Armenia? Why would people go there, and where is it?
For me, Armenia was a Plan B. Plan A was to be in Italy, stomach gluttonously extended from too much rabbit ragú gnocchi’s and lips stained burgundy from enough red wine to drown a Holy Roman Emperor.
But alas, The Backstreet Boys Reunion Tour (What I’ve called the past two years) and the hysteria coming with it forced a Plan B. I sifted through the tea leaves, consulted Tarot cards, and checked Skyscanner.com. And little did I know — much of the trip would keep me on my toes and require me to make Plan C’s through Z’s.
Let’s review: Plan A was Italy. Plan B was Armenia. Should Armenia be a Plan B? Absolutely not. As I would learn, Armenia does indeed warrant being a Plan A — perhaps paired with Georgia — status. But first, let’s get there. To get to the airport, one must take a bus. But what does one do when the bus clearly sees you waiting outside the bus, waiting for the door to open, but leaves for the airport anyway?
A Plan C arises. Plan C is to hurriedly run to catch the last train to the airport which arrives right before the flight leaves. Our first leg of the journey would be Kiev, a city I have long desired to visit before leaving Europe. I’ve become a sneaky boy with my Covid regulations, and a master in doing everything legally while still getting the most from my freedoms. In Ukraine, one must download an app that continually geolocates you to make sure you are actually quarantining while you wait for your negative antigen/PCR test to arrive. However, you can get around this and stay 48 hours, the perfect city layover time, without having to quarantine. So we would stay a short 48 hours in Kiev before heading to Armenia, to avoid the quarantine. I can’t wait to stop having to worry about this.
To get into Armenia, however, I had to show a negative PCR test. Being the cheapskate I am, I took a free PCR at Billund airport before leaving for Ukraine, giving the testing folks 48 hours to get the PCR results back. But what does one do when their PCR test is 12 hours overdue? One shits himself and scrambles to find a PCR test in Kiev that will give a result in less than 2 hours. Plan D.
This does not exist, so one scrambles to take an antigen and a PCR in Kiev. Plan E. One receives his negative antigen test and prays to all the major religious figures that their PCR from Denmark makes it before the flight. Someone hear one’s prayers, mainly mine because my PCR from Denmark came in 20 minutes before the flight. And thank the holy figures, because they wouldn’t have let me on the plane without it.
As we land in Armenia I am instantly made aware that this is not the world from which we had come. This is not the EU, this is not even Ukraine, dare I say not even Georgia. This is most decidedly something different…something not quite Asian, not quite European. This is Armenia.
For the next ten days, we would rent a car and continually be forced to make Plan J’s and P’s and Z’s. But the awards which we received for our forced flexibility would be memorable, and the experience unforgettable.
More coming soon…