The first hitch hike we got in Georgia was a Taxi, which wasn't a Taxi. "When I have normal car, police: Stop! Stop! Stop! When I have Taxi - police no problem."
While we were driving through high mountains and deep valleys planted with manderin-trees in rows and steps along the edges, we felt that smell from gas in our noses. The driver stopped, opened the front and we looked at the weirdest kind of motor in a car I have ever seen. The driver just smiled and said: "No problem". With his teeth he quickly fixed one of the wires and we went on.
Later we sat in a car which spoke German to us: "Bremslichter defekt. Servolenkung defekt. Blinklichter defekt. Bremsen gestört. Notfallbremssystem aktiviert." The driver laughed and said kind of annoyed: "In Germany everything is defekt, kaputt and ausgefallen. In Georgia: No problem!"
One thing you gonna learn very quick in Georgia: Cars rule your life, either they kill you or you kill someone while cruising and car races. Thats a big thing in Georgia.
And Everything is driven what has four wheels (or not, I take that back) and a motor (handmade in Georgia).
Anyhow my first impression of Georgia was this crazy, smoggy, smelly, cold and dirty country. Sooner or later I noticed how wrong I was. Today, looking back, there is no country I miss as much as Georgia.
The moment we entered Georgia we were confronted with alcohol. They have Georgian beer, homemade wine and Chacha, the Georgian vodka."It's the magic drink of Georgia!", as one of our hitch hikers told us.
One thing good to know: When a Georgian says "drink" it is not really an offer or a question. It's an order. They get really mad at you if you don't accept.
So I ended up drinking fifteen chacha from the morning, when I stared entering a hitch hike car, until the evening, which I spent in a Restaurant to find food to get sober, but actually ended up meeting incredible nice Georgians who invited me for homage wine and more chacha. As you might assume I had a black out. The next morning when I met my friends from last night again, my friend Lana, a young and very smart girl, said: "No, Nora! I swear you will feel better after one more Chacha in the morning." No matter how long I argued I ended up in drinking one.
Well, even if I tried to avoid it, days like this continued happening to me and Max in Georgia.
Even Georgia has a rotten, empty countryside, but you will find very massive impressive buildings and hotels everywhere in cities - Russian style: opulent, big and a little crazy.
Tbilisi as the capital is also rotten but has an incredible creative, cool and beautiful young scene. To me cooler than the Hipster scene in Berlin. Coming from Berlin it feels like Prenzlauer Berg must have been like Tblisi years ago. Beautiful rotten buildings with great people and ideas who fill those old stones with life.
In summer everything happens in the backyards between the houses. Going to bars and pubs you will find yourself surrounded by very international and creative people and it happens that suddenly a bar turns into a dance floor.
The countryside of Georgia is extremely wide and empty. We met a German who is involved in projects improving the farming in Georgia, who told us that Georgia not even uses five percent of its capacity.
Indeed you will find a lot of imported goods in supermarkets, specially Russian goods. Eventhough the relationship to Russia is very complicated. Another friend of me in Tbilisi told me: "In my opinion every Georgian should hate the Russian according to what they have done to us, but we don't. We speak their language, watch their TV programs and listen their music. We make our money with them."
There is a modern government in Georgia and laws - but it seems that they count as much as they appear in the traffic. Compared to other ruling powers like the orthodox church (with a strong Russian impact) and many rebel groups (which still have an big impact in some/many regions) the power of the government is mostly ignored. When you speak to people of Georgia they tell you that probably the rules of church still count more than the ones in the government.
Nevertheless Georgians feel almost secure that they will become partner of the European Union, which according to a German living in Georgia for a long time, is not a good idea. The regulations of the European Union will destroy the little businesses which are just about to start in Georgia. A cheese manufacture in Georgia will not be able to exist in the way it works right now with EU regulations. Georgia needs to uses its own capacities more and focus on themselves before they open themselves for another regulating system, which stops them in building up own businesses and working for themselves.
Even though I would wish for more connection between this very vibrant young scene of people and Europe, but I don't wish the country the regulations of the EU.
It is still a common thing in Georgia that people stay with their parents until their married. (Of course there are more and more exceptions, specially in Tbilisi.)
Reasons for that are based on culture and the impact of the very strong Orthodox Church and on the economical situation, which still hasn't recovered from the Soviet Union.
A very big problem which results out of this situation is that girls tent to marry very young, have kids and get divorced, mostly without any financial support of men. Women rights and emancipation seem not to be a general case, even though Georgia appears as a modern society. A comment of the Patriot of Georgian Church gives a hint on the situation of women, when he said: "There should be no violence in families and women or your daughters also shouldn't be beaten." To me this was a thing I didn't knew to laugh or to cry about.
pending a some weeks in Georgia I felt more and more inspired by the people. They are punished by history and still they are full of history, culture and national pride. I am absolutely sure Georgia will make a great development, when they focus more on themselves. Moreover I see Tbilisi as a city which has the potential to become one day brighter and more beautiful than Paris.