I suppose it wouldn’t be all that interesting if rather unusual things did not begin to occur from the first moment you land in Armenia. Other than, of course, one’s total amusement when it comes to the flashing carnival lights on gas stations and wack “Russo-Armenian” words that grace the country at every turn. “Russo-Armenian” is in quotations because I doubt I’d ever be able to consider those abominations as Armenian, though they are very much a part of both the country’s vernacular and literary culture. Well, it gets even more interesting. I’m sure I’ll have funny stories to tell about the gas stations and strangely butchered foreign words later on. For now, I want to focus on the police.
I would like to make note of something. The police in this country most certainly all communicate and without a doubt are able to smell a Western Armenian. We made the mistake of taking a slight turn that led us onto the opposing side, one perfectly understandable since there was barely any illumination and the driver had not before driven to the airport. We were in the process of rectifying that mistake when flashing lights pulled us over. See, I have only been pulled over once before and that was for not realizing that my licence plate was bereft of its new sticker that identified it had been renewed. One can imagine the sobering experience of being pulled over for a mistake made within the first few minutes in a new country, albeit one I call home. Words between men passed, with a little prompting from this rather Western-minded (in this case, at least) female, and we were let off without either bribe or ticket. And the laughter, bright eyes, and utter amusement began once more. I am Home! Needless to say, we ran into flashing lights a few more times, each of them looking for a reason to nab us, trying to find some sort of excuse to pull us over. By the third time, it became a game to dodge the police and my personal defiant action to give a rather nasty eye each time those flashing lights approached. By the way, these guys like simply driving with their blue and red lights going haywire all over the place, cruising along the streets. Not quite sure if that’s even legal, though more than enough to make one nervous while passing them. We made it to morning without the need for more than a little bit of frustration, feeling like a criminal dodging security and piercing evil eyes that might ot might not have kept them at bay.
At least I can say the police welcomed me home with much aplomb!
PS: This post was written while extremely tired from a long trip and suffering slight jet-lag. Please excuse any awkward sentences.
PPS: I finally have internet and am posting the piece I wrote a week ago.