There are a few ways to get around including large coach type buses, trains, taxis, cars, and my personal favorite marshutkas. Marshutkas are small mini buses that travel all over the country and are definitely the most used transportation in Georgia. You can pick up a marshutka basically anywhere along side the rode, and even though they are only meant to fit 15 there have been times where I've seen 25 people packed in!
Me and the other three Samtredia girls took a quick trip to Batumi this past Saturday to get away for a night. We had interesting marshutka rides both ways. On our way there we got into a car accident. We were riding along and all of a sudden...BANG!! I'm not sure if it was our fault or not, but no one was hurt which is the most important thing. The car's complete front end was torn off, and our marshutka had a flat tire. We got lucky and were able to pick up another marshutka to Batumi within minutes. And since we were only 20 minutes away our 10 lari trip turned out to only be 2 laris!
On our way back to Samtredia on Sunday we were having a smooth ride until a little boy decided to throw up a half a kilo of berries on the floor a few inches from my feet. The driver pulled over, and the poor kid went outside to puke out another half a kilo. The rest of the trip the marshutka smelled faintly of berries and pee. I took a shower as soon as I got home.
Its really refreshing to take my 20 minute walk to school every morning. Its also relieving to not be driven. Georgians like to drive fast! My family's driver Dato, thinks he is apart of the Nascar as he speeds down the road with no sign of slowing down. No one ever wears seat belts so as were driving down a bumpy, non-paved road going 75 mph were also bouncing around like corn kernels being popped! I know that the government is starting to implement stricter rules on the main roads such as wearing seat belts, speeding, and dark windows, but it doesn't stop the townies from driving like maniacs!
When I first came to Georgia my family kept asking to look at my license. I thought it was only because it looked so different than theirs, but really it was because there aren't that many women drivers here. In my town I've rarely seen any at all. I guess it comes back to power and control, and a woman driving a car would just mean they could get away faster.
Sopho, a geography teacher at my school and Nana's daughter in law is learning how to drive. She is driving a car without a license and offered me a ride home the other day. I declined and said I love to walk (which I do!). I love the idea of more Georgian woman drivers, but I don't want to be the passenger car accident dummy either!