Batumi to Odessa

Waking up the entire population of the residence to go downstairs and confiscate the electric kettle to make coffee, and then shower, I bolted out of there as fast as possible. Arriving at the Maritime Corporation responsible for shipping me to Odessa, I inquired due to the length of travel if I should procure any certain “provisions” for the next 48 hours. “No, no, they will have food, coffee and tea, it’s not luxurious, but normal.” My definition of luxury and his are completely different.

The cabin would make Jon heave. I was given a complementary 1.5L of bottled water, twice. The toilet flushed and there is soft – let me repeat that – soft toilet paper. The shower had hot and cold water as well as pressure. The mattress was literally a mattress (underneath were empty wine and vodka bottles – nice touch). The first meal was 3 courses: soup, entrée, and desert – 80% of which Jon could have eaten. The walls are laced with LG flat screen televisions. An espresso machine. Like arriving to the sun rising, we departed as it was setting; a perfect way to leave Georgia. This was already materialistically starting off better than Baku six months ago. Lady Gaga’s Alejandro followed us through bus station terminals and airports in Central Asia during the summer; Katy Perry’s Firework kept me warm during the winter.

Aboard the SS whatever, were Ukrainians, Bulgarians and Georgians, a completely different makeup from six months earlier along the Caspian. Part of my rationale for choosing this mode of transportation was that it would allot me time requisite to conduct a review of literature for my thesis. Locked away in a cabin, I thought no other environment could be conducive to focusing on the works of others in my field of interest. I would be able to identify the gaps in research and contribute my own two cents worth of nonsense. I also wanted to make progress in Lolita. If you’re thinking all I did was drink myself silly with the staff and other passengers for two days, you’re wrong. Befriending Nicolai from Varna, Bulgaria and Alec from Donetsk, Ukraine broke up the mundane readings to help pass the time, sans booze. This was, like me, Nicolai’s first trip from Batumi to Odessa and the blonde-haired Bulgarian couldn’t stop taking pictures of everything, including the Captain. Alec was a nice version Bullet-tooth Tony from a Guy Richie film.

We arrived at exactly the 48 hour mark. Since I was without vehicle, they tossed me overboard first and into a van that drove maybe 25 meters outside the port. Enter Odessa.

Odessa is fucking cold right now, and standing on the side of the road waiting for a marshutki was a great introduction. Eventually #25 drove by and I jumped in. The windows were frozen over so I couldn’t see a goddamn thing. Sooner or later, I arrived in front of the train station (vagzol). The next train leaving for Moldova was the next day at 1530 pm. Now, an ordinary person would have waited in line and bought them. Nope not me, I wanted to see Odessa, find a cheap place to crash, and purchase them later. After what seemed like an eternity of wandering filled with distractions, I gave up. Sheepishly returning to the train station, I sprawled out on the seats upstairs until some Ukrainian law enforcement numb nut had the nerve to wake me up. Having failed to purchase aforementioned ticket I was forbidden to occupy those soft wooden benches. Descending upon a fat, mullet-dawning babushka of a ticket agent, I procured the necessary documents to remain on the premise and travel to Moldova the following day. Again, I left and found that cheap place to crash for less than $10 at the aid of that same numb nut. After declining an invitation to finish a bottle of brandy in the reception area, I ascended upstairs to my “Japanese” style abode and hit the bed so hard it shattered the frame underneath. Waking up and bolting again out of a facility, the same guy was on the couch with his netbook and bottle of brandy. Adieu Odessa.




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