Monday, February 6, 2012

Tbilisi: Buses, Toasters, and Jam

Tbilisi: Buses at Station Square

Buses or busses. Take your pick.

Justina, a TLG colleague, introduced me to the world of Tbilisi buses yesterday. I'd focused on marshrutkas and the metro prior to this, but my destination on Sunday was the big Goodwill to meet another TLG colleague. To get there, a bus made the most sense.

Tbilisi bus stops have LED signs with both Georgian and English information about bus numbers, where the buses go, and how many minutes before they will arrive.

Tbilisi: Bus stop LED board: Bus number, final destination, and minutes til arrival at this stop. In Georgian.

Tbilisi: Bus stop LED board: Bus number, final destination, and minutes til arrival at this stop. In English.

In Tbilisi, I can tag my metro card on the metro, yellow marshrutkas, and yellow buses.

Tbilisi: Bus ticket and a metro card you can tag on the metro and yellow marshrutkas or buses. Bus fare 50 tetri. Marshrutka fare 80 tetri.

There are "yellow jackets" at stops who can tell riders which bus to get for their desired destination. The yellow jackets get on and off the buses to make sure passengers have the bus ticket receipts they pulled from the paybox when they tag their metro cards or insert money.

Tbilisi: "Yellow jackets"help riders get on right bus and monitor ticket purchases on buses.

I took Bus #15 to the Big Goodwill way up in north Tbilisi. The big Goodwill is similar to a Walmart. Smaller Goodwills in Tbilisi are supermarkets-plus.

Tbilisi bus

I arrived at the Goodwill and met Marie, a fellow TLGer. We did some catching up, then commenced to shopping. I'm not all the keen on shopping, so I'll cut to the highlights:

Toasters are expensive at the Goodwill. Marie had the good idea of just using a long implement to toast bread on the gas burner at my hosts' house. We found a basket thingie used to grill fish, with a long handle. Perfect. And less than 10 lari (versus the 65-plus lari an electric toaster would have cost at Goodwill - versus less than 30 lari a toaster would have cost at a Georgian bazaar.)

New "toaster"

Jam was on Marie's shopping agenda. I explained that I could not even think about bringing jam home, as Nely would likely throw me out of her house if I did. She has a huge supply of homemade jam from her village farm and it is far superior to anything I might get at the store.

After we finished shopping, Marie and I had lunch at the little Goodwill cafe, then parted ways.

When I returned home, I told Nely about what I said about jam, and she got a little agitated just imagining the prospect of my bringing jam home.


Nicole said...

I am so fascinated by your adventures! The toast looks great!

Mzuri said...

So .. .a year later ... thanks! I just re-read this and laughed anew at Nely's reaction to the imagined possibility of my having brought back jam ... and saw that, jeez, I hadn't acknowledged your great comment!