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  • Jamie Shannon

Waiting around in Tbilisi as the days tick on by. Please give me a visa

Friday 12th August

Eight days have now passed since I first came to Tbilisi. Time is ticking away and it feels like I’m no closer now to getting my Azerbaijan visa than I was five days ago when I re-sent the application.

With no word from the tour company after two days, I decided to call to see if I could get a date out of them and after three phone calls, was told not worry and that my electronic visa should be ready tomorrow.

In the meantime I have received my Letter of invitation for Uzbekistan via email and can now apply for that visa whenever I reach Baku in Azerbaijan but herein lies the next problem. Like I said earlier, If I somehow fail to get my Azeri visa then I can’t apply for my Uzbekistan visa because the embassy I nominated to collect it at is in bloody Azerbaijan which was the only embassy I could pick it up from. It’s a right old mess and this is the reason why I’m panicking very slightly about the whole thing.

If for whatever reason, I fail to get my Azeri e – visa, then I will have to apply myself at the embassy here in Tbilisi and that could take another five days and cost another one hundred euros. Come on guys, just give me this bloody visa.

Check out more visa posts here

Tbilisi is a nice city to enjoy a break though. There are many different neighbourhoods to explore and, although it’s difficult to actually walk around the city due to the nature of the congested roads, it’s a nice play to explore. I’m not joking about the roads though. Sometimes you find yourself stuck in the middle of six lane highways or having to walk a half a kilometre just to access a bridge in which to cross the damned things. It’s a frustrating situation.

I finally decided it was time to visit a dentist yesterday. It needed doing. I don’t want to be in the middle of the desert in Kazakhstan with a gammy mouth and so I set out on a mission to locate an English speaking dentist.

This search led me to a whole host of different ‘surgeries’. Some were located down tiny backstreets where the only thing differentiating that business from the one next door was an over sized tooth hanging from a sign outside. This didn’t fill me with much confidence and so I found another in the wealthier part of the city where the frontage was all shiny and modern and the sign outside included an actual phone number and address. I was put off of this one however when I realised the lady behind the reception was also the dentist and in any case didn’t speak English.

In the end, I mentioned all of this to the lady whom runs the hostel and upon hearing of my woes, decided to take me to her dentist around the corner to have the work done.

Although it didn’t look very official from the outside, she assured me that three generations of her family had used this dentist and the dentist spoke just enough English to put me at ease.

Well it wasn’t the horrid experience I had imagined and only cost about ten euros in all. I was mightily pleased to have done it. The only strange thing out the experience was the fact that the dentist sang as she was yanking away at my mouth. It was a very moving experience.

I have also visited a bike shop where I got the bottom bracket fixed (the round bar positioned through the bottom of the frame that your pedals are attached to) and bought a couple of new decent tyres, more inner tubes, a new cassette with enough teeth to climb super steep mountains and an extra pump.

All in all, I feel pretty good about the journey ahead – if I ever leave Tbilisi that is.

After Baku, there really will be a complete lack on bicycle shops and spare parts and so I’m kitting myself out for every conceivable outcome. For this reason I’m carrying:

Two pumps (in case one fails)

12 28 inch inner tubes (as only 26 inch inner tubes are likely to be available if I do find a bike shop)

One spare tyre (for the same reason above)

Extra spokes

Extra metal sleeves to slide over my tent poles if another decides to snap

This might prove to be a bit much but history has taught me that it’s just better to be safe than sorry.

I met up with Chloe and Will last night, the English couple whom I had lost whilst exiting Batumi nearly two weeks ago. It was nice to see how they had been getting on with their immense slog over the mountains. They had encountered landslides, floods, roads over two thousand metres high and lots of Georgians wielding wine. I must say, I’m actually a little jealous of their adventures but I have some crazy and awe inspiring landscapes to look forward to if I ever get to Tajikistan.

Saturday 13th August

Finally receiving my visa for Azerbaijan!

I got my visa! I got my visa! I’m so happy I could almost cry. I woke up today with a very slight hangover and not really expecting much in the way of news with regards to my Azeri visa but all was not lost, as by 14:00, and having pressed ‘refresh’ several times during the day already, I found an email from the lady of the tour company I had been dealing with. It was a wonderful moment and I cried out hallelujah upon its discovery. After nine days I can finally leave Tbilisi and begin my journey onto the next country and move importantly, I can pick up my Uzbek visa in Baku as planned. Things are moving forward at last.

With this new email, I darted down to the nearest internet café and got everything I needed to print out done.

Will and Chloe asked If I wanted to join them on their sprint across Azerbaijan, but considering the fact that I can’t enter Uzbekistan until the 6th September, there seems no point in hurrying. I will thus leave on Monday and take a much more scenic route through the country where I won’t be constantly surrounded by desert.

I was asked to book into hotel every night of my proposed 30 day stay in Azerbaijan and so this is what I did. This has turned out to be the correct thing to do as Will and Chloe booked only ten consecutive nights in hotels and this has turned out to be the precise length of their visa's. Now that’s bad luck. It means that they will have only ten days to sprint across the country. Ouch.

Well I still have a couple of days to spend here but I’m happy I’m on the right track. Ill miss this place though. I like waking up in the morning and nipping to the local market to buy some breakfast before deciding on which part of the city I want to visit that day. I’ve enjoyed all the people I have met too including some people staying long term here. It feels like my home in Georgia you know.

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