Every day we are in motion, encountering a multitude of different faces on the street, metro, in markets and almost every corner of life. Yet it seems to me most humans walk around not noticing a damn thing about the people or things around them, living in their own personal bubble or cocoon of sorts. There is a truthful saying in my view - the eyes are useless, when the mind is blind.
I know you have seen dozens of reports from Batumi, Georgia, where many Russian tourists go to sit by the warm sea. During my time there I was not concerned with the water, but the local inhabitants. Today I will share some portraits of the locals I met there, including this couple who sat on a bench outside the apartment complex where I stayed. They did not speak one word of English, but language barriers are irrelevant when people flash such nice smiles and inviting eyes!
1. In Batumi, there is a huge Turkish population and the cuisine there is divine! All kinds of tasty meats, kebabs, rice, sweets, and all of it is very cheap. We found a local cafe we really liked, and came to know the waiters there quite well. This young lad tried to charm foreigners into the place with his seductive smile.
2. He was in charge of roasting the various meats. Most locals in Georgia happily smile and pose for the camera, so it is no problem to capture portraits there.
3. I met this young Russian woman while walking along the boardwalk by the beach. Well, Georgian men are known to be smooth talkers and Romeos, right? No one can resist kissing them, even when their bronzed form is merely a statue.
4. International affair. :)
5. In this city, I wandered around completely alone and stumbled upon a group of men playing backgammon. This scene can be found all over Georgia, as I've said before I do not know what most men do there all day except sit around. Women appear to be the work horses of the country. They were delighted to be approached by a foreign woman, and tried to chat a bit in poor English. The younger man with the mustache later greeted me on his bicycle to ask if I was travelling alone - and I wonder if any women are stupid enough to answer "yes" to that question?
6. People appear not only in life form, but on street designs. I'm not sure what scenes are being captured here, perhaps it is from Soviet times, or before Batumi became modernized and the Las Vegas of Georgia. I really do not like this city at all, and if you have only traveled to Batumi in Georgia then you will understand absolutely nothing about the country.
7. Young children living a bit of a wild life, hanging out of cars and having fun. I think much more endearing than all of the young zombies we see walking around the U.S. and Europe with their faces already buried in phones and electronic devices.
8. What I remember most from this day is this couple. I was walking along with my camera and the young woman waved me over. She is from Turkey and her much older boyfriend is Canadian. They sat together with some local gypsies, wasting the afternoon hours away eating and drinking.
9. After basic pleasantries were exchanged, I joined in on the feast. Wonderful conversation hearing about their love affair and the young woman's dreams of becoming an attorney in the U.S.
10. Many family members and friends find it strange that I just stop and talk to strangers in foreign countries, but it is ordinary for me, and I simply rely on instinct and physical queues to know whether people wish to be approached. In this case, it was entirely obvious the couple wanted company and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have met them, and so many other wonderful humans in all my travels in Georgia and around the globe.
I will write another post about Batumi and share general impressions about the city. How is everyone? Who is still alive, and reading me after my long hiatus?