Tbilisi, Georgia: Tips for Newbies

When I lived in Chicago about ten years ago, I remember seeing advertisements for U.S. citizens to move to Georgia and teach English for $300/month. I laughed at those ads because considering the easy criteria, they weren’t exactly attracting the “cream of the crop” from the USA. Still, it was an ambitious government program to help make Georgia more competitive worldwide. That program started back in 2010. Now, the capital, Tbilisi is a thriving city full of old and modern architecture, high-end malls and thift stores, khinkali and caviar. Tbilisi has everything for you.

Now, I read I should be on my guard as a Black woman. I’ve read about some horrible experiences here. As of today, I’ve only dealt with one rude ass taxi driver with whom I had to yell back at because of a misunderstanding about the fare. Needless to say, I won. It had nothing to do with color.

I will say this and it pisses me off no matter where I go. Not all skinfolk is kinfolk. Brotha/Sista- We are the ONLY ones in this place and you’re purposely ignoring me and avoiding eye contact of any kind? Wow! Just wow. Sorry, but you’re not the only one in the village. Get over it.

A few things to know if you plan to come here, so your transition will be smooth.

  1. Entry to Georgia.

U.S. citizens get a one year visa and you are allowed to work remotely for a company outside Georgia! At the time of writing this, Georgia requires a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of your flight. After arrival, you’ll need to take another PCR test within your first three days in Tbilisi. I recommend Med Diagnostics. They will come to your home and conduct the test for 90 Lari ($29 USD). They will even accept a debit payment at home!

This country will soon only admit vaccinated foreigners. It will go into effect on December 1. In all honesty, I can’t keep up with the changing regulations. Find more information here.

Keep in mind, the country will require a green passport for entry to gyms, malls, and other such places! If you come, you can get vaccinated for free once you’ve stayed in the country for three months. I certainly don’t want to wait three months to be able to go to certain places, so I’m trying to see if it’s possible to get vaccinated sooner if I pay. I’ll let you know what I find.

2. Apps That Will Make Your Life Easier.

I HIGHLY recommend Wolt & Glovo for food delivery. No funny business with my debit card payments and the drivers are polite. I always give a 10% tip, especially during cold weather. You can even order produce and items from the pharmacy!!!!

Then there’s Bolt. Be aware, the fare CAN CHANGE while you are in a Bolt taxi! This angered me a bit as it led to an unsavory experience with a Bolt driver. I like to prepare my money before getting into a taxi, so what’s the point if the fare changes while I’m in it? I might as well take a taxi in the street! My recommendation for a taxi app is Yandex. So far, the fare remains the same throughout my rides with Yandex.

3. Money.

If you’re bringing some cash then the money changers are great! No tricks with the hands like in Bali. They give the latest rate. It’s also super easy to get cash from ATMS. I was charged no fees when using TBC ATMS with my US debit card.

Debit cards are accepted everywhere except in thrift stores or local produce stands. Bring cash for them.

4. Get lost!

Tbilisi is a beautiful city. I especially loved the street art…

Walking around Tbilisi…

Seriously…I love walking around this city. There’s always something interesting to see.

The food and wine of Georgia deserves it’s own post, but I’m loving the khinkali (dumplings) here! They also have vegetarian options with cheese or mushrooms. Nom. Nom. In case you didn’t know, Georgians have been making wine since 6,000 B.C. Go on and have a glass. Visit a winery. Just don’t become a wino. hehe

But if you become a wino…They’ve got Sex on the Beach…in a can!

Until next time…Thank you for the support!

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