I used to organise business meet-ups in Kyiv - but Russians ( esp men) have real probems flying there, so I started using Cypus and Geogia as alternatives - trying to combine heritage and wine sampling;)
It seems places I choose get 'difficult'for Russians (( A flight ban was introduced on July 8th - but SC and I had laready arranged to meet during the trip.. and we thought it would be easy to book a ferry from Batumi to Sochi ...
SC arrived with a friend ( S) who had decided to come along and I booked them an apartment close to Tbilisi city centre and the Cathedral overlooking the city .. I attended the Good Friday Mass there on my last trip ( briefly)
Having had 4 hours sleep woke up to a Saturday am family get together on a roof terrace opposite andf loud GE music ..
Maxx came from Batumi and the plan was to go back to Batumi - but I suggested waiying another day - as I had just arrived from London early am and Maxx had had a long drive from Batumi - it seemed unfair to go back - next day and Maxx's Mac Book had packed up - so we left it in a repair shop - hoping to collect it the next morning ..
I had a hair cut at my fav 'beauty salon and SC had her hair trimmed
Sadly, although we waited - it was not ready and we set off to Batumi via Gori ( Stalin's birth place) rather later than planned
It was hot - but I have done this joruney before - with Maxx - and the scenary is spectacular
We arrived in Batumi v.late on a sunday night and booked into a nearby hotel to Maxx's place and it was 'fine' - save for Bed bugs ...UGH ..
We checked out and Maxx's landlord found us a mate who brokered apartment rentals and he did us a great deal ... we booked two apartments at £20 / night ..... They were GREAT - but there were still workers on site - otherwise the price would have been more.. We had fibre optic Wifi internet, IPTV, a view to die for of the sea and moutains to nearby Turkey and the apartments were new and v.clean .
I could work and SC and her friedn wanted to go to the beach .... BUT.... Maxx's landlord had kindly arranged a trip to the Mountains and and a Georgian picnic - and SC could not work' on her tan - which causes her withdrawal symptoms and sulks ..
I reolved to soften the impactt of such negavity by resuming a toast war with Maxx's landlord - which had been a 'tie' last time .. Somehow or other - I ended up drinking his Chaca and he his homemade wine ...somewhat unfair ..
He teased SC and she VERY grudgingly - admitted that - apart from nearby smokers - all was fine - but I was losing badly to Maxx's landlord
When we got back to the apartment - I went to buy some water and decided I'd take the lift up using the other tower block .. it is only connected to ours on th first and second floors ... My chipped key for the lift allowed it to work ..but it decided to conk out between the 19tth and 20th floor - although I only learnt where - after ..
I was not unduly concerned and called SC - who decided I was 'drunk' - well I was - and was messing about when I said I was stuck in the lift .. as she tried both of them in OUR tower block - and of course - they worked
So, I called our Fixer and he understood my Russian and came with a site supervisor and - via my voice's voume - they - eventually found me - prised open the doors - and I jumped down 1.5 metres to the 19th floor - I had to go out feet first as the gap was small ... felt like I was in a Hollywood 'disaster' movie ..
On my return to our apartment in the RIGHT tower, SC berated me and when the building supervisor pointed out I really WAS trapped burst into tears and gave me a big hug ... For some strange reasn I slept like a baby and seemingluy suffered no side effects ... 2:1 to Maxx's landlord ... and I have not touched booze for over a week !
I went with SC to the beach and slept under the pier one can see from the window - while SC 'worked'..
That evening, we walked from one end of Batumi to the other along the promendae - from the airport to the port - and I fiound the offices of the Sochi-Batumi Comet.. a hydrofoil that operates in the summer - taking five hours... The offices were closed - but the security guy was friendly - and offered the Irishman Chacha - which SC quickly declined on my behalf ... (
Maxx's temporary notebook was loaded with windows 10 and vey slow so we tried to upgrade the ram - but it was not possible on that model and even loaded Ubuntu Linix - only sl. improved things ... SC found her Sunflower seeds supply and all was rosy for her ..
The next day started with a severe storm - no power, n lifts and no water pump ..made me realise why living in the clouds had it's down side.. SC had withdrawal symptoms as no ability to work on her tan
I called the Sochi Comet frm and was told that the ferry was booked for nearly three weeks ahead - because of the 'flights crisis'.. I guess I should have seen THAT one coming
I spent hours under the pier - in the shade - looking at Kayak, Skyscanner and aviasales.ru for an easy way back to Sochi .. only 200 km - by sea - distant.