Nov 1, 2023: A Day Out in Rustavi

Picasso Chinese Restaurant – Tbilisi, Georgia – 10pm

10:30am: Extreme Driving Lesson on the Circuit

Today was a long day. I had my fifth extreme driving lesson out at the motorpark at 10:30am again. I got there a bit early so I sat at the bleachers overlooking the circuit and sang ‘Begging’ to pass the time. I’m going to be performing a drums cover of that song for the Christmas concert, so I’m excited to get better at it and put everything together.

Since I had driven on the track before, I kind of knew what to expect. It was kind of boring because I wasn’t really allowed to go too fast, but it got better once my teacher explained the ideas in greater detail. He was trying to show me the right trajectory to take. I always turn too early or too late, when I’m supposed to be carving a more direct, efficient line on the curves, looking for the apex of the inner curve and following through accordingly. I think I got it somewhat in theory, but it’s definitely harder to practice in real life.

But the car had a problem with the engine again, so we had to cut the lesson short for the second time. My teacher was so frustrated; he’s been saying that he’s wanted to sell this car for a while now since it always has so many problems. He said we’d have to continue the last forty-plus minutes of the lesson another time – and said that I could try a drifting lesson if the car we normally use still wasn’t fixed. That brightened my day. I do hope I get to try drifting. Then I could get a better sense of whether I want to take a drifting course now or just do it next summer, assuming I come back to Georgia.

12pm: Third Attempt at the Stadium Driving Exam

So, I left the motorpark around 12pm and walked into the driver’s examination exam to try it again for the third time. I really tried to remind myself to be calm and just treat it as practice so there wouldn’t be so much pressure on me. My only goal for this attempt was to get past task 1. I think the first task has presented such a mental block for me because it seemed like I would never get past it. But, this time, I managed to make it all the way to task 5, so I know it’s definitely possible and within reach! I’ll write another blog post about my experience with driving in Georgia.

So, even though I failed again, I walked away with a bounce in my step. I was actually pretty stoked just to break past the first task.

1pm: Exploring Rustavi

I decided to finally explore Rustavi. I’ve typically been spending the afternoons after the driving sessions at Ponichala Reserve, so I never actually saw Rustavi ‘proper’. I caught a random bus (route 7) and just rode it into the deeper neighbourhoods, seeing the more industrial part of the city. Then I got off where a bunch of marshrutkas to Tbilisi were parked and walked back to the main bridge, passing through a few parks. It all looked a bit shabby, but I did really like the Rustavi music school building and the orchestra statue outside of the city hall. I sat at that small park for a while, listening to flute music float out the open doors.

Eventually, I got to the river and walked into the Park of Culture and Rest. Wow, what a name. It was really peaceful and there weren’t too many people, although it was more crowded than Ponichala. I walked around the lake, and saw that there was a skatepark and a fortress. The sun reflected off the smooth waters so brilliantly. There were boats and kayaks available that one could rent. I could have sat by that lake the whole day.

But my phone died and I’d forgotten to charge my laptop the night before, so I had to head indoors. That was a good thing though because the bar at the entrance of the park had such a cool vibe. It was still decked out in fun Halloween decorations, and had some very spacious seating areas both inside and outside. The weird thing was that, for such a big seating area, they didn’t have any food. They only sold drinks. I ordered a strawberry shake and spent about an hour getting into my novella writing and doing a first writing block. I got 797 words written before leaving the park (wrote half of it at the bar, and the rest sitting on park bench watching the sun set over the lake).

It was a real hassle getting back to Tbilisi, as I walked further than I had to instead of taking the bus. I got to see the horse riding hippodrome at dusk when it was already beginning to get difficult to see the horses prancing around. I’ll try to organize a horseriding lesson next week since I’ll have to come out to Rustavi again then. I finally caught a bus but got off at the wrong stop by accident, and then walked around and got confused about which direction I was supposed to catch the bus from and which bus I could even take, so I just got a Bolt and finally caught bus 20 to Isani station. That was a faster bus because it didn’t make any stops along the way, but it’s also not directly from Vake, so I would have to transfer to the metro system… I think I still prefer taking 345 in the morning when I’m rushing for a lesson. But Bus 20 is convenient for the ride back to Tbilisi.

Finished the day by trying a Chinese restaurant called Picasso near Rustaveli station. Had my first ma po tofu in Tbilisi, I think! Not bad. While there, I cranked out the rest of my word count for the day, penning 903 words, so that I’ve got a total of 1700 words down for the Nanowrimo attempt.

Day 1 of writing done! But, let me tell you, that was painful as heck.

And now I am absolutely pooped! I could fall asleep in this chair right now.



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