Two women hitchhike through Georgia and Armenia. They are searching for a room, and as it gets later they start to become worried. They find a room and it’s a hostel apparently, but they discover it’s not a suitable place to sleep.
Me: It doesn’t need to be a disaster all the way through.
Gergana: It’s not a disaster, no.
Me: It’s in Georgia?
Gergana: It was in Georgia, in the old capital of Georgia. Historical place. I was traveling with a Dutch friend of mine, hitchhiking to Armenia and Georgia. So we went from Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, to…
[motions to lighter] Can I use it?
Sorry. We went to the old capital, very close to their capital, but without any reservation. We just went there, not knowing what to do or where we will stay. Probably we would go back to Tbilisi or just find an accommodation.
We were walking and saw a sign, like a hostel, but different. It was similar to a greeting, but not a greeting. “Thank you for staying here.”
It’s a hostel, apparently. It says a hostel.
So, we went inside [lights cigarette]. Very important thing is that it was very cold already. It was November and it was very, very cold. That’s a very important part of the story.
Me: In the mountains too?
Gergana: Yeah, actually Georgia, in general, is a hilly place. Mountain country. So we went there, went inside, and apparently it was just the house of the person. It was not a hostel, it just said a hostel. I don’t know why. He told us, “No, we don’t have any rooms available.”
We planned to leave, but everything is concentrated in the main part of the town, in the center. So we were just walking, passing by that house sometimes. One of the times we passed, he stopped us and he said,
“I have a room for you. I called my daughter, she came here, she cleaned and prepared the room. I have a place for you to stay.”
He charged, let’s say, a regular price for it. Which was, actually for their standards, a bit pricey. We agreed and entered inside his home, apparently not a hostel, and we entered inside a very cold, dirty room. There were spiders. I don’t mind spiders by the way, I’m not afraid of them.
Me: I am.
Gergana: It was… you are? It was very dirty. Apparently no one has been in this room for years! It’s just storage. At least there are some blankets on the beds. New clean sheets. But it was super cold. Super cold.
[Lights cigarette again]
I tried to cover myself with everything possible, several layers of clothes and all the blankets. My friend did the same, it was super cold house and at the same time the owner of the place, who was living alone in this house, pretended to be warm.
He was pretending to be warm, very warm.
We asked him for a heater because it was impossible for a person to sleep in this room. He said, “No! I am very warm. I’m naked here, and I don’t mind.” We’re thinking, “No, that’s insane.”
He said he’ll prepare some food, but we already planned to leave. There was only cold water, by the way, that’s also part of it. The food was cold and it was bad. The food was the moment when my friend said, “Hey man, we are gonna pay you something for the food, but we won’t stay here.”
He started cursing us. It was a huge scandal.
It’s not a bad experience, but the paradox is that the Georgians are very friendly people. Like, super friendly people. And you just never expect something like this from a Georgian person because they’re very hospitable people. It was just bad experience because it was very, very cold.
Me: That’s a shame. Georgia has that reputation for being hospitable.
Gergana: Yeah. We were stuck in this place now, no transport to the capital. We’re just stuck there and had to find a guesthouse or hotel, but it was already ten o’clock. We saw a hotel and entered inside. I said we had fifty euros. I don’t remember their currency, but let’s say fifty dollars. I don’t remember their currency.
And I said, we only have fifty, and in a hotel, it’s not enough. We don’t have any more money. “Can we book a room for fifty…” whatever it is, the currency. The receptionist called the owner and she said yes. We entered inside this amazing hotel room. So warm. It was so warm. It was actually very hot inside. It was amazing. It was really the best experience. I was so happy to be in a very hot room after this cold room.
What happens when you don’t have a visa but need to get your baggage? Hint: you won’t be touching the floor.