While in Georgia, I might just have a weekend away to the country’s second-largest city—Batumi. Apart from its unique cityscapes, like the trip to Çanakkale, once again, the people I encounter fascinate me the most.
The countryside from a train window is spectacular even though it is raining all day. I’m sure it passes the vineyard I visited for rtveli in October.
When the train arrives at Batumi Central, one of the passengers approaches me and asks if I could share the Internet so that he can get a car into the city. I oblige to be helpful and end up going with him. We get to talk a bit in the car. He’s a Philippino nurse, working in Saudi Arabia. That makes sense to have a holiday from there.
The weather on Saturday is such a contrast to the arrival—perfect for a photo walk. The Black Sea is calm. The juxtaposition of flashy high-rises and residential apartments is apparent. While exploring the city’s tourist spots along Batumi Boulevard, I hear someone calling my name. It’s him. What a small world. Well, it’s a small city, I guess.
The sun continues to shine on Sunday. I decide to take a cable car for the sunset and the vantage point of the city. It takes about 15 minutes each way. So, with me in an uphill car, a senior couple from Australia attended their son’s wedding with a Russian in Tbilisi.
On the downhill trip, I am with a Russian guy. He’s also in town for the weekend and will be back in Tbilisi and then travel to Argentina. It will be his first intercontinental journey. I joke that we may run into each other in Tbilisi before we part.
The departure day is also wet. I rather hanging in the railway station. It’ll be hours but there are power points. While I am catching up on the journal, the Russian guy shows up. That’s less than 24 hours after we split at the cable car ride. He eventually joins me. Again, I oblige to be helpful by sharing the mobile Internet with him to watch a streaming.
Before we get on the train, we get to chat more, especially, about travelling. The conversation is actually reflective, answering my own internal questions. We are somehow in parallel stages of travelling, I paraphrase him.
Finally, back in Tbilisi, while I’m waiting for the Metro to the apartment, there he reappears. We get on the same train. I’m glad to wish him luck with his new chapter in Argentina.
These echoing encounters with other visitors still linger in my head. Meeting people and having meaningful chats with them always enrich the journey.