The first surprise discovery I made in Yerevan is that it’s some kind of Tijuana for Iranians. For them, it’s a reachable paradise of personal liberties, booze, dancing and prostitutes. Most of the other people who stayed at my Airbnb host were in fact Iranian. From what I could tell though, their interests were more the former than the latter.
One of them told me that he just recently arrived here, hoping to stay abroad permanently. Past attempts of similar kind have seen him deported from Cyprus after getting caught with a fake Swedish passport. This time he was going for a more legit route. He also agreed to take me on a party night out, Iranian-style.
My showcase experience of Iranian clubbing was to be a ‘disco’ called ‘Ex’. He knew some of the staff there. This meant that he at least wouldn’t have to pay the 12 USD cover charge. Apparently 20% of the cover usually goes to so-called ‘tour guides’ who are tasked with hauling in Iranian tourists. My companion vocally rejecting the idea of joining their ranks in order to finance his prolonged stay in Armenia. I was privately wondering if I might be his successful first referral.
‘Ex’ was a sight to behold. The ‘girls’ working the place (and all of them were in fact ‘working’ there) would have been at home in a KFC on all-you-can-eat Tuesday. The guys wouldn’t have seemed out of place in a barber shop on a Saturday morning. Men outnumbered women approximately 5 to 1. But since most guys were dancing with each other, that didn’t seem to be an issue. In fact, these dudes seemed to be having the time of their lives.
I was the only ‘Western’ guy in there and my companion appeared thrilled with the ‘respect’ he received for bringing me there. The Iranian DJ announced that he would play some international songs for the one and only ‘foreign’ guest. He then left his booth to come out and dance with me. A great sign of respect I was informed. Two hours later I headed home with my visibly exhilarated buddy, 320 kcal lighter (dancing, general, 60 minutes) and an Iranian disco experience richer. Fun times.