March 29

Still nothing arrived with Nino, and the situation is starting to look a little dire.  Considering I’ve been able to find new brake pads I’m not in such a bad situation, but Ryan definitely needs some new ones and we’ve not seen any in the places we’ve been to. 

Another problem is that we simply don’t have enough time.  I was far too tight with my scheduling of crossing countries, and that’s left us with an issue.  We need to be in Baku at least a day or two before the 6th – when our visa for Turkmenistan starts – but after some sleuthing, I found out the Turkmen Embassy in Baku is only open on Fridays and Mondays.  Considering we’re not going to be able to get there tomorrow, we need to be there by next Friday.  But we really need our stuff to arrive in Tbilisi, so want to give it the maximum chance for it to get there.  Nino tells me there’s a flight coming in on Monday with mail, so fingers crossed our stuff will be on there.  I think we’re going to have to take a train across at least part of Azerbaijan, or we just won’t have enough time. 

I spent the day today looking around town, especially the fortress on the top of the hill and the statue of Mother Georgia.  Tbilisi is a really cool looking town, and it feels incredibly genuine.  I highly recommend it to anyone – it combines the shabby chic of southern France, like Nice, with the some of the trendiness of Berlin and a little dash of Soviet what-the-fuck to make a really awesome city.  At night, I met up with a friend of my brother’s, Sandro, who is a really cool guy.  He worked as an artist in London and Moscow for some time then came back to Georgia and ended up opening the first gay-friendly bar in the country.  It became incredibly trendy, and it’s easily one of the coolest bars I’ve been to in my life – very low-key with great music and Sandro’s paintings on the walls.  2am came and went and I realised I should probably head back, so I wandered through the streets of the city, trying to count how many leather jackets I could see.  I quickly lost count. 

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