Turns out after a week in Tbilisi, I liked it so much that after a week in Yerevan, I came back for another week, in a different part of the city. But that would be a very long photodump, so one thing at a time.
Also, like, I really need to change the name of this blog sometime.
So, like apparently everyone else in the world, I decided to stay at Fabrika in New Tbilisi, which is apparently, like, the too-cool-for-school place to be — part hostel, part bar, part artsy coworking space. So it was a little hard to meet other travelers unless you lucked into cool roommates in the dorm (which I, fortunately, totally did), but definitely a cool place for a home base, especially when you’re new to the city, as there’s a bunch of places to eat and drink right in the courtyard — which, since I was there at the end of December, also morphed into an adorable Christmas market, where me and one of my aforementioned cool roommates/new friends chilled (literally), drinking mulled wine and people watching and feeling very worldly.
I don’t even like mulled wine, but it just feels so fucking cozy.
It was also at Fabrika that I began to discover the extent of Tbilisi’s amazing graffiti/street art, as this was my introduction to the place:
Same, little lemur(?) dude, same.
One day the water was out for a couple hours (no fault of the hostel’s, they were very helpful about it), so before I realized it was a city thing, I went exploring on another floor to see if the water was on there, only to discover that we third-floor denizens got TOTALLY cheated in terms of the art on the walls — aka none — while the second-floor bastards got to bask in THIS:
I mean, c’mon, imagine stumbling back drunk at 3am or something and there’s just… that.
But I gotta say, the rest of the city didn’t disappoint. Cats… more dicks… skeletons boning (ha!)… god, I love the fact that human beings across the world and across the vast spans of human history just, like, never change.
See also: why are barren amusement parks in the off-season so inherently, like, haunting?
Just to make it even better, the workers manning the rides waiting for the, like, one child in the little park to come by were so bored I’m fairly sure they were just turning the rides on just for entertainment.
Which is all well and good, until you’re just minding your own business, idly wandering around, and then creepy carnival music starts up somewhere behind you, and you turn around and realize you’re face to face with revolving menacingly behind you, with no one on board:
Yeah. And then back away slowly, and bump into these friendly fellows.
Goodbye, little park.
Unsettling in a similar-but-different way: I decided to take the funicular (god, what a satisfying word) up to — hold on, let me google how to spell this for the 2387573 time — Mtatsminda Park, knowing nothing about it besides that the views were probably pretty cool (true) and from the hostel window, it looked a little like a faerie playground.
Unbeknownst to me, there was also a massive, creepily-empty amusement park at the top, aside from faerie-wheel. Though in fairness, unless Nightmare McClownpark up there, it looked like it is probably a really, really fun place in summer — just not when it’s hovering around the freezing point.
Also: a really fun place to remember that I am, the older I get, increasingly afraid of heights.
Yeah, you can almost see me backing further and further from the edge, despite the waist-high wall. Still not sure where that came from except probably the time I got dizzying heatstroke on my first and only mountain hike in Washington. Good times!
But at least I confirmed that the Ferris wheel does, in fact, move, because I swear to god watching from the window it looked utterly, weirdly still, all the time. And that the people who get on do, I think, eventually, get off.
But yeah, it felt more like a smaller (much smaller) Disney world during dead time of year or something, versus just a pocket of land that Stephen King created and forgot about.
Also, if I may, I feel like one of these things is super not like the other:
I do not think I want Extreme Octopus.
On the other hand: Giant Wheel, Cash, Dinosaurs? I’m sold on going left.
I dunno, I’ve talked before (probably repeatedly) about my vague obsession with liminal spaces, and I suppose that’s why I love visiting places like this in the off-season — it’s like you can almost feel what it’s like in its own time, in summer with kids and families and groups of teenagers wandering around, laughing and making fun and having fun, only it is still silent and empty. Juxtaposition, man.
ANYWAY. So both aside from and because of its weirdness, I really do love Tbilisi, and got to see a totally different side of it when I came back, which was also super cool. But it’s beautiful, and the people are delightful, and like, in all honestly, I have never felt safer as a woman traveling alone anywhere than in the Caucuses (at least the cities).
So, yeah, Tbilisi is amazing. If anyone is following my lazy ass updates, from Tbilisi I went to Yerevan, Armenia for a week, then back to Tbilisi for accidentally another week, and am now in my last few days in Baku, Azerbaijan — which I love — before heading to Astana, Kazakhstan at fuck o’clock on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.
I’d say I’ll be better at updates, and like I sure hope so, but I feel like a liar every time I say it.