Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Monday, March 17, 2014

Back To Tbilisi, Back In Turkey Tomorrow

I checked this morning, and it seems that the last marshrutka from Yerevan to Tbilisi leaves at noon - so I didn't have as much time left in Yerevan as I would have liked.  So I got a taxi to the bus station and found the marshrutka that was leaving at noon-ish (the times are not very precise - if they get a full van they might leave early).  There were six of us total - one an Iranian, and the others Armenian or Georgian - I really couldn't tell.

The bus station in Yerevan

Buses at the station in Yerevan

This morning there was a lot of wind in Yerevan and it was causing either a dust storm or a pollen storm.  I couldn't tell whether it was dust or pollen but something was blowing around.  The power even went out in the hotel for a while, presumably because of the wind.

We headed up into the mountains and even ran into some snow, then we came back down below the snow line.  The driver was a maniac - playing chicken with oncoming vehicles, passing going around turns, etc.  I tried not to look.  The roads were horrible in Armenia.  I was trying to read, but it was too much effort with the van bouncing around on the roads.  Once out of Yerevan, Armenia looked really poor, more than Georgia.

We stopped at one point in Armenia - I imagine it was mainly for people to smoke.  Smoking seems to be a national pastime in both Georgia and Armenia.  In both countries they automatically put an ashtray on the table when you sit down in a restaurant or cafe, and in Georgia restaurants and bars have cigarettes on the menu.

Out in the middle of nowhere in Armenia

Out in the middle of nowhere in Armenia

Our marshrutka


I was glad to see during the daytime what I had missed on the overnight train from Tbilisi to Yerevan.  I think it was almost exactly the same route, since there was a railway line running parallel to the road almost the whole way.

At the border, we left the Iranian guy behind.  He was right behind me at the Armenian exit point, waiting to get his passport processed.  When I pointed out to the driver that he was not with it, he gave a dismissive shrug.  So I don't know if he was only supposed to go as far as the border or whether the driver really dumped him there.  If it was the latter I would hate to be him because there's nothing else there at the border.

One thing I noticed in Georgia: the roads are much, much better than in Armenia.

In Tbilisi I got a taxi to the train station and bought a ticket in the first class sleeping car to Batumi (actually Makhinjauri, just north of Batumi), also in Georgia, on the Black Sea coast, near the Turkish border.  Tomorrow morning when I get there bright and early I will have to find a way over the border, and then get a bus along the Black Sea coast to Trabzon, where I plan to stay tomorrow night.  I will find some place in Trabzon when I get there.

No comments:

Post a Comment