Party like us.
After enjoying superb sushi and other great Asian food from some of Yerevan’s best cooks on a friend’s goodbye party at his house, we wanted to continue with an afterparty. Carlos is a marine at the Marine Security Guard Detachment Yerevan, so we decided to continue the party over at the Embassy. The Embassy car arrived to pick everyone up and drive them over, while I rode my motorcycle.
It was freezing cold late in the night, so I was pushing the motorcycle to get to the destination as quickly as possible. The entrance and the parking lot for the personnel are on the other side of the embassy. That means one has to ride all the way to the ramp across the road to make a complex U-turn and ride back. And here is Murphy’s law about rushing to awesome parties in action: just after the U-turn a traffic police car put on the siren and pulled me over. Speeding offenses in Armenia are usually fine and cheap, you can generally get away with just 5,000 drams, but then it struck me (Muphy’s law in action number two) — I left all my insurance papers in a friend’s car during the winter and never managed to take them back! Legally, this meant 50,000 drams. Realistically, this meant a little more than 5,000 drams (depending on luck and sympathy) after a long, tedious and largely humiliating chat with a person whose IQ, statistically, is below the city average. I can handle that most of the time; sometimes it’s even entertaining. But there was a party waiting for me ahead that had all the chances of being more entertaining than a conversation with an Armenian traffic police officer late in the night next to a stinking water reservoir! Now here goes all of the above paragraph and its continuation flashing through my brain on that very moment:
“Fucking cold!… Fucking pothole!… Faster’s always good when flying over potholes… Uh! (a traffic police car)… OK they won’t pull a motorcycle over… (the cops put on the siren) God fucking damn it!!!!… OK it’s only 5,000 drams (turning on the parking signal with my frozen left thumb)… I’ll explain them it was cold and the street was empty so I pushed… Shit, the insurance papers!!!!… (pressing the turn signal button to switch it off)… Only about 1km to the embassy… Honda CBF500 against Toyota Corolla… lets roll!”
“0434, driver of the motorcycle, STOP IMMEDIATELY!!!!”
Have you ever drag-raced with the police? It’s one hell of a fun! And guess what?
A 500cc Honda parallel twin engine carrying 195 kilos including its own weight plus 65 kilos of a fully–equipped Synopsys programmer smokes a Toyota Corolla carrying two tentatively chubby Armenian policemen on a distance of 1000 meters. Easily.
I threw myself towards the personnel parking entrance gate and stopped. After some seconds the cops pushed their brakes right behind me, so close I couldn’t get out if I wanted. Felt much like being in a sandwich. You know, one of those steel-gate—armenian-policemen sandwiches! Among the other ingredients, this one had some meat, a decent sausage, and a motorcycle inside. The Armenian security guards walked out of their booth amused, watching the sandwich.
“Get off the motorcycle!” Yelled the police car from behind me. I pretended I didn’t hear it and looked at the security guard that hadn’t yet said anything, and at that point was just looking at me inquisitively. Even though he had no idea what the story was about, I felt like deep inside his heart was on my side.
“I need to see Carlos!” I put out in English, trying to mimic some sort of an American accent.
“Carlos??” asked the guard
“Zero four three four, get off the motorcycle RIGHT NOW!!” Yelled the policemen again. I wondered if he realized he was being annoying. “Get a life”, crossed quickly through my mind. I repeated:
“Please sir, I really need to see Carlos right now!”
“He is a marine. This is very important!!” I cried, not even looking at the cops behind me.
The security guard looked at my visor, hesitated for a moment, then pressed to open the gate open. “He’s American. Drive off!” he threw his hand at the police car. Throwing the hand worked like a Jedi trick — the flashing siren that reflected on my visor through my mirrors during all this time immediately faded off.
“It’s always the same on this fucking road” mumbled one of the cops, annoyed. “Way to annoy me with the stupid mike!” I thought, as they drove away.
I smoothly rode into the parking lot and started waiting for Carlos, leaning on the bike. They hadn’t arrived yet.
Disclaimer: All characters and events in this post — even those based on real people — are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated…..poorly. This post contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone.
Great news for all of you* on two wheels in (or soon-to-be-in) Armenia!
Here is an email I have received from one of our rider fellows a couple of minutes ago (in Armenian):
bike-festi start@ sksvum e Akhtalaic septemberi 15-in , cankali e bolor@ havakvats linen min4ev jam@ 15:00 (cerek@ ekexecu taratskum kazmakerpvelu e xorovatsi paraton taraznerov derasannerov ev ayln,isk jam@ 6-in stadionum sksvelu e rock paraton). Septemberi 16-in gnalu en Sevan, entex el pokrik mijocarum e linelu,ev 17-in gnalu en Jermuk` mianalu mec rock-festin. Bike festi shrjanaknerum kazmakerpvelu en khaxarkutyunner,mrcuytner,xaxer(Jermukum). Septemberi 21-in bolorov galis enk Yerevan nshelu ankakhutyan ton@. Menk mer vra enk vercnum Hayastanum mnalu voxj @ntackum vareliki tsaxser@. Artasahmanic bikerner@ petk e mtnen Bagratasheni koxmic, ancaketum klini mer koxmic nerkayacuci4,vor@ jamanac bikerin kpoxanci kartez,vareliki ktronner ev ayln. Amboxj @ntackum bikerner@ klinen GAI-i hskoxutyan tak t4anaparhnerin xndirneric azatelu npatakov.
Translation to English:
Bike-fest will kick off from Akhtala on September 15th. It’s desirable that everyone is there before 3:00PM (there’s gonna be a BBQ party in the church during the afternoon with national dresses, actors and shit. Then there’s gonna be a rock festival at 6PM in the stadium). On September 16th there’s gonna be another small event in Sevan, and on September 17th they [the bikers] are going to ride to Jermuk to join the rock fest. During the motorcycle fest lotteries, games and competitions are going to be organized in Jermuk. On September 21 we’re all gonna ride back to Yerevan to celebrate the Independence Day.
We [I assume the organizers?] will cover all expenses of motorcyclists’ fuel during the entire stay in Armenia. Foreign bikers/motorcyclists should enter Armenia from Bagratashen [a border town near Georgia]. We are going to have a representative at the border who will give the bikers a map, fuel purchase checks and other stuff. At all times the traffic police will be escorting the motorcyclists to avoid any issues on the road.
Then I randomly found out that PanARMENIAN.Net has more information available on the subject:
PanARMENIAN.Net – Travel without Borders project initiated by National Geographic Traveler Armenia through the assistance of RA government kicked off on August 24 with sailing of an international regatta.
The project consisting of 5 stages will finish nearby Tatev monastery on October 16, the day of opening of the longest ropeway in the world.
After Nairi and Ani boats complete their voyage, an equestrian tour will launch towards the Selim pass.
Between September 10 and 20, Armenia will host a bike fest, which is expected to bring together 150 bikers from different countries. The bikers will ride Bagratashen-Akhtala-Dilijan-Sevan-Selim pass-Jermuk route.
Besides, Music without Borders festival will take place in Jermuk.
The final stage will feature an international rally to follow Russia-Kazakhstan-Iran-Turkey-Georgia-Armenia route.
Conclusion: if you’re a motorcyclist and you want to visit Armenia (which happens to be a paradise for motorcycling), now is the perfect time!! Whether you’re riding a sportbike, a grand tourer, a cruiser, a streetfighter, a chopper or an enduro (especially an enduro!), hit the road and head over here! Even if you are a sociopath who does not care about the fantastic people he’s going to meet in Armenia, there’s still guaranteed free rides, free fuel and free police escort, where or when else would you ever have all of that together? I’d also add free drinks and free girls (maybe even guys and camels), but that wouldn’t be guaranteed. Take your shot!
For your extra information, Google Maps works great in Armenia (as long as you navigate your way through Georgia).
Have a safe trip!
* I’m gonna be on the other side of the planet from September 10, and that’s a bummer.