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Written on: Wednesday August 1st, 2012

A journal entry from: November 2011 until...

Took a mini-bus to Yerevan. Had a very 'This wouldn't happen in Australia' moment at the border: the visa fee was 3000 Drams - about $7 at today's exchange rate. I didn't have any Drams, but I had plenty of US Dollars and Euros, and even Georgian Lari, since I was coming from Georgia (and will return there after Armenia). But, I was told that I would have to pay in Drams. 

I was just thinking how I could get some - perhaps borrow some from someone on the bus until I got to an ATM in the country, but the border guard had an idea - he told me that there was a bank just 100 metres on the other side of the border, and suggested that I go there. I pointed at my passport. He laughed and told me that he'd keep it for me! So I was about to enter Armenia with no passport and was walking around large fence, when another guard pointed out that it had a hole in it - and it would be quicker if I just slipped through the hole.

Of course nothing happened and I got back to the border, got my visa and then entered through the proper means, lining up like everyone else. It would have been interesting if the guards had changed shifts in the meantime and it looked like I was trying to leave Armenia with no passport.

Yerevan was hot and bustling. Lots of people out in the squares and parks at night. 

I met Art on the bus from Tbilisi. He kindly offered to join me and show me around some famous sites the next day. We went to a monastry at Geghard - from time to time we heard singers making the most of the excellent acoustics carrying their voices through the temples - many of which are hewn from the living rock, and the Pagan temple of Gagan, both about an hour to the north of the city. We also had an excellent lunch of Armenian delicacies. Thanks Art!