Nine things that surprise a foreigner in Georgia

After living in Tbilisi for a couple of months, I was asked by JAM News to write about the things, that surprised me in Georgia. So here are the nine things that came first to my mind.

Police cars
It’s a little bit confusing for a foreigner that police cars go always with the flashing blue light. I’m used to that police only use it, when something is up and they have to cross fast. In Georgia it’s normal – even if nothing is happening. If something urgent comes up the police will additionally use their siren or their microphone to tell everybody to get out their way.

Police Cars

Steering wheel in cars
Why are in some cars the steering wheels on the right side? In countries, where cars drive on the left, the steering wheel is on the right side. And vice-versa in countries, where cars drive on the right side. In Georgia you drive on the right side, but you have both sorts of cars.

Steeringwheel I

Hospitality
It’s a very pleasant experience, when Georgians act hostpitable to a stranger. This is something I don’t know in this extent from my home country. Whether it is the old lady in a village, who supplies you with homemade cheese and wine before starting the hiking trip or the taxi driver, who wants to give you a ride from the airport to the city for 35 Lari and decides after some talking and sharing cigarettes to take you for 20 Lari and gives you his phone number, just in case you want to taste something of his homemade wine.

Drinking Culture
Every nation, who has their own national drink and some customs related to drinking, should be proud of it. Georgians have their wine and Chacha. I really like the Georgian way of making toasts and connecting with others. But there are also customs I can’t understand: how drunken you have to be, to come up with the idea to grab a table with your teeth??

Drinking Culture

Plastic bags
It is incredible how many plastic bags are used in Georgia. I have the impression I’m the only one in a supermarket, who puts the products in a bag, which I brought for this very reason with me. Of course it’s nice to get a bag for free if you forget your bag, but sometimes the use is totally exagerrated. Why do you need a plastic bag if you purchase only one item? If you carry the item in your hands or a plastic bag with the item inside, is pretty much the same.

Plastic Bags

Environment
I have the impression, that in Georgia not many people care about the environment. Even outside the city in a beautiful landscape you can find so many waste. And the city of Tbilisi is so polluted, because everybody goes by car or bus. Why was the tram line traffic stopped? Trams are a cheap and environmentally friendly way of transport compared to bussed. Why don’t people use more bikes, which would be not only environmentally friendly, but also healthy?

Environment

Shorts
Even during hot days (and there are a lot in Georgia) men wear long trousers and jeans. Why they don’t prefer to wear shorts during the heat?

Shorts I

Crossing yourself
The majority of the Georgian society is very religious. It’s pretty normal, that people are going to church, praying or fasting before important religious holidays. But I was astonished that people cross themselves twice when they pass a church or a monastery, even if they’re sitting in a bus and the church building is far away.

Crossing Yourself

Broomsticks
Germans are supposed to be hard and disciplined workers, but I think they are lazy, that’s why they try to work efficiently in order to work less in the end. With this thought in mind, it’s incomprehensible why in Georgia most of the broomsticks are small and short. It takes longer to clean and you will ruin your back in the longterm.

Broomstick I

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