned around and the thief ran away. That gave us a bad feeling about this city, plus the fact that everyone seemed to be in a staring contest with us as the subject. After a few hours we headed for the coast. Evidence of the civil war became more apparent as we passed burned out buildings and military checkpoints. We stopped in a Black Sea coast town, Kobuleti. There we experienced a scene from Stephen King's, The Shining, where a hotel of Sheraton sized dimensions, 15 storeys high, lay empty and without electricity. Long and dark hallways, no heat, no light (except a lightning storm crackling outside), did we get a discount? No, they wanted to charge us extra for the creepiness.
Clothing store in Kutaisi, good for browsing while you walk the dog.
Kutaisi has been here since the 6th century BC. Appolinius of Rhodes mentions this city by name in his poem about Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece. Since then it's fallen on less romantic times.
We stop for the night at Kobuleti, on the Black Sea Coast. The town has no electricity yet the only open restaurant has a blazing fire, tasty Georgian seafood, and strong wine.