Oct 15, 2023: Extreme Driving Lesson 2

Tbilisi Galleria – Tbilisi, Georgia – 9:15pm

Today, I went out to the Rustavi International Motorpark again for my second extreme driving lesson. The first lesson had been a slalom course, and today was about braking and swerving.

10:30am: Extreme Driving Lesson 2! And a Motorcycle Race

I found out from my teacher Artem that this motorpark was actually the only one in the Caucasus region, so drivers from other neighbouring countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan would often come up to RIM to race or practice. That makes me feel lucky that I have the opportunity to take some lessons here and experience a bit of that driving life. Apparently the motorpark cost $45 million to build, but is just losing money because they’re not utilizing it enough. I was told that in a season, there are maybe only 10-12 races, which seems quite little. If I’m back in Tbilisi next year, I’d love to go out and check out a couple of car races.

I had chosen to come back on Sunday because I heard there was a race. I’d thought it was a car race, but actually it was for motorcycles. There were two classes – one race was for 600cc and another race was for 1000cc. It was really cool to see the bikers take on the curves. They look so exposed; driving fast cars feels a lot more protected by comparison, haha. This bike race was just made up of local riders, and Georgia doesn’t have too many in the scene. So, there were only eight racers in total, and the crowd that came out to watch was quite small. It lacked the high energy and excitement of anything major like an international race, but was still fun to watch for a first-timer like me.

I had fun during my driving lesson. When Artem first showed me the swerving maneuver, I felt a bit scared because I kept thinking that the car would flip if I tried it, haha. But, I tackled it head-on and committed, and soon was swerving both to the left and ride at 70-80 km/h. It was such a blast! The squealing of the tires really adds to the atmosphere. It’s easy to see how addictive extreme driving is, but it definitely costs a lot of money if you want to go far with it.

3pm: Drifting Experience in the Passenger Seat

Case in point: I got to sit in on another guy’s drifting lesson. I took the passenger seat for the last fifteen minutes or so of his lesson. Getting both the inside and outside perspectives of the car in drift mode was really cool. I would be so stoked to try a drifting lesson: but yeah, it costs 1800 gel for four lessons (1 hour 20 minutes on the track each time). It’s pricey, but compared to other places around the world, this is on the cheaper end, really. Artem explained it to me: there are taxes to pay and car maintenance expenses, not to mention gas and changing the tires out every lesson for the drifting course. He said that each lesson, he typically has to go through 2 to 4 used tires (2 if the driver doesn’t make mistakes; 4 if the driver drives badly), which adds up to 200 lari each lesson. That’s a steep cut from the lesson fee, considering that each lesson is essentially 450 gel. So, you’re paying mainly for the cost of the equipment, it seems!

It was really interesting to learn a bit more about this sub-culture. I’d love to get more into this scene. I also wish there was a motorcycle academy at RIM so that I could try riding a motorcycle on the track too, haha.

So, that was a long day at RIM, and I spent quite a bit of time under the baking sun too. I was there from approximately 10am to 4:30pm.

5pm: Ponichala Reserve

I headed back to Ponichala Reserve after and walked around by myself for an hour and a half. There were a lot of people closer to the entrance of the reserve, including a birthday party with young girls dancing to the Barbie Girl song (lol). But, I went deeper into the reserve and pretty much had the whole place to myself again.

I tried to practice a stand-up comedy set, because I do want to try performing stand-up at the World’s End Bar for their stand-up nights on alternate Sundays. In the end, while I felt like my jokes had potential, I thought I hadn’t phrased them well enough yet. I need to write them a bit better before I perform for the first time. I know that I can’t and/or shouldn’t expect my first gig to be perfect, but I want to be proud of my first time performing on stage, so I’m really trying to at least get the written material down better first. Then I want to memorize the words and think about delivery, so that when I finally do it in front of an audience, I can be more confident about my routine. So, I bailed on today’s stand-up comedy night, but I’ll try to perform at the October 29th one, because that’s right before Halloween! I really want to do a horror-themed comedy set. That would be perfect.

So, I bailed on performing stand-up comedy tonight, but I ended up walking through this cute little artists’ market on Shota Rustaveli avenue right outside Galleria.

Goodnight world,


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