Everything happens so quickly. The bus door opens and closes, the engines start humming, then a stream of familiar places rushes by outside of the window. Sometimes I think of a person whom I’ve met here or there, or of a cat or a dog. Every time we go through a tunnel I find myself looking for the sidewalk, and I can feel my heart thumping in my chest.
I wonder if riding a bus is actually harder than walking. It’s warm and stuffy, there seems to be almost no air, and the driver is a chain smoker. My knees are pressed against the seat in front of me. I have some trail mix and tea, but I don’t allow myself to drink too much because I don’t want to have to go to the restroom. I watch a few episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s funny at times, and sometimes it’s just stupid. It also makes me slightly nauseous. One time we stop at a highway rest area and I have one last Turkish meal. It’s not the best soup, beans, and rice I’ve ever had.
The ride to the Georgian border takes a bit more than ten hours. Passengers get on and off here and there. In the end only a handful remain. We reach the border, and the bus vomits us onto the sidewalk and leaves. I breathe in the night air. It’s been ten weeks that I was here last, pulling the Caboose through the border in the vehicle lane. It was hot then, and it is cold now.
When I step out of the other side of the border building, my passport has been checked two times, I’ve been asked a few harmless questions, and my luggage has been x-rayed by a very bored man. I step onto Georgian soil and find a guy who will drive me to Batumi. He turns out to be a veritable Michael Schumacher. But then everybody in Georgia is a veritable Michael Schumacher.
And so, with Lil’ Pump and Coldplay howling into the night, I ride to Batumi.