Tag Archives: georgia

The Rich-Mike Hitchhike Insight: Hitchhiking in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey & Greece

Azerbaijan is hard to judge because we didn’t really have to do anything because all our rides were arranged for us. This said, the mere fact that the staff in the service station in Baku went so far out of their way to help us, and then so did Charmin and Rafael, driving us all the way to the Georgian border, demonstrates the kind of altruism that facilitates hitchhiking.

Georgia was a touch more difficult, and there were times when we had to wait a long time to get anywhere. The myrid of roads exiting Tblisi made escape from the capital particularly difficult. The people that did pick us up though, despite appareances, were really helpful –especially Yurgen and Pesk who bartered the price of our hotel room down for us.

Turkey is right up there with the Orient. The people were friendly, accomodating and we were picked up many times –even when getting out of the huge capital city, usually the most arduous of tasks. The Koran states that good people should help wayfarers, and it’s a maxim that had been observed to a sometimes humbling degree throughout the Islamic countries we’d travelled through.

Despite being nextdoor to Turkey, Greece was impossible. We’d found what we deamed to be a great road, with all the traffic heading in our direction. The only people that helped us were foreign: a Russian, the BBC and an Albanian bus company. Someone told us that this aversion to hitchhikers is because they are associated with illegal immigrants trespassing the borders. The economic crisis in Greece has apparently ecacebated an already potent breed of xenopobia. The kebabs are fantastic though.

Azerbaijan Hitchhiking Rating:      af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15  (7/10)

Georgia Hitchhiking Rating:    af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15   (6/10)

Turkey Hitchhiking Rating:       af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 (8/10)

Greece Hitchhiking Rating: af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 (1/10)

Day 82-83: – “Tb-pissy…” – Tbilisi, Georgia

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“What’s the local drink?” Michael asked at a bar.

“Chacha,” was the reply

Michael looking at me, scratching his head in confusion.

“Did I say something funny or is he being sarcastic?”

“No, I think it’s the name of the drink,” I said, “Two Chacha please bar-keep!”

The barman poured out clear, slightly viscous liquor into two glasses. It was a volume of liquid that you find out too late is too much to fit in your mouth in one gulp, especially when combined with a surge of salvia your body forces into your mouth to combat the taste.

After I felt the liquid burn slowly down my throat, I swear it bypassed my stomach and surged through my veins and into my brain, just like as if I’d been administered a general aesthetic.

Before we knew it, we were clapping along to a couple that had started dancing to the jazz band. They were awesome. At one point, the man broke away from the women and performed a high kick, with a straight leg, right up to his head.

Dancing is different in this part of the world. It’s not like in the west, where people generally dance around with their mates until they’re drunk enough to approach other people. Here, as was the case in Azerbaijan, people go up in couples and dance together. I looked Michael.

“Fancy a da-“

“No”

“Just a-”

“No”

“Plea-“

“No”

“But-”

“No”

We went to another bar and sat down. There was someone speaking English a few tables away from us.

“Sounds American” I said.

“He’s Irish!” said Michael.

I listened again. It was difficult to hear because the place was noisy but I was pretty sure.

“I bet you he’s American”

“What’s the bet?”

“If I win we do another shot of ChaCha”

“And if I win?”

“We do another shot of Chacha”

“You’re on”

This is the last thing either of us can remember. I woke up on the wooden floor, a metre or so from my bed, to the sound of Michael’s ominous confession:

“Mate, I’ve pissed somewhere in the room. It could have been on our bags, it could have been on you.”

I grumbled, unable to speak.

“It’s ok though, it’s only beer piss”, he added.

Phew, I thought. It’s only beer piss. 

By the time we’d regained our senses, we realised that not only had we lost another day on the schedule, due to the severity of our hangovers, but also, someone, possibly me or Michael, had hacked a crude looking mohawk into my head.

Nothing says “nutter” like a mohawk that looks like it’s been fashioned by Ed Scissorhands on the business end of ketamine binge.

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“What the hell happened last night?” asked Michael

“All I can remember is having a fight with this scruffy Irish tramp”, I replied, “He was trying to rob your coat! Ergh I can still smell his vile musk on me now”

“No, Rich, that was me. I went to put my coat on and you started fighting me”

“Oh right, yeah. Sorry about that mate”

The night duty receptionist knocked on the door and poked his head inside.

“Hello, good morning, you had quite a night, no?”

“Probably”

“One of you left this 100 Lari note ($60) on the table”

“Wow thank you so much! That’s very noble of you”

People are great.

Later on, still feeling Chacha’d, I turned to Michael,

“According to the schedule we were supposed to be in Greece, 3’000km away, by now”.

We hung our aching heads at the realisation that we were going to fail The Rich-Mike Hitchhike.