All good things come in three and sometimes also bad things do – as with the police stopping us. Three times in three different countries. First things first, let’s start from the beginning:
In general driving in Georgia is not for beginners – nor tourists. Why stick to the two lanes marked on the road when four cars fit in. In either direction by the way. Taking over happens in the middle of the road. Just counting on cars coming from the other direction to let you pass. One might think they would slow down for manoeuvers like that. Nope, not at all, speeding seems to be more fun.
Of course conscious drivers like us do not speed too much. But hey, one needs to fit in and adapt to the different styles of driving in each country. In Georgia speeding doesn’t get you into trouble.
We are driving as usual. Copying the car infront speedwise and following-rules-wise. As all of a sudden the police is behind us ‘wooping’ us to stop. We drove over a stop sign, they say. We didn’t see it and on top of that no one else stopped. The policemen don’t speak English. We keep asking why we should pay a fine? What exactly we did wrong? Why they stopped us and the not others? Why we need to pay money? Where the sign was? If they can show us? They are confused and all is getting too complicated. ‘Go’ the police says. Off we go again.
In Armenia we face the same hazards on the road as in the neighbouring country: cows, sheep herds, potholes, dark tunnels combined with animals and extralarge potholes not rarely full with water. No maniac driving though in Armenia. They rather concentrate on who’s got the superfanciest old Lada or who has pimped his ride most.
It’s Friday morning and we want to get to the Iranian embassy in Yerevan before it closes for the weekend at 1 pm. We’re almost there, as we see the familiar lights on the car behind. The police again. We can’t think of anything we did wrong. We were driving along road works and all cara are driving at the same speed. Apparently we were driving 60 as it was allowed. Buut about for about 15 meters the allowed speed was changed to ‘only’ 30. No one else reduced their speed, so why stop us? Is it because we’re tourists? ‘You just stopped us because we’re foreigners.’ Keep saying that gets us away from another fine. The policeman didn’t take it the easy way. Lifting his finger he repeatedly says ‘you problem at border, you see you see’. We make it to the embassy 10 minutes before closing and did not have a problem at the border at all.
On Iranian roads lanes are marked as well although sticking to them is not what you do. Wherever you pass through is your lane. After adapting to many different styles of driving we found two rules to be best: first always look ahead and don’t bother what’s behind you and second do what the others do and whenever not sure follow the car in front. This way worked well so far and made driving easy. But that’s not why we met the police in Iran.
It turns out we were driving too fast again. 100 kilometers an hour when we were actually allowed to drive 60. Saying we didn’t know and don’t understand what he means helped. ‘Money?’ he asks. ‘Money? Why money? Sorry we don’t have any’ we respond. Back and forth ‘money’, ‘why money?’ and ‘no money’ he wants to know if we have anything else intersting. ‘Parfume?’ ‘Oh sorry, no parfume’. We give him a tictac instead, taking one ourselves as well to show him it’s ok. He’s happy and so are we.