Thursday, April 28, 2011


Another old Fort, although these usually don't lose their appeal.

So I just got off a marshrutka in Tbilisi and now I'm waiting around to take a plane to Poland for a week-long vacation, which is coming right on the heels of my Easter trip to Yerevan (I have a seven hour layover in Prague tomorrow morning, during which I expect to write some things on Armenia and the not-forgotten Vietnam post). Why in the world should I be complaining?

Because my marshrutka was the ride from hell: nut job driver who looked exactly like the kind of Georgian man I've come to despise (fat, scowling, and carrying himself with an unwarranted sense of accomplishment); the marshrutka music that blasted the entire four hours (if you've never heard marshrutka music, you're one lucky bastard. It's a 30-year smoker belting out a love song behind digital music) that probably caused haring damage to the five under-four-year-old children sitting in their parents' laps; and then the seven times I saw someone throw an empty Nabeglavi, Fanta, or Coke bottle out of the window onto the side of the road.

I got off that marshrutka thinking, I only just came back to Georgia after a short foreign vacation, so why is it that I can't wait to leave again? What it comes down to is the love/hate feeling I've encountered over the past few months, where there are certain aspects of Georgian society and culture that I still adore, while there are others that I once found novel but now find only aggravating beyond belief.

I've never been in a foreign culture for this long, so I'm not used to the roller coaster ride one's emotions tend to follow. But I was told over and over again (as I mentioned in my last post) about how you'll love it, then grow bored, but as time winds down you'll love it again. For me, it's been a lot more complicated.

I promise not to let anything too harsh come out in these last two months, as I'm still a guest in Georgia. Plus, as mentioned, there are still instances from time to time that remind me of why I still think this place is so unique. I also know that when my sister comes (she is visiting for ten days in late May, super excited about that), her new set of eyes should help me re-realize why I fell in love with Georgia in the first place.

This is a heavy handed topic that I'd rather wait until later to tackle, but I also think it helps explain why I've been having so much trouble consistently posting. For every hilarious observation (the Georgian man squat in which men sit legs crouched with their arms resting on knees and wrists slanting upwards; they can stay in this position for hours) I also want to drive a steak through my skull when I'm waiting in line to use an ATM.

Maybe it was just the marshrutka ride that made me want to vent, but I don't ever want to hold back here, no matter what the readers may want. I still love Georgia and am grateful for their hospitality and for giving me the opportunity to teach, but every now and then I just need to scream what the fuck...

It all comes back to Bandza though, and I do love my village


  1. Max, please continue to post without holding back. It's the only way those of us who will probably never visit most of the place you are spending time get to learn about them up close and personal.

    It also reminds me of Stephanie whenever you say “WHAT THE FUCK”

    Travel safe!!

  2. I'm Georgian but I honestly understand your anger towards marshutka drivers, their way of driving and their attitudes in general.

    I also hate when people are throwing all kind of garbage from windows or while walking, it really sucks, and I'm really happy with the new laws according which such people will be fined and quite generously, I greatly hope these laws will be active not only in Tbilisi but in all Georgian regions.

    In fact, there are lots of things that should be cared about and I think Georgia can step by step achieve better standards, but people should be motivated, without their desire for better life, ALL IS LOST!

    P.S. you are writing about your forked attitude towards Georgia. what can you do? Nothing...It's Georgia with all its pros and cons... You may Love and Hate it at the same time...:)