While the beginning of my trip was eventful, the rest of it was wonderful and relaxing. I’ll say a few words about it the experience.

Tbilisi. Beautiful! I like cities to begin with, but Tbilisi has this old city type of feel to it. It wasn’t built in a century. It was built over many. Even though I am in the city, I could look up to the surrounding mountains and see greenery. Everything modern and old seems to fit together.

Friday was a relaxing day. Friday was Jodi’s actual birthday, so we went to the baths. There was one bathhouse that spoke Azerbaijani; we went there. This bathhouse was private, not a public one. There were 6 of us girls and 4 guys. We got two different rooms for the genders. Some of the girls were uninhibited and stripped with no problem; others were a little shy at first. How often are you naked around this many people, even your closest friends? The baths are like a hot tub but with sulfur. The sulfur is somehow supposed to be wonderful for your skin. We also decide to get the scrub down and massages. These two older women (in their 50s or 60s) come in and strip down to their panties. While one woman scrubs all the filth off of us, the other “massages” us. The full body massage felt more like a weird beating than what I would consider a massage. It was not relaxing, and I came out realizing I don’t think I like my sternum being massaged. After the baths, I felt SOOOOOOO clean. The cleanest I have ever felt. It was amazing. The group gathered together, and we went for a stroll around the city, got ice cream, and some of us got face-paint aliens on our arms. As night fell we started to party. We started at the hostel and found our way to a bar playing live music. The band played song we recognized, so we sang and danced along. Some of us even got on the bar to dance for one song. It was a fun night.

The next morning we went to the Dry Bridge Market. It’s basically like a yard sale with some antiques. On the side walk going across the bridge, extending further down that road, and veering off down a side street there were blankets full of treasures. Some things like old electronics I don’t understand who buys them in mass quantities. Other people sold jewelry, toys, used hardware, dining ware, lights, and old Soviet Era emblems. If I had more than a Peace Corps salary, I would have probably bought more. Though, I do have to get better at bargaining. You must be wondering how we communicated at this market because I don’t speak Georgian or Russian. Well, some sellers spoke a little bit of English. After a woman was screaming at me to get my attention and then running me down because I didn’t notice her yelling since I don’t speak whatever language she was communicating in, I was glad to have those few sellers whom I could communicate with.

In the Dry Bridge Market I had lost sight of all my friends. I searched around for a while but found no one. Instead of searching more (which I apparently should have done cause they were there), I meandered around the city some more and ended back at the hostel for a lazy afternoon.

The evening again proved to be eventful. After getting dinner, we split up. I with 3 others went to find a beer fest we had heard about. We wandered around without really knowing where it was, but for some reason we put full trust into my friend Jim. He is the type of guy who takes charge in unknown/unfamiliar/confusing/lack of information situations and tends to get us where we need to go or what we need. We eventually got to the beer fest, bought some awesome hats, then went to find beer. Unfortunately the beer tents were only sending out cups full of foam instead of beer. Since the live music wasn’t the best, we sat by the hay pile and hung out. It ended up being fun. We even met some new people, some of who spoke English. Although I will say not all the guys we met were good guys. I believe one of the men, who was not associated with most of the other guys we met, thought I was a prostitute. I was fully clothed and not doing anything my mother would not approve of. Sometimes because a woman looks foreign or Russian, men might believe she is a prostitute. I cannot confirm my belief, but after so many times of men believing you are a prostitute because you are not from their country, you start to pick up signs and a feeling. Soon after, we left and headed back to the hostel.

See, not as eventful as my first 5 hours on Friday morning. It was a much needed relaxing fun weekend. I hope to be back again soon and see more of the sights I missed.

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