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Updated: Mar 6, 2021

What has really stunted proper planning for a pandemic is the whole politicization of doing anything. Death rates are high enough for most people to have abandoned their belief in the covid being a hoax, but there still remains difficulties on what to do with it. People seem to have fallen into two extreme camps with little room for public negotiation: be overly cautious or throw all caution to the wind. Masks and lockdowns have both had proven efficacy against the spread, but lockdowns have also been proven to be lethal to economies and livelihoods. It shouldn’t be the case of arguing no lockdowns versus full lockdowns – which seems to be the crux of most arguments – the arguments should be focused around what aspects of lockdowns are most effective and for what periods of time. There should also be more discussion on what can be done by a society to avoid them.

The first mistake of the government, and here I’m specifically referring to the American CDC, was when they posted a certain set of advice, which wasn’t mistaken, but was misleading, and ended up spiraling out of control and stirring up all sorts of strange brews of misunderstanding (they have since updated their guide given newly available research). What was the advice? They said that masks don’t do much to protect you, and that only the N95 was of any real use. While this is true, it didn’t discuss the societal advantage of masks: They help prevent others from getting what you have, and thus reduce the likelihood of community spread. And in this use, non-medical N95s are actually detrimental – they protect the wearer, but don’t filter anything that the wearer breaths out. So if the wearer is infected, they can still infect everyone else around them. In must be understood that masks do different things for different purposes, and that the two main masks discussed, surgical/cloth masks and N95s, work at cross purposes.

Covid at a parade. Looks like New York? Maybe London.

Another error of the general public is the obsession only over death rates and considering nothing else. They say, “Well, the flu kills at almost the same rate.” Of course, in general there’s no way to know how many people have or have had covid or the flu, so we have no idea the reality of the rates. But we do know the absolute numbers and the rates in society at large. Covid hospitalizes people at a waaay higher rate, and secondly, the deaths and hospitalizations we see from covid are with lockdowns and other precautions. Without those precautions in place, it’s hard to imagine the full extent that it could have caused. The flu, in comparison, is now almost non-existent.

People look to Sweden as a case of managing the illness without lockdowns – people who usually hate the use of the Swedish medical system juxtaposed against the American system – and for one, they had a lot of deaths, and for two, they have an advanced medical system that is more capable of dealing with public crises. They also have a public who are willing to sacrifice and scale back a bit for the good of the community. Even so, it hasn't been looking good for them for a while and their economy was impacted already in such a way almost as if they had had lockdowns, and now they're instituting many of the same measures as other European countries, given their staggering failure as compared to their neighbors.

Sweden feeling ashamed for not attempting to stop covid deaths

Finally, there’s a huge preoccupation with death, when that’s not even the worst thing about covid. Yes, it can kill you, but it also knocks people out of the picture for large periods of time, in a great deal of pain, and for the majority of people who are hospitalized (and many even with mild symptoms), seems to cause long term damage.

Deaths are also not necessarily the number we should be looking at. Hospital beds might be a much better metric to be cautious of. Hospital beds determine not only how well we can treat people with advanced cases and save their lives, but also how well we can handle all the other illnesses and emergencies that are still happening. One of the early errors of communication was around this too. As hospitals were preparing covid wards early, trying to beat the game, postponing other surgeries and such, people were running around taking pictures of empty hospitals, spreading them on TikTok and YouTube, and building up conspiracy stories ala QAnon. But the reality here is that the brunt of the pandemic hadn’t hit yet and the hospitals were simply preparing. There are still empty hospital spaces – places not for covid patients, and that are empty because doctors have been reassigned or the hospitals are running on minimum shifts to minimize the risk of covid spread.

Here's a video of me making fun of early conspiracy theories. I decided to stop making those videos because too many people were taking me seriously. I suppose Colbert had that problem too in his early days. The difference is, he stuck with it and is madly successful and I threw in the towel after 3 episodes and am eagerly waiting my 600 dollar stimulus check...

Lockdowns in Georgia

Here in the country of Georgia, we’ve had to go through two lockdowns thus far. The first was probably the hardest and most immediate. The country shut down the borders and snapped all sorts of precautions in place, some sensible, others maybe not so much – but as it was an all new situation, this can be excused. But they were effective and did what they were meant to do: They bought some time for Georgia to delay becoming smacked upside the country’s immune system with a disease that packs hospitals like nobody’s business. And with an already crippled medical system and an aging population that is not in peak shape, this was clearly a dangerous disease and time was of the essence.

People were mostly understanding about the initial lockdown. They were skeptical at first, and there was a row with the Church during Easter, but all in all it was handled quite well. Infection rates were some of the lowest in the world. People accepted (for a while) social distancing and mask wearing, and relinquished going to parties.

The beginning was handled so well that when lockdowns were lifted and there was still no real pandemic in sight, Georgia made like George W. Bush on an aircraft carrier: They declared a pre-emptive victory with their pre-emptive strike. Rather than the lockdown, it was this attitude of the government that I believe was the most damaging. The government kept saying they’d reopen the borders (and the economy) next month, then next month, then next month. The same optimism also was felt among the people locally, and we had a summer of domestic tourism and partying.

Georgian Prime Minister declaring victory over coronavirus. Medical advisors left and right.

This was in my opinion somewhat okay. It gave a lifeline to the economy, kept people in good spirits, and it was a minimum risk as long as such parties were outside. But then there were also fairly open borders to certain European countries that were not managing their risks well, and no doubt vacationers from those places, together with truck drivers from Turkey and Russia, importing cases. Combined with the lax attitude of the populace, it was bound to spread into the nightmare scenario of November.

The problem with the government attitude was singular: People trusted in the government optimism. They took out loans, they expanded their businesses, they partied, they spent a lot of money in preparation for what they expected to be a surge in tourists (and income). But covid, as most experts expected, never went away, and was only to get worse. The borders never opened, and people who weren’t in debt before, were now strangling in arrears. The banks were most generous before with delaying mortgages and loan repayments during the first lockdown and are now attempting similar measures but on a smaller scale. The government, to its credit, has set up yet another wave of relief measures targeted at a lot of these problem areas, specifically the tourism and hospitality sectors.


Stories that include people dying horrific deaths in Georgia. Sometimes surviving. And also stories that happen in other countries! Get your copy today.


The government stalled on a new wave of lockdowns. They swore up and down before the elections they wouldn’t have new lockdowns. But after the elections, and after the hospital beds were filling up, they came full force into a situation they couldn’t control. People had pandemic-fatigue now. And with previously low risks, they consciously couldn’t balance taking precautions with the new surge in numbers. People that I observed were sticking their noses out of their masks, running up and down metro cars without masks, lines had deteriorated to their pre-covid melees, and so on.

Do lockdowns work

Here’s the thing, lockdowns do work. It’s ultimately about restricting contact between people. Obviously they work. "But what about the XXX amount of people that died during the lockdown?" What about the XXX amount more who would have died without it? It's unfortunately a variable we don't know, as such an experiment is far too costly to conduct by regular means. Lockdown measures also mean temporarily damaging the economy (arguably long term, definitely short term), especially if the banks don’t play along. The lockdown shouldn’t be seen lightly (and I don’t think it really is), but as a last ditch effort to preserve the medical system and make sure there are available beds. Until then, all other options should be exhausted by society and people.

But just take the stats in Georgia. The lockdown – as flawed as it might be, has clearly made a massive impact. With increased and somewhat consistent testing, you can see the real results yourself:

Lockdowns began in November, source: Worldometers

People need to be aware there’s a pandemic and understand those implications. That means wearing masks and being responsible about distancing on your own. But people – Americans and those everywhere – absolutely can’t do that. We’ve got stuff to protest, beers to drink, conspiracies to believe, and spitting in people’s faces to do.

Man proving masks work with fire, because why not.

I would prefer no lockdowns and no government interference. But that’s in a perfect world where people are responsible for each others health. Where people are not, then the government has to intervene, there’s no way around it. So we have to ask, in what ways should they intervene, and what ways are unnecessary? How do we save the most lives, speaking both of health and economically?

Some thoughts on what's effective/ineffective (all my opinion, of course):

1. Curfews are somewhat detrimental. During a pandemic, my logic says that you want to spread people out, and that means both in the sense of not only place, but of time. Push grocery stores to be 24 hours or to expand their availability, so that less people are packed in one place at one time. When curfews are implemented, people often wait until the last moment to do something. And when everyone does that…

2. As much of a barfly as I am/used to be, and also as a live musician, I hate to admit that closing bars and restaurants seems to be a good idea, especially in colder months. In a bar, people are standing, packed, mixing together in different groups. Restaurants less so, so they can be delayed a bit. During warmer months, this is a bit more arguable.

3. Closing schools makes sense. But do they have to be on distance learning the entire semester, or can they be snapped shut and shifted to distance learning when a case is discovered and opened again after two weeks?

4. They had a three person to a car scheme for a while. Which meant households were impossible to move and go to the park or wherever. Seems silly. They ended it, probably because the people in power have households larger than two people (I'm including their driver, because they're rich).

5. Only half the city has ready access to decent parks, which in a city that’s mostly urban apartments, is devastating to mental health. Especially when the metro shuts down.

6. One economic domino chain is like this: A bar or restaurant is forced to close/hit with far less clientele. They can't pay rent. The landlord is sympathetic, but owes a mortgage on the property. If banks here could carryover those debts of landlords and bars/restaurants, this would be a huge boon to the post-covid recovery. The same here goes for house rentals.

7. I think the thing that worked the most in this lockdown was shutting down the metro. This is where the most people were at any single period of time, with a large exchange of people on top of that. It’s beyond any doubt that shutting it down was what triggered the greatest benefit. Which sucks, because I’m huge into public transit, but it is what it is. But how to transport workers, customers, and so on without a transit system?

Girl waiting long time for metro to start running again

In all parts of the plan, flexibility, timeliness, and focus should be three main parts. What is necessary and what works for one neighborhood or city might not be the same for another. Adaptation on different scenarios is required.

Weird effects of the lockdowns

When I worked with the US Department of Labor, I noticed something peculiar. Regulations had a way of creating jobs. First there were obviously the jobs of the regulators themselves, but then there were the private counterparts. The lawyers, HR staff, and consultants who were all needed to make sure the companies were in compliance. Of course, regulations do bring up new hardships for companies, but in general, if an economy is allowed to be flexible enough, people and businesses adapt. Or they fail.

The lockdowns aren’t kill-alls. They change the economic reality, and enterprising people change with it. Malls have been shut down a few times now, and people have in general switched to more online shopping. Big businesses like H&M inexplicably don’t have functional online shopping in Georgia and often rely on Facebook (fine for small businesses, but for multinational corporations? C'mon!). Internet webpages are pretty rarely utilized and when they are, often horrifically so. But for some reason, Georgians love utilizing Facebook for shopping. You find the post, message the seller, and then transfer the money via banking app. Small stores have sprung up left and right, from just a girl doing crafts, to a guy making wine bottles, and so on. I haven’t seen a study on this, but I wouldn’t be surprised that if in Georgia at least, small businesses of the type that have been willing to work by delivery, might have grown and been more successful in 2020 than big businesses and than previously.


There's nothing else to do, so why not?:


Another sector of the economy that has boomed are the delivery and taxi sectors. The post office is somewhat underdeveloped and underused, so courier and delivery services have really skyrocketed, propelling Tbilisi into an almost fully modern society, where you can order from groceries, restaurants, plumbers, electricians and so on via apps (and Facebook, obviously).

Covid is serious guys. Don't buy into the 5G freemasonry lizard people-eating pedophile Covid-is-a-hoax arguments out there. I've known more than enough people to have died before their time. So please, stay safe, and respect your neighbors. Don't be the Samaritans Jesus expected, be the Samaritans He was surprised by.

The New Year has come, for many marking the end to the difficult year that was 2020 and a gateway into some magical temporal realm of 2021. A world where Trump peacefully steps aside taking his cave troll minions with him, Covid quietly goes away, the economy springs back up after being pushed under by lockdowns, and the clock rewinds to better times. Only those better times – a somewhat bubbly recovery from the Great Recession and a slew of social issues that were swept under the rug – were only a prologue to the grand shitstorm that has been the last four years, so I’m not so sure a Great Rewind is what we need.

But whatever. Ain’t my business. I live as an outsider. A place where I can rest back on my outsiderness and slide away from any responsibility that society would like to shoulder on me. Georgians don’t like it when foreigners complain, and fine. No complaints = no responsibility. I can live a quiet life, relatively free from the familial, economic, and ethnic struggles that other locals have to deal with on a daily basis.


Covid didn’t affect me personally, thank goodness. I know several people here and abroad who lost parents, and also suffered the long form themselves (and still suffer from it). Sounds nasty. I know a lot of people who just felt it was a cold, or it hit like a vicious, month-long flu, and another guy who just couldn’t taste stuff for two weeks and that was it. Never mind all the people who lost their jobs and businesses, since most of the people I know are in the service industry.

2020 is a favorite bar since forced to move, and an empty stage waiting for me to play

We were extra careful in our distancing, having a child and living alone as we do, so we were never inflicted ourselves. Despite how “safe” it is for children, it was a new and madly contagious virus that doctors and scientists knew jack all about, so better safe than sorry when risking my young one’s life.

My parents were set to come in March, but with the lockdown, that plan was scuttered. Turkish canceled their flights and my folks got a refund. Hopefully, they’ll be able to come this year. But again, better safe than sorry. They’re older folks, my dad has had his issues with cancer, my mom was a lifelong smoker. Why risk it? We can wait a year, or even two if necessary. Technology now makes “visiting” so much easier anyway, and even with Covid my baby is probably spending more time with his grandparents than otherwise.


I’ll be honest, 2020 was a great year for outsiders and introverts. For any used to isolation, the lockdowns and distancing weren’t such a big things. A gift even. A reason not to go out. A reason to focus on projects that you can do at home, that you’ve been wanting to spend time doing for a long time. My biggest sacrifice was that I had to give up boozing so much – something I was forced to deal with having a baby anyway. Coming home after late nights drunk and tending to a hangover the next morning with a baby crawling and running around your head certainly doesn’t feel right. It’s certainly a thing single, childless people don’t understand, but oh well.

Of course, the most obvious way that Covid has been a kind of blessing is that for my baby, Vato, he's been able to have both of his parents home at all times for the first year of his life. As stressful as managing his temper tantrums over wanting coffee cups he's not allowed to play with, it no doubt has its positive impacts on the boy. And for us of course, too, as we've both been around to watch his first crawling, his first steps, his first words ("Deda", which is "Mom" in Georgian, and "duck" in English – yet no mention of Dad, but so it goes).

It was just before the first wave of lockdowns when the greatest stroke of luck hit me. A writing job practically landed into my lap and I was able to free myself of classroom time. The music and sound design company, Dynamedion, hired me to do copy and editing for one of their brands, I now write all the blogs there, and help with the copy of all their other brands as well. And it’s been a great job. Great team, great product, everything is great. I’ve been able to spend time doing what I love: writing and researching about music and film production.

The second big thing to happen to me was getting involved in a short story collection called Eurasian Monsters. It’s the finale in a series about folk monsters from different countries of the world. My story takes place in Georgia, focusing on two Georgian creatures: the kudiani and Rokap. Check that out from Amazon (link to the left).

I’ve been getting a lot better at music production, and decided that now it was time to release another album. This one is primarily psytrance and drumnbass, but with some random entries as well. My main electronic music project these days is Avgust1ne, and you can check out the tracks on Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes.

A taste from the album:

My live music has obviously taken a hit. And I'm not sure it's telling that I'm more successful recording things at home than playing live. Whatever. I can't wait to get back into bars playing live gigs, once I can be sure it doesn't put my kid or family in any kind of danger.

The final blessing of 2020, came as in an operation long in the process. I met Mark Rein-Hagen, the guy behind the games Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse a long time ago. He had coincidentally enough moved to Tbilisi about a decade and a half before, and we ended up having a lot of shared friends. A couple of years back, he dropped to me the idea of creating another game world. A couple of gaming sessions and two years later, he had a full team working on it, and I came back in on the fiction side of things. Now I’ll be teaming up with him for the first series of LostLorn novels. Check out their Patreon page here.


The economy is inevitably changing. If anything, this pandemic situation, and future ones, are going to push us into the future. Things will be reshuffled. For better or worse. We’ll be more reliant on technology, which means we’re going to see another technological revolution coming before us. With Musk’s Internet satellites going into place and Zoom meetings happening all over the globe, the pandemic didn’t just isolate us, it has also broken down many borders and opened up a slew of new opportunities for those willing to see them and take them.

There is obviously a great deal of calamity lurking in the corners. We’ve never seen a concentration of wealth to this degree, and historically, concentrations of wealth are direct preludes to political instability – which I think if anyone looks at the governments around the world, that’s pretty clear. But hopefully we can collectively weather that storm (or ride it, depending on what’s necessary).

Anyway, looking ahead, we shouldn't remember all things behind us only for the bad. Find the good things that happened over last year, and remember it for that. Good things are among us, you only have to open your eyes to see them. And yes, I absolutely say that from a seat of privilege: Good things have indeed been all around me this year. But I can share and recognize them precisely because I've chosen to see them and to focus on them.


I’ll still have some element of travel blogs. But as my own interests and successes are greatly expanding outside of travel, I’d rather just include all of that and some random life observations. I’ve dropped my personal webpage in favor of my Saint Facetious handle, which has stuck with me for over ten years and it’ll continue it on as my personal brand. So expect some changes in that regards.

As ever, you can keep following me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or sign up on my email list below. Have a great 2021 in any and every way you can!

Before getting a car, I found driving here a bit intimidating. Georgians are typically slow to everything. They’re slow to start, they’re slow to get moving, they’re slow walking. But as soon as they get in the car man, they go nuts. Nothing’s going to stop them, as though the world were blowing up behind them and they haven’t got enough jet fuel or gears to outrun the flames.

Add on to that the inability for the average Georgian to follow rules and lines, and you’ve got a real formula one for disaster. With all these cars zigzagging through each other, one wonders how you don’t see more wrecks on the road. “Georgians are the best drivers in the world,” Gio tells me after saying ten other things they’re the best at. “They say if you can drive in Georgia, you can drive anywhere!” That said, if you drive like Georgians drive, you can also get life sentences in prison in most countries.

My first waking up experience with the inanity that is Georgian driving was about 10 years ago in the countryside. I was hitchhiking with a friend. A kind fellow picked us up and brought us to his village (not where we were going). “Just quick stop!” he said. The stop was at his friend’s shop, where he bought three beers, one for me, my friend, and of course him. “Cheers!” he said, cracking it open, turning the ignition and speeding on down the sharp turns of the valley road.


Rent a car from someone I trust, Family Cars Georgia


Moments later, a policeman pulled us over. The man got out of his car, set the bottle on the roof, and then went to the cop, yelling him down in the middle of the street. After a stream of curses and some shared laughs, he came back to the car, grabbed his beer bottle, and sat back down, speeding off. “The guy says I was drunk driving! And he doesn’t believe me I’m not drunk!”

“Did you get a ticket?”

“No, of course not, that was Tornike, my wife’s second cousin.”

Since then it’s gotten a lot better. They’ve really cracked down on drunk driving, and they’ve installed a million traffic cameras. One lady in a class of mine 4 years back recalled, “Yes, they’re very funny, my husband gets a ticket for 20 lari every day.” She added, without a hint of irony, “He’s a very good driver. He wants to be a taxi driver in New York.”


Or don't drive, just walk. And while you're at it, listen to my sexy voice tell you about buildings on your phone with VoiceMap:


Drivers have improved. And since I’ve been driving, it actually seems to me that Georgian drivers want to drive in a fashion that’s not suicidal, but in large part can’t because of bad city design. But I’ll get to that.

I'm not going to say Georgia has the worst driving. It doesn't. I'd say it's in the middle. It is what it is.

Now, without much further ado my...

List of astonishing things about driving in Georgia:

1. Lanes. Sometimes they exist, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes they inexplicably disappear. Not that it matters, because few seem to know what they’re for. Georgians though have admittedly gotten better driving with lanes. When I first got here, they seemed to be only like suggestion markers. Now, they either drive between them or on them, only rarely exploring the between-regions of the two theories of their function. The worst part though is that the city road building guys often seem to forget to put down lines after they pave a road, and only get around to doing so a year later. Even on major thoroughfares, like the embankment road, which is practically a highway. Actually, there’s still a stretch without lines. I’ve come to enjoy this though, as it makes driving a lot more fluid. You can go wherever the heck you want, and let everyone else deal with your direction.

When they do remember to paint the lines, it’s not always for the best. They have an odd habit of taking one away there, adding in another over there, and really making a confused mess of things at intersections.

Lanes are for bad drivers. Georgia has the best drivers!

That’s all well and good until you get to Kutaisi. Apparently, there’s a real paint shortage in Kutaisi, or maybe just nobody knows how to paint a road. But the huge avenues, which would in a normal city have 6 to 8 lanes, are unmarked free-for-alls. Until you get to a light, and the light has signs showing you the defined lanes, and low and behold, you’re in a turn lane! Surprise! And a cop is driving behind you!

2. Parking. Most Georgians park on sidewalks, behind park benches, in windows, in no parking zones, on pavements, on greenspace, in the middle of a street… really, they seem to go out of their way to park illegally and/or in the way. This is, again, partly the city’s fault. The city will only ticket you if it seems you’ve attempted and failed to legally park. But if it’s clear you made no attempt, the city will let it slide.

This used to bother me a lot more when I was merely a pedestrian, as one of the favorite spots for Georgians to park is on zebras. But once I understood this principle, it’s not so bad. Also there’s the problem that figuring out where to legally park is sometimes not so easy. I’ve seen a Parking sign back to back with a No Parking sign, or a No Parking sign over an area that’s clearly painted on the ground to park.

It’s getting better though. You can now pay through your banking app to park legally anywhere in the city, which I guess covers sidewalks and zebras.

3. Nobody cares. For instance, cutting people off is a thing here and nobody thinks twice of it. They’ll do it to you as soon as you let your guard down. And they might even drive slower after cutting you off, because eh, don’t care. Here’s the neat thing though, just as they don’t care when they cut you off, nobody really cares when you cut them off either. It gives you a little more flexibility in your own driving. Want to drive like a jackass? Go for it! Nobody cares.

4. Honking. They don’t honk because they care, they honk because you didn’t start moving before the light turned green. Also they honked to say hi to Gio, the marshrutka driver on the other side of traffic, and now the two marshrutka drivers are cutting everybody off so they can stop in the middle lanes (or where they might be) and have a chat. But hey, nobody cares (see number 3), so whatever.

5. Marshrutkas. These are the mean yellow minivans that Georgians try to legitimize and call “microbuses”, but us expats know how much BS that is, and no matter how much you call a giant pile of crap Jack, it doesn’t change the fact it’s still a giant pile of crap.

A pile of crap smells just as sweet by any other name. - William Shakespeare

A marshrutka can drop someone off whenever they want, and pick them up wherever they want. The only exception to this rule is on major roads, where they’re confined to only doing this at bus stops. That sounds cool. Saint, why do you hate that? Let me effing tell you.

What's that lady even doing? First, the marshrutka man prefers the leftmost lane. So whenever someone tells him to stop (there are no female marshrutka drivers, my gender policing friends), or he sees someone waving him down, he immediately swerves to the right and crosses two or three lanes, typically without looking, because again number 3.

Not only that, but the ass hats who use marshrutkas tend to choose the most inconvenient places to wave them down. The middle of an intersection? A place where there’s a pedestrian barrier along the pavement? An area where there’s a natural bottleneck? Yes, please! I can’t walk 10 meters to a better location that won’t cause a pain in the ass to the rest of the traffic, because well, number 3 also applies to pedestrians.

6. Zebras. It’s fun watching people try to figure out what these are for. Mostly people cross roads about 20 meters or less from a zebra. If they’re at a zebra with a light, they prefer crossing at red. This all doesn’t really matter anyway, because drivers also don’t have the slightest clue what a zebra is for, except they won’t honk at you as they swerve to speed by when you use one (they will honk at cars that stop at zebras, though).

Zebra use or lack thereof has really got me thinking that they really shouldn’t have just driving tests, but also pedestrian tests. And they should have more questions about zebras and less on how many oxen per cart are allowed to traverse a country road.

7. Speed bumps. They’re usually 20 years old and have worn into oblivion. But that doesn’t matter, because Georgians like to drive around them anyway. Apparently if only one wheel hits one, it won’t damage your shocks, but if both wheels go over one, it will annihilate them (unless of course you’re going fast enough).

8. Traffic circles. In the States or Europe, the traffic in the circle always has the right of way. In Georgia, it’s reversed, where the right of way is who’s entering the circle. Sometimes. Generally you have to look for the markings on the road. Or signs. Or just guess. Do your best to communicate with the other driver, because it’s likely they don’t know whose right of way it is either.

A big traffic circle. The rules change halfway through.

9. Left turns are anathema (in Tbilisi). They designed it so you can take lots of U-turns. They’re terrified of setting up traffic lights and letting people do left turns. Possibly because they know this would just make people go crazy, and also because everyone thinks they’re in Need For Speed 10: Tbilisi Drift. So where they can, they route people to turnabouts and so on rather than put up a light. And then when they do put up a light it doesn’t really make sense (Pushkin/Baratashvili anyone?).

10. Passing. People will pass you anywhere. Is there some room on the right? Is the room just a sidewalk or dirt shoulder? No problem! Is there an opposite lane with only a little oncoming traffic? No problem! Is there a sharp turn up ahead? No biggie. Are you on a highway onramp and trying to get to speed and watch for traffic on your left? Why not someone pass on your right? No problem! Don’t care!

11. The right lane of death. It’s bumpy. There are probably a lot of cars parked in it. People get out of those cars, they have birjas (groups of middle- to old-aged men standing around smoking and staring off into space) in the lane, sometimes a barbecue, sometimes a watermelon sale. You really don’t know what you’re going to run into in the right lane. So it’s better to stay one lane over. People will suddenly come up on your ass, 30 mph over the speed limit. Screw ‘em! They can drive around you into oncoming traffic. And they do.

And that’s all I’ve come up with for tonight. In general, it’s better than I make it out to be. Or worse, if you have high blood pressure. But don’t be intimidated. Once you’re driving, it’s actually remarkably easier, mainly because of the grand number 3.

No left turn into old town here, gotta do a U and then a right

12. Emergency vehicles. They drive with their lights on, at all times. During an emergency, they'll use their siren (called "honks"). This means that if you listen to your radio, or are a victim of the Doppler Effect, you likely won't know if they're approaching you at ludicrous speed. Or maybe they are and it's not an emergency. Who knows. This explains generally why everyone seems to not care about emergency vehicles.

Probably you have more. Add them in the comments! What’s your favorite thing about driving in Georgia?

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