Linda: Sulphur, KGB and lots of khinkalis

Slow morning by our new "family of travellers"- a group of us that felt amazingly well being together although we knew each other for a day only- which was enlarged by ever positive James this morning.
James-american, who circled the world on bicycle and still contionues his cycling travels of extreme adventures (although it is still not clear what is more extreme- the adventures or the storytelling style) his favourite country being Pakistan. His current travel blog: http://tbilisi-telaviv.blogspot.com/.
Had breakfast at Sachasnike- another local eatery, where foreigners are a rare sight attracting everyones attention, and whose traditionally warmly welcoming owner felt like a long-time friend after 5 minutes talk about what would he suggest for us to eat this morning. Ended up with Imereti hachapuris on our table.
Made a long embassy registration walk around the city visiting places off the tourist tracks, as Latvian embassy is set in a remote private house quarter, being cheered by lines of Georgian road workers sitting lazily in the sun on sidewalks and having difficulties crossing streets filled with motoracers- both situations putting us a bit out of our comfort. Latvian language sounded almost exotic in the setting, but the registration itself gave some assurance that in case of emergency evacuation help will be provided.
We decided to eat more fruit sold everywhere, minutes later Marta went into a shop and bought cookies. I'm gaining weight in this country of white bread and fried foods soaked in oil (this is what is left on offer when the main items- meat and wine are subtracted).
Back on Rustavely bought a Geocell pre-paid card and enjoyed cheap sms service by contacting Flavio, with whom we were supposed to go to sulphur baths. They were late and we decided to walk slowly in the direction of the baths and the walk came out a very long one and included observing Georgians crossing themselves 3 times every time they passed a church, taking pictures of anti-Saakashvili "protests"- represented by improvised numbered plactic "cells" bloking the main street in front of the parliament house with a few men hanging around in some of them playing nards, geting lost in Old Town, walking halfway up to the Narikala fortress and from up there finally locating the whereabouts of the baths. Arrived at the place at same time as our Swiss friends and chose a "comunal bath" option, where gender inequality was greatly expressed- males have a pool, but not sauna, while females have the smelly hot water only in showers, but can heat up even more in a sauna. Standing under the rotten-egg smell shower soon got boring, so I opted for a "massage" executed by a completely naked (all people go naked in the baths) elderly woman reaching up to my chin only, who had no hesitation whatsoever to energetically apply her tool- almost rotten massage glove, that seemed to have been used on hundreds of bodies already- all over even the most intimate parts of me. My Latvian nature made me react with perceiving it as abusive and un-hygenic at first, but then I simply gave in to the moment trusting in the disinfecting an healing properties of the highly praised sulphur and in the end felt freed of all layers of dust, sweat and old skin accumulated on me- squeeky clean, relaxed, cheerful and of course- smelling of rotten eggs.
The boys came out equally "processed" by a male massager and after following Flavio's assured lead through the backstreets of the OldTbilisi for a while we admitted being lost and settled down to eat at a place called Hlebnaja, which turned out to be a good find with good food, kind waitress and an "eyeless dog".
Met up with Mariam and a group of her friends, as well as Niklas. Our desires rounded up to 1) wine tasting, 2) wanting to dance but none of the stylish bars of Old Town could not satisfy them and in the end we settled down at KGB bar on Bambi, which seemed cool to other Europeans, but quite shocking to ex-Soviet citizens like me. On one hand the menus in the shape of KGBs files "Delo no. _____" and the names of dishes like "Stalin's favourite" were amusing and even nostalgic for old times, but on the other hand- KGB killed thousands of innocent people, tortured without any proof of their guilt, sent intellectuals to gulag labour camps, performed all the atrocities and now the people are having fun in this bar drinking kompot. Are there many SS bars in Germany?
Anyway, sipped my kompot at the non-drinking end of the table, conversing with Gabriele and a sarcastic, smart polyglot ....., who could speak even Lithuanian and observing the drinking end getting more and more drenched in wine, their voices rising, their arms becoming more hugging and their eyes veiled.
The drinking party decided to continue to a 24-hour khinkali place, and we squeezed ourselves in a taxi- me sharing the front seat with Gabriele. Flavio and his new found love ... went walking, and others shared their knowledge of multi-national swear word vocabulary, while gulping down numerous meat khnikalis and disputing wheather it is OK to eat the pastry top part of these dumplings. Usually locals laugh about foreigners eating the "bad" part, although the visitors often find it to be tasty.
Arrived at Dodo's courtyard at 4:00 in the company of Gabriele and Niklas and continued talking until 6:00 in the morning, annoying Mexican Juan sleeping in our room. At this point Gabriele was already using all his charm and persuation skills and pressing us hard to come with them to trek in Kazbegi-Tusheti, setting out the next day. My mountaineers soul was greatly tempted to follow this invitation as much as Martas liking for adventures tempted her, but we still remembered a point in our "Team Agreement" signed at Kostelecke Horky: "Our project is our nr. 1 priority". Nevertheless we hesitated to take a decision to leave to Borjomi next day, leaving the question open.

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