It was raining, so I took a sad rainy selfie right outside the Iranian bank (Mellat Bank) in Yerevan. I needed to travel here from the Iranian embassy to drop my €75 worth of money to pay for the visa. This wasn’t straightforward to me at all and felt like such a strange thing to do. Strange because there’s no guarantee that they will give me a visa. It’s a maybe yes, maybe no, and they don’t even owe me an explanation if they refuse my request. No other transaction that I’m willing to engage in works like this. Is this normal for visas, embassies, and consulates? I’m seriously asking, because it feels super strange to surrender the amount of cash I could live on for either two weeks or two months.
The friendly people at Mellat Bank gave me proof of payment for the visa, which I’ll need to show at the embassy before they will put a visa in my passport. But now it’s too late to go back to the Iranian embassy. The distance is quite large and taking public transport still won’t cut it. There’s always some queuing involved. And I’m afraid the rain will make my passport wet before I arrive there. So no Iranian visa today, but I’ll try again tomorrow or the day after.
While I had some shelter at the door, the people with umbrellas – very smart – walking by were very curious. When Vaidas finished his bureaucratic thing, a guy started talking to us and invited us into his home for tea and cookies. He told us he’s both a lawyer and a doctor (wow). He’s also spending lots of time in the Altai Republic of Russia, which I believe is where he’s from. I think he travels back and fort between Armenia and the Altai.
The Altai is one of my most-wanted areas of Russia where I want to travel, though most of the conversation was about travel, tech, and politics. I’d loved to hear more about the Altai and its natural beauty. But then this man – who must be great at time management – had to go do something else.
What we didn’t expect from this invitation into a warm and dry place was that this man would give us US$50 and a bag of food each to continue our travels. Wow!
(And yes, we first thanked him but said no to the money, but he insisted. When he realized we’re not traveling together, he wanted to give us US$100 each, but we said we really couldn’t accept that.)
Also, this day was blessed with some strange/nice vehicles. The first one is a wedding mobile, I presume. The second vehicle is actually an ambulance. It’s hard to see because the picture is so dark, but there’s a red cross on top of the vehicle, flashy lights, and this big white light fitted on the hood to blind all oncoming traffic. Needless to say, I’d like to hitchhike both.
(Originally published on the 30th of September, 2014): Sad rainy #wifi time #selfie at the Iranian bank in #Yerevan, #Armenia. Shelter at the door, people were very #curious (at Yerevan, Armenia)