Monday, August 15, 2005


Zvartnots airport is a masterpiece of Soviet engineering. It reminds me of a dam pump-station I saw in a book on photographic intelligence.

The first problem I had when I got to immigration was that I didn't have a visa application form. Some people had the forms already, presumably they had been given them on the plane while I was asleep. There were two small visa kiosks, both with large queues of people trying to get visas and visa forms. After about 20 minutes I got hold of a form, which looked like a kid had made it. I filled it in and then rejoined the queue for another 20 minutes. In exchange for the form and 30 US dollars I got a small sticker in my passport. I should have got an e-visa while in the UK, although it would have cost double. When you buy cheap, you pay with your life.

Just as I thought I could queue no longer, I joined the queue for passport control. Yet another 20 minutes of my life were stolen from me. The only question I was asked was whether I had come from Viena. I said I hadn't and was allowed to pass. I imagine anyone traveling from Viena got shot for being a fascist.

The next challenge was finding my bag. It took my a long time because there was nothing to indicate which bags had come from which flights. Eventually I found it and was able to pass through customs with the ease of a skilled smuggler...

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