Day 29: I can't always be waiting, waiting on you I can't always be playing, playing your fool

2 Moose on the Loose Laundry Mongol Rally travel Turkey YOLO

Miles: 185
Countries: Turkey -> Georgia
Stops: Yesilyali -> Pazar -> Sarp border crossing -> Batumi -> Lanchkhuti
Playlists: Epic Sax Solo Songs, epic 80's/90's playlist

Our last morning in Turkey began in a gas station like most other days with weird looks from the attendants. Sketch town, and we weren't sure if we heard fireworks or gunshots the night before because all of a sudden there were a bunch of cops/ambulances/fire trucks that zoomed past us. Justin slept clutching his weapon of a choice, a flashlight.

We decided on an early start despite being sleep deprived since we had to do laundry and figured we could relax on the beach while things dried.

Took us a while to find a "beach" since the highway was but 20ft from the coast but there were no off ramps. We noticed cars were parked in the slow lane so we waited until we saw a hole in the highway divider, pulled over and went for a shave, shampoo and conditioner, and sat around while laundry was laid out.

The Black Sea: soooo good. It was barely salty, it was warm, fresh, and the beaches were all pebbled which made for a nice tumble cycle and no dirt.

We packed and made our way over to the border. What a shitshow.
There were no signs telling us where to go so we just kept going around the bend until we got "welcome to turkey". That wasn't right.... and then we saw it. The line up of cars, it came all the way right back into Turkey. Justin counted over 30 vehicles and 15 buses. After about 1.5 hours, we only moved 5-6 cars. It was brutally hot and smelled of a dump.

The worst part was as the line moved, if there was a car that hesitated for a second (it was off, or the driver was out of the car since you waited 10-15min to move), some jackass would sneak in and no one seemed to say or do anything.

We got to the front of the queue around the corner (intersection for where we originally came from Turkey) and were told to stop and wait. Meanwhile another few cars snuck right in to the gate and the police did nothing. We were told to then go through, and the first check point went to search the car and told me to get out. Passengers had to go get in a separate line for passport control. We had JUST made a comment about how sucky it would be to be in that line. They were sardines, in the heat, and it looked HUGE. We figured it was the bus passengers and decided 3 hours in the car was the way better option. My face completely fell when the guard pointed at it. As I was walking over to it with only my passport and police report, they must've searched the car pretty quickly (apparently, he looked through my purse more thoroughly than the rest of the car...?) and the guard whistled at me and told me to just come back. So we're not sure if we got lucky here, or if we were unlucky to be selected in the first place? It worked out though.

We then pulled up to the first border guard window, he waived us through and said next booth. There was no one here. So we go to the third booth. I hand over our passports and he seems confused that they haven't been stamped yet. He keeps making the stamping motion and we keep saying no. He eventually ends this ridiculous loop by looking at them and the look on his face concerns us. He gets up, with our passports, and leaves his booth. One of the other teams lost their documents because a border guard took it and accidentally gave it to another car buried in their papers, so we were adamant to not take our eyes off our stuff. But he leaves and goes into the "POLICE" booth.

I was now concerned the toll roads and the alarms we set off were catching up with us. Of course, Justin was as cool as a cucumber. A policeman comes out of the booth and tells us to park to the side, get out, and to follow him. My face has panic written all over it and justin is all "yeah, sure, no problem. We were led to the police station were we got to skip the line right inside and told to sit down.

One thing I learned with Turkish is that although it's an entirely different language, I can every once in a while catch a word similar to Russian. I didn't notice this initially because it would be spelled completely different or pronounced just off. But I caught the word "emergency" as 6 policemen were huddled over discussing out passports. The lightbulb above my head lights up and I find the English speaking guy and try to explain these are legitimate passports. He tries to explain to me that we can't travel on an emergency passport, it's only good to take us to our country, Canada. This loop continues and I keep iterating it's a legitimate passport, good for a year, and that we had the option for an emergency passport, this was not it. They had to manually look it up, but after 10 minutes, they stamped it, smiled, handed them back and led us back to our car. There was one more window we had to roll up to, she took our passports and car ownership and literally squealed with excitement when she saw Canada. Super cute lady, and the most efficient window to date.

We were out of Turkey!

Now Georgia. Again, I'm told to get out and go in to the building while Justin was told to pull up to the window. I grabbed my passport and police report and went inside. It wasn't even a fraction as bad. There were 7-8 booths and the line ups were maybe 8 people long each. I got behind one line with the younger cute guard, just in case I had to play it a little, and watched how smooth it all was. No one even had a passport, it was just their identity card or some sort of paper that was stamped, he barely even looked at them, and sent them on their way. Literally about 10-15 seconds per person. Then there was I.

He looked at my passport, looked at me, looked at the passport, looked at me, looked at the passport, looked at me, and no one was on a horse. He sighed heavily, put my passport off to the side and waived the next person in. I stood there against the counter and just watched him continue stamping other people. I tried to push my police report and explained I was robbed but I completely blanked on what language everything was here. At least Turkish had English letters, Georgian looked like something out of Lord of the Rings. Every once in a while, he would pick up my passport and look at it, sometimes he grabbed his phone, texted something, then laid it all back down and stamp the next person. Another cop came over, seemed extremely unimpressed with my passport, also lost, and handed it back to him. The next people were a Russian family. And he started chatting with the 8-10 year old and told her she was a beauty in Russian. Well, my ears perked up. So I began to explain the situation and that it's a real passport and all that jazz, and as soon as I spoke Russian, his face melted and he became a sweetheart. He was surprised I spoke Russian and started me asking all sorts of questions how is it I'm Canadian but know the language and was intrigued by our story. It was smooth sailing here on out and he sent me off wishing me best of luck. I rushed out assuming justin was still stuck at the window and could use my expertise. I came out, sure enough he was still there but he was laughing and saying he shaved his beard. He got through on his own and all in all, we were over on the Georgian side in 15-20min tops.

First thing we did was park and swim on the other side of the border. It was lovely and the parking attendant said free for the pretty lady in Russian! Not even 10 min later we were back on the road and drove on.

I don't even know where to begin with Georgia, so I'll save that for the next post as this one is long enough.

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