Armenia / Caucasus

Armenian Psycho. Hitchhiker’s nightmare.

I always saw my bessie and myself as an extremely lucky travelers. Just think about it – we were being invited to dinners, spent 3 days in a little village lost in the Armenian forest, people were so kind to us. Until something happened. Something really ugly. We ended up shit creek without a paddle.

People are good. Most of them. But statistically saying for one thousand good souls there’s always one ASSHOLE. And that asshole almost fucked up our life.

All good things come to an end. On the way back to Yerevan we want to visit Goris to see its beautiful medieval caves dwellings, but today, hitchhiking isn’t going as smooth as always. When mother nature is calling I leave my backpacks on the road and disappear in the bush. Suddenly I hear my best friend Anna (no confusion here, huh? I’m also Anna!) screaming “I can see a car!“. We can’t miss it. I quickly pull my trousers on and jump out of the bush to stop the car. We are lucky as they go to Goris. On the way they seem to be very curious about us. They ask about the trip and also WHERE ARE OUR HUSBANDS. “What are you talking about, if they were married their husbands will never allow them to travel like that” – we hear them saying. Lovely Armenian mentality… ūüôā

On the way to Goris we stop at Satan’s Bridge to see some rocks – we didn’t get to the bridge though. Shame!
This place is around 5 km from Tatev in the gorge of Vorotan river. 
Fancy a swim in a natural spring? 
The best of Goris Рmedieval cave dwelling. 
There is local grave yard on the way to the caves.
If you have time you can go on the hike up there, the landscape reminds me a bit of Capadocia in Turkey – so pretty!

Hitchhiking is cool. It’s an adventure – new people, interesting stories., but… no one will tell you that after a while it’s also extremely TIRING.¬†Socializing and answering the same questions is exhausting – have you seen XYZ? Do you like the food? How do you find Armenia? (The only correct answer here is “AMAZING!”). Our next driver is quiet. What a blessing. We fall asleep listening to Armenian pop hits.

Somewhere in Goris.
At some point we were travelling with guys selling traditional silver samovars.
These two old jolly fellas were so talkative!

We swap the quiet guy for an equally quite couple with a new set of Armenian pop hits. They don’t speak Russian at all, so we don’t know how to communicate with them. They drop us off in Ararat. It’s a small, grey industrial city. We are tired and want to continue our journey but we don’t know where is the main road to Yerevan. Finally we manage to stop a car. The driver tell us he can only give us a lift to the main road after dropping something at his place. We agree and after a while we’re drinking coffee with his mum and sister in law.

From now on things get really ugly.

He wants to show us the garden so we follow him. As soon as we are in it, the dog starts barking like crazy. HE THROWS A STONE at it. Then he kicks the bicycle of his son in law – for fun. It’s weird. It’s alarming. It should ring a bell… but it doesn’t.

Anna asks me how do I feel. I don’t feel good here, at all. We share the same feeling yet we do nothing about it.¬†

The guy disappears for a little while and then suddenly walks in the room and not letting us finish our coffee, he says we must leave. Now. We are fine with it as it’s getting dark and we really want to get to Yerevan as soon as possible.

I take the front sit next to the driver, with my friend Anna behind me.

Suddenly I notice we’ve just driven past the main road to Yerevan. I try to suggest him stopping the car. He doesn’t listen, instead he takes the first turning and we are now on a small side road. It’s getting dark and we can see the shadow of the Ararat mountain in front of us. He is driving us towards the boarder with Turkey…

I try to tell him we don’t want to make him more trouble. I ask him again to stop the car. “Yerevan tomorrow. Now we are going for a dinner to my uncle” – he says. I can’t believe what I hear. I am about to panic. I insist on him stopping the car and he starts yelling at me “what the hell do you think?! I’m a good man, I promised to help you so I will, are you fucking scared of me??”. I desperately try to figure out what to do. I try not to look at him and it clearly pisses him off. “Why are you scared? I won’t harm you!!”. I’m no so sure about that. He turns on the radio. Puts on really loud music.¬†I feel cold drops of sweat on my neck. A primitive, animal fear.¬†He is a psycho.¬†

For the first time in my life I am really fucking petrified.

At the end of the road I can see a car surrounded by a group of males. I pray to God hoping this is now what I think.

Have you ever were about to vomit because of fear? My only though is  РI HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE NOW!! 

We can’t show him we are afraid though, we have to put on a brave face and calculate our every move.¬†

Brave face, right, but how? I’m so scared I can barely move. Luckily we drive past the group of males. After a while we see some people working on the field. We have a plan. We are going to tell him we need to go to the toilet. Suddenly his phone rings and he picks it up. I try to be nice and cute, I smile at him and say “oh dear! we need to go to the loo” and I start giggling. Pee, pee if you don’t stop we will pee in your car. Luckily the guy, apart from being a damn psycho, is also dumb so he stops the car.

NOW OR NEVER

we open the door, grab our backpacks and fuck off as quickly as possible!!!! 

We run towards the field where we’ve seen people working. I scream for help. They see us but they don’t speak a word in Russian. SHIT! We turn to the road and notice a car coming. It’s an old couple and they see us trembling and almost crying so they stop. The man speaks fluently Russian. I explain the situation and he tells us to go with his colleague and instructs him to take us to the closest village. From there he will take us to Yerevan. We feel relieved. Not for long though…

The psycho doesn’t give up. He is chasing us, takes over and stops so we can’t drive past his car. He gets off screaming at our driver. We beg the man not to get off the car but he does it and they start to fight.¬†

The psycho is aggressive but we are lucky, as local people have just finished working in the field now so we are not alone. Another car stops in front of the car of the psycho and the old man who helped us parks behind. The surround him asking what is what he wants. The speak Armenian so we have no clue of what is really happening. Finally the psycho leaves.

On the way back to Yerevan we can barely speak. Anna realized she had a pair of scissors in her backpack. What would happen if she stabbed him? What would happen if I managed to jump out of the car and run away? How would I feel leaving her alone? If we killed him or he killed one of us, we would be really, really fucked. Honestly speaking I don’t think he wanted to kill us, but if we ended up in his uncle’s house, who knows.

We felt something was wrong from the beginning. Yet we decided to ignore that feeling. When we were at his house he left the room to pick up the phone. Why he didn’t want to speak with his mum being around? Throwing a stone at a dog? Kicking a bike of a 5 yr old? There were so many signs telling us that man was nuts!

Even though it was a real nightmare I want to make it clear – the outcome for this story is obvious to me. People are good – just look at how many random people helped us. It does make me feel better.

Hitch-hike wise, always trust your gut feeling.