Georgian drivers are an independent social and cultural group. Every car can become a taxi, every bigger car can become a marshrutka, every man can become a professional driver. All you need is attitude and goodwill.
If someone is travelling together with his wife and child, he can still be a taxi driver on duty. Moreover, you should know that it’s absolutely not obvious that if you don’t negotiate a price at the beginning of the ride, the hitchhiker-friendly driver won’t turn out to be a taxi in disguise. We ask the nice and socializing wife of the driver where they live. She names a town that we had passed 10 km earlier. “So why are you going to Sighnagi?” – I ask. “Are you visiting someone?” “But no!” – she responded, “We you taxi!”
Oh, all right… Spasiba, but we no lari… They stopped leaving half of their tires on the nearby pavement and were very disappointed as we left the car.
Driving a car is an attraction in itself, and particularly so in mountainous regions. The police officer who took us to the picturesque and oh-so-beautifully located Mestia just smiled when I was attempting to find the seat belt buckle. Listening to “you ma ha, you ma so”, we were climbing up the steep and just a tiny bit unpredictable roads of Svaneti at air-traffic speed.
Indisputably, the absolute right-of-way is given to cows on Georgian roads. The cows move gracefully, peacefully, majestically and numerously, not paying too much attention to the surrounding sound of honking, just as if they knew that running them over wasn’t in the best interest of the drivers. I’m sorry, did I miss something? Is it India already?