A Creature of Habit

It is very easy to become a creature of habit; travelling as I do, I find myself almost searching for patterns, looking for flakes of continuity in an otherwise fairly random life. I am staying currently in the Courtyard Marriott in Tbilisi, my third visit, and other than the murder, I like the security and comfort of knowing and being known.

The murder was odd, though. A few days before I arrived, a young(ish) French IT specialist, only three days in the country, was brutally stabbed in room 412. I pass this room each time I head from my room to the elevator; they have tacked two elderly bed covers over the door, covering the police tape (I peeked behind them), which jar against the otherwise perfect symmetry of a hotel corridor. It makes one wonder about that night in January, hints of spurned lovers, on-line attractions and perhaps expectations that went beyond those spoken. I also wonder when they will clean the room, and who will, presumably unwittingly, be its next paying guest.

So full of these wonders, and my penchant for habit taking me to one of two local restaurants for lunch or dinner when alone, I have been in Tbilisi for three days now; successful ones I think, as the couple of major business ideas I am pursuing seem to be edging forward nicely. Nicely to the point that today I had nothing else to do and decided to head to Batumi, the rapidly-growing resort on Georgia’s Black Sea coast.

Twice weekly Airzena (the Georgian national airline) operate a schedule that allows one to head to the coast for seven hours, and still be back in Tbilisi in time for dinner. The fare, at $75 return, is terrific, so I headed to the airport armed with camera and notepad ready for a day at the seaside.

We boarded the plane on time and the 50 seat aircraft had about 30 passengers on board with two flight crew; used to United Airlines’ spartan offering on the same aircraft, this seemed almost excessive. However, after about 30 minutes, they came around and announced that because of snow, rain and fog at the seaside, the flight would be delayed.

So I abandoned ship; as the aircraft was to continue from Batumi to Kiev and stop on its way back, the return to Tbilisi would be significantly late, and I have a dinner engagement; add to that, while beaches in snow and howling winds do have rather macabre attractions, being late for dinner trumped them. So back through security, a complicated refund process and fortunately one lone taxi around to take me back to town.

And now, I think to my favourite little haunt for a bowl of their marvellous mushroom soup while I ponder the afternoon.