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December 6, 2002

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We can't obtain an Iranian visa. This problem leaves us with few options: head east to Turkey, head home early for the Christmas holidays, or wait around in Armenia and kill ourselves from boredom. We decide to go home early. This means traveling back to Baku, Azerbaijan, where we found a cheap fare to Baltimore that leaves on Dec 10th. Now all we must do is obtain a Georgian visa and cross into Georgia (the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is closed), find the Azeri embassy in Tbilisi and bribe our way to an Azeri visa (the only way to do it under 24 hours), arrive in Baku, make our flight plans, and perform some souvenir/Christmas shopping miracles; three countries, two borders, and a lot of hassle.
The Sadakhlo-Ayrum border crossing between Armenia and Georgia, completely laid back, we had to stop the bus and demand a customs form from officials who laughed at our need for formalities. The customs office doubles as a bedroom for the official on-duty; does this encourage sleeping on the job?