Hot topic: What is not to like about Tbilisi and Georgia? What do I value living in the EU (esp. now with 2 babies)? Let’s make a top 10.
1. Stairs and uneven pavement
I guess you already heard it through the grapevine but Tbilisi is not exactly well suited for strollers, old people and people with disabilities.
But to be fair the other side of the medal is that people are really helpful, immediately offered to carry our stroller etc. In our country people are not so helpful.
2. Cost of living
Tbilisi turned from one of the cheapest cities to live into a city that is even more expensive than my country. This is especially true for high quality baby products because they are imported from the EU.
Rents are also crazy high because of the Ukraine conflict.
On the other hand Bolt taxis are relatively cheap and public transport is very cheap.
3. Pollution and traffic
Tbilisi has been facing air pollution problems due to the heavy traffic and the high number of old vehicles on the roads.
Also when you think of driving yourself then get ready for challenging situations where people drive in the middle of the road or traffic congestion esp. during rush hours. Maybe consider going with a bus instead. It is more safe.
4. No garbage separation
There is no garbage separation. There are big open containers alongside the road where people throw their garbage bags inside.
Everything is sold in plastic bags. You will end up with hundreds of them.
A least there is a car driving around to scavenge old metal:
5. It’s (still) a poor country
You can see it everywhere in Tbilisi, if you go into a side road you will see buildings that are almost crumbling down.
What this means is that basically everybody is desparate and will try to take advantage of you. For example I would not recommend to go without a taxi without asking how much the trip will cost or they will rip you off. Actually this was also a tactics of our clinic unfortunately. They usually did not tell how much something costs beforehand, only after the fact.
6. Unhealthy food
It is not so easy to eat healthy in Georgia. I did not see wholegrain bread anywhere. Predominantly they are selling white bread. Also Khachapuri is not really healthy.
7. It’s a macho society
In many ways Georgia is a very traditional society. There is a clear separation between gender.
On the other hand when I was with a baby – as a man – I got lots of respect from the Georgian men and lots of support from women because it is really unusual. In that regard being a traditional society and poor country is not necessarily always a bad thing.
But in the hospital I was not allowed to attend the birth, actually it was expected that I did not go inside the hospital and a suprise that I showed up at all. Georgian men usually wait in front of the hospital drinking and smoking which brings me to the next topic…
8. Smoking is (almost) everywhere
If you try to find a taxi that does not smell like an ashtray then good luck, even if you book Bolt Premium and even if there is a non smoking sign at the car door you will usually see a pack of cigarettes of the driver and smell cold smoke. Well you can always open the window and that’s what I usually did when I was with the babies.
Also in many restaurants there is smoking esp. if there is a downstairs area. Your only chance to be sure there is no smoking is to go to an expensive tourist restaurant.
9. Language barrier
Older people will usually speak more russian and also in the clinic it was sometimes difficult to communicate. Almost all the reports are in Georgian and because the alphabet is different it is more difficult to read. If you want a translation you will have to pay or get no translation at all.
And you are actually lucky if you get a medical report even in Georgian. We pissed everybody off at the clinic because we requested the original medical records which should be an easy task but took forever to get.
There seems to be a law that it is not allowed to sign and stamp english reports (or is it just an excuse?). But you can still use Google Lens. 🙂
10. Medical standard and social system
The health care system is not on par with the health care system in our country – but of course this is to be expected. I wrote a post about it. Basically what this means is if a doctor from Georgia wants to work in our country the education is not accepted, at least this is what my doctor from Armenia told me. They have to learn everything anew.
Also the social system is lacking, there is no support, it is more like in the US. At least this is what the embassy told me. (Correct me if I am wrong.) It is not uncommon for example to see women working throughout their pregnancy.
So as you can see Georgia is not perfect, esp. if you compare it to the European Union which it wants to be a part of eventually. It still has a long way to go.
But: Staying in a developing country like Georgia made us learn how to survive in harsh conditions with 2 babies. That’s why now in the EU with all the great public transport options etc. going out with the babies is like a walk in the park or piece of cake or whatever you want to call it. 😊
Did I not like it in Georgia? Well on the contrary, I really miss it! Please check out my upcoming post to understand why!