I landed in Tbilisi on Independence Day (my first trip to see the country and suss it out before deciding to move), when the country was on a rather stand still and strike. I instantly felt like I had the ‘dumb tourist’ sticker on my forehead. The taxi drivers wanted to drop me off at my location for no less than 60GEL. I had done my research prior and refused them all, and decided to brave the Metro. It cost me only 50tetri to get to the tunnel (saving a lot of cash).

I found the bus stop at the airport with ease.

bus_1.jpg

There was a strike, and we had a newer bus pick us up, not pictured.

I did not understand anything the bus driver said, or had any assistance. A lady from America was relying on me to know how to navigate a country that spoke Georgian, with its own special alphabet (someone was on some serious hallucinogens to have such faith in me).

We got to a dodgy looking house on the side of the road, with about 20 men sitting outside drinking, and the driver got out, took my suitcase and pointed…We got out, and the men pointed to the back.

Now I have martial arts training, all that kyokushin was ready to burst, dare this turn out to be a brothel or trafficking ring.

ready_to_kick_ass_and_chew_bubblegum__by_iliekskittlez-dbrxnz5.png

I set my live location on and sent messages to a friend (in Switzerland) to make sure I respond in 5 minutes or get enforcement involved. I can be very paranoid and dramatic…

We walked to the back as they said, while American lady was grabbing onto me like I was the last of my kind… In less than a minute there were crowds, I have never seen so many people at the same place outside of a stadium in my life. Turns out it was Independence Day and the whole of Tbilisi was headed to the metro or out…

The fun started…

Advertisements

As a Saffer from Slummies (East London is a smaller town with two main languages; Xhosa and English) I am used to crazy taxi drivers, road-rage and chaos.

taxi

I can walk the unsafe streets of Johannesburg (where over eleven languages are spoken, and mine is frown upon) and find my way to my location with ease – while making sure my bags are not snatched, or my phone in my padlocked panties (no really lol).

The streets are busy. There is always someone selling socks, another selling sheep head, fruit, blankets, fake Nike tekkies (running shoes) and more, and still not feel scared at all.

I have always hated and been scared of trains, and recently started taking the Gautrain (peaceful, clearly marked and fast).

The platforms are open and those in a tunnel feel rather light, because the lighting is so good…

I would never take Shosholoza Meyl and Metrorail trains because my brain conjures up images of accidents.

In Switzerland, I started falling in love with the trains, the views, the tunnels… because I could navigate from A to B with ease. I liked that I could work, and have my beer in peace after evenings of late meetings.

I have had amazing experiences, except the one time I asked a friend to get my ticket and ended with a half priced ticket – luckily I noticed before the ticket checkers came through and embarrass me. I told them about it, who were quite sweet, and I paid the other half and 10SFr extra (I still want to punch said friend).

IMG_20180625_214415

I still get angry when I see the ticket of shame haha.

Little did  I know my newfound train comfort was rather short-lived…

Since deciding to make T’bilisi my third home (South Africa is my land, Switzerland my second home), I have been asked that question over and over again. When I mention Georgia, I get all kinds of stories about Atlanta.

No, I am not in America!

No, I will not go see Tyler Perry studios (I do not even watch Tyler Perry movies).

I am in Georgia, the country, not the state in the United States of Trump, I mean America.

 

The distance between Georgia, Europe and Georgia, USA is 10,146 km. Faaar away…

Geography lesson out of the way, I have decided to document my stay here, and compare it to life in Switzerland and South Africa for my friends and family who constantly ask me the most random and awesome questions.