“It’s Georgia…” and It’s Ridiculous

When things don’t go as you would expect here, there is often heard the phrase: “It’s Georgia…” This line tries to explain away nearly any problem you may find in Georgia. It could be said, the standards of service and care are currently experiencing some “technical difficulties” as a developing nation, so please bear with us. Georgia is a really lovely place with wonderful people that are eager to please when able. But change is hard and here are 10 likely growing pains that may leave you muttering, “It’s Georgia…”

A “Quick” Meal

Photo Source: travelwithpedro.com

Unless you go to a fast food or franchise restaurant with an assembly line approach to serving both you and your meal, prepare to wait for your waiter and everything else that follows. Ukats’ravad is Georgian for “pardon me” and needs to be said loudly and frequently from your table to catch the attention of your server at every turn. They don’t expect tips and are generally paid poorly, therefore they are often left unmotivated to serve you or anticipate your needs. The kitchen is often slow at getting orders out and they will probably arrive to your table in an unexpected fashion: for example, your meal is served and your tablemates must wait awkward!

Getting Cash in the ATM

Occasionally a trip to get money will lead you on a hike to a different location. Why? The machine is simply empty or doesn’t have enough to fulfill your request. The worse part is that the message on the display screen will often be unclear as to what the problem is, leaving you wandering way, perplexed and empty handed

We’ll Take the Car, It’s Faster

Photo Credit: Badri Vadachkoria

Maybe, maybe not. Traffic in Tbilisi has gotten worse over the past few years. Roads are often jammed during rush hour. Even after finally arriving to your destination the next problem is where to park the car. Parking in the city is often as bad as the traffic on the roads. The metro might get you there faster if you are traveling along its service line. A taxi might be better than driving yourself and and will keep you from wasting 15 minutes looking for parking.

Non-Utilitarian Utilities

It is common to lose electricity or water service without notice here. The country’s old, unkempt infrastructure leads to frequent breaks and repairs which sometimes last for hours or days. Even making a utility payment slightly late can cause you to experience an outage often followed by a significant delay in getting your service restored once you’ve paid.

Q’vualapari Gesmis

Photo Source: cbw.ge

Just because someone can speak the same language as you doesn’t mean that they will be proficient in it or “understand everything” you say.

“For You, a Special Price!”

A Georgian accordion player entertains tourists at an Orthodox monastery near Tbilisi.
Photo Source: globalatlanta.com

If you are a foreigner and perceived to have more money than the average local person, be prepared to be asked to pay more simply because you are able to afford it. Unmetered taxis, restaurants, and anything haggled over are common offenders.


Thinking Outside The Lines

Photo Source: georgiatoday.ge

One Georgian joke goes like this: Someone walks up to the head of the line and asks, “Are you the first here?” The other responds, “Yes”. The newcomer then says, “Good, then you are behind me.”  Unspoken, this happens anywhere there are no ropes or tickets issued for a queue. The white lines painted on the road cannot contain a Georgian driver as he makes his own, new lane outside the official one or jump ahead of bogged traffic and proceed to drive as far ahead as can possible before threatening a head-on collision.

monkey see, monkey do


Photo Source: transparency.ge

Just because you see other cars parked up on the sidewalk or outside designated areas doesn’t mean it is legal to do so. However if one car parks creatively, it becomes a magnet that attracts others do the same. Parking wardens patrol the city and are quick to ticket cars left where parking is not permitted (a fine that is < 20 Lari). Sidewalks and narrow streets have become difficult to navigate because drivers cram their cars onto any open brick of pavement, regardless of where it is.

“See You in an Hour” (or Six)

Photo Source: independent.co.uk

Technically, an hour here contains 60 minutes like everywhere else in the world. However, a Georgian experiences things in a time warp that leaves you wondering what’s keeping your friend from arriving upon an agreed time. It’s your perception of time, not their intention, and about being late that becomes your problem. Everything works on a GMT clock here; Georgia Maybe Time.

What’s a Little Money Between Friends?

Photo Source: pexels.com

This is another example of perception, not intention. The money will be returned when it’s convenient and only if everything goes well for them. Otherwise, consider it an unsecured loan, gambling on the equity of your friendship. Any loan is a risk of seeing neither your money nor the friend ever again.


2017-01-20T23:22:42+00:00 November 27th, 2016|