Today we loaded a bus to take a shopping trip in Tbilisi. We were going to a store called Goodwill and a market where we could haggle prices.
Got to Goodwill, and I must first explain that this isn’t the American Goodwill.
This store is more like Costco or a Super Walmart. They had EVERYTHING. As I perused the isles I came upon the candy isle. And I lie to you not, they had Twix, M&M’s, and Snickers! And Coke! After letting that sink in, I have come to the conclusion that I will be fine in this country.
Then I got to thinking, is this REALLY a developing country. Cause now I was confused myself. They have a lot of things that say, America has, the people can provide for themselves. There cities are awesome and wealth is all around. What they don’t have (and this categorically makes them a developing country) are infrastructure ie, nationwide power grid, water systems etc, and strong social institutions, ie education system to sustain the population. They are taking neck breaking strides in getting there, though. The entire capital city looks like a construction zone.
We came out of Goodwill like Walmart junkies; Pringles, toilet tissue, soda, wine, one guy even bought some Jack Daniels.
Next we went to the market. At first we thought it was an American Mall, But then we reached the true market area. Think of it as a huge flea market. They were also selling everything… but used looking. I haggled a lady down to buy a power strip. Success. Don’t mess with my skills!
Then out of the bowels of this market came the gypsy children. Dirty and tiny, they begged the shit out of us. Holding on to our arms and clothes (one even pulled a friend’s hair) and following us for stall to stall. Fortunately a merchant at one stall knew the exact thing to say to them, because they vanished as fast as they came.