The Merkaba (4)
Tyler Friesen arrived at Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan via Bulgaria. This new airport to serve the historical and cultural capital of Armenia was built in 1961. He took a taxi to Hotel Tufenkian, an outstanding architectural building, located in Kentron city centre. He called Samvel Salazar and obtained an address of a motel in a town near Hrazdan where he should stop next.
He spent the hazy evening in the dry cold city to walk around the Republic Square. Later retired to a more comfortably live open-market at the Vernisagge. He took pictures of artefacts and activities around.
Next day he caught a train and in an hour arrived at Hrazdan. He was picked by a waiting cab to the valley of flowers – Tsaghkadzor – a small town located on the slopes of Teghenis Mountains at a height of 1800 metres above sea level and surrounded by alpine meadows – the birthplace of Orbeli Brothers.
It was a sleeping town with a population about 1500, narrow lanes vacated in spring blossom. Hotel Gart stood in a narrow lane and few hundred metres’ walk to Rusadan Hotel elevated on the rise. A huge mansion with grand décor interiors, floors carpeted, a large bar with a stage where Salazar’s Orchestra performed.
Samvel Salazar described the surrounding over lunch, “We’re pro-Russian, sometimes happy, sometimes not. You probably noticed the industrialising in this area as you travelled by train. Good for the Hrazdan people and they are growing in numbers.
“This is a peaceful resort. People spend time out here in the summer. They come from Erevan and far out from Argentina. Russian government promised this town would remain in its natural habitat and glory, a ski resort in winter. We have a casino here but not too many guests at this time of the year.”
He was sixty-three years old. “Mr Friesen, to get to your point, I understand you’re after a rutile ore cargo from Georgia,” continued Salazar, “I have certain sources to apprise…this operation is carried out by Voski miners in the Sevan Lake. A white Albatross, a Grumman floating plane, bearing an Iran flag flies from the Gilan region in the Caspian Sea, probably operated by Tehran, touches in the lake they call the Dive. American flights can’t operate in this region but Iranians do...
“That’s about all I know. If you want to go to the lake district, that can be arranged.”
“I’ll take a day or two to think it over,” said Tyler, “fresh air around is so good. I can smell the herbs.”
“Feel free to take a tour. There is a bowling alley, other facilities and a wonderful spa. I’ll be performing in a session this evening at the bar.”
A more shocking and revealing experiment took place in an encounter with a woman that afternoon.
Tyler sat at a low table by a window drinking his beer. This was a large bar with a dancing floor located in the middle and a stage set in an alcove by the distant wall. Two bars on both wings served the tables set around the dance floor. Those dining tables cladded in green. All the doors, floors, windows and counters finished in wood. A low ceiling hanging over and frameworks on three sides gave view of the beautiful landscape around. There were patio umbrellas, pergolas and fountains in the lawn. This bar faced south at the rear of the hotel. Low coffee tables set by the windows.
About a dozen couples sat at the tables smoking and drinking. The left counter was closed and no lights on. There was a guy sitting on a stool by the right counter. A woman sat on another stool vaping a shisha. He noticed the dense fumes quickly dissipating in air. She continued to vape rapidly.
In a glance he saw her walking up. A tall slender woman with short hair, wearing a colourful red robe, with a smile on her face and a lazy walk. He knew even from that distance she was coming right at him.
She reached him and spoke English, “I noticed you sitting alone. May I join you?”
“Please,” he lifted slightly to greet her, “Tyler.”
“Maria,” she placed a tiny cup of fruity cream on the table and sat down, “Did you see a person sitting by the bar?”
“No,” Tyler did not and now he was gone.
Her lips were dark but smiling, “I thought so. He was watching you. Where are you from?”
She paused with fixed eyes and said, “He could be Blue Beret…he’s tense.”
“Who is Blue Beret?”
“They’re a private organisation, an armed group, keeping law and order in the Hrazdan areas, pro-Russian and supporting project works, curb obstacles and rise against people who try to oppose.”
“How do you know he’s watching me?”
“I’m a psychic,” she squinted at him.
“Tell me why,” uttered Tyler.
“I read minds. I felt a strong vibration…there’s a girl involved. May I try to read your mind!”
“Go ahead,” teased Tyler.
She looked deeply into his eyes, “I see a girl,” she smiled broadly, “a naked girl…black hair…” she cackled aloud in laughter.
“What is it?”
“You have a very sexy mind, Mr Tyler,” she told him frankly, “You are thinking of more vital areas…” She closed her eyes, “I can see her sleeping face down…” She opened her eyes, “Were you peeping at a woman?”
Tyler said nothing.
She continued, “I have a name…”
“My goodness! She looks weird…”
“Puc…” she sounded cutting her fingers across her thighs. She touched his hand gently, “that guy too got the same face and name…her name is Hajnal.”
“You surprise me,” uttered Tyler, “I am quizzed. Every word you spoke is true. I wasn’t actually peeping but…I confess…I took a couple of photographs while she slept and she didn’t know. Tell me, Maria, am I in any sort of danger?”
“No. Blue Berets don’t operate in this town. You have no danger here,” said Maria.
“What’s my future?”
“I can’t read future. I read vibrations of objects and minds…the surrounding…”
“May I buy you a drink?” Tyler offered.
“I get it for you…”
Resumed with drinks he expressed, “I wish I had a talent like yours. Can you read these vibrations from an image?”
“Yes,” she said.
“How do you practice this profession?”
“I run a clinic and a yoga class at this hotel. We get a lot of clients from many parts of the world. I do my psychic reading at home.”
“Wow! That’s a good service. How long have you been practising?”
“Thirty years,” she said.
“What do you feel in my thoughts?”
“Your mind is busy…sending strong vibrations, looking for answers…” Maria defined, “I can feel my body levitating when I begin to receive vibrations, like lifted in air…”
Tyler didn’t know what to say.
“This girl…Hajnal, what about her?”
“I wish I know,” he uttered, “I have to ask for a psychic reading on the matter?”
“I’ll be glad to help you.”
“You speak very good English.”
“Thank you. There was a time I studied physics at the University of Oxford.”
Tyler walked to his hotel under the red sky. He couldn’t cross the lobby when someone came looking for him, “Mr Tyler Friesen?”
“That’s right,” replied Tyler.
“I would like to see your passport.”
“I’m from Passport and Visa Office.”
“Do you have an ID?”
“No. They asked me to check.”
“Who are they? What are you going to check?”
“Ministry of Territorial Administration.”
“Well,” uttered Tyler, “If I show my passport will that be enough?”
“Yes,” he nodded.
“I go get it or would you like to come with me!” he motioned, “Come!” He knew a little candidness could trick him. He entered his room and showed his passport, a page open with bona fide visa stamped to enter Soviet Union. “That’s my stuff…my typewriter…”
This officer, as he claimed, only glanced at it and asked, “What is the purpose of your visit?”
“I’m a writer. I’m travelling through East Europe looking for cool places I prefer to sit and meditate. Come up with ideas and look for episodes like you coming here. I have few novels with me. These are my work…”
The officer browsed them and said, “I go back to Hrazdan and inform them in Yerevan you’re a writer.”
“Go back and tell them.”
“Enjoy your stay!”
That was a bad sign. Tyler pulled on his gun and drew a package of photographs with strips of negatives. He put them in a bag and came down to the lobby to fetch a bicycle. He cycled back to Rusadan Hotel and asked for an urgent meeting with Salazar.
A maid led him down a long corridor carpeted in orange and ushered to Salazar’s office. In two hours he would be performing with the orchestra.
“I’ve been followed,” he told him and what Maria felt about the Blue Beret.
“Blue Berets do not meddle with this town but if Maria says…we have to be vigilant. Who is this girl?”
“She was Jaco’s companion sleeping in the room when the assailants climbed in.”
“Ah!” cried Salazar, “I get it now. The Hungarian police were following her. They see you with her and they follow you.
“Unlike small towns and villages, when you book in at a hotel in Erevan they forward to Police Stations and accumulated at a survey unit. They know you’re here and followed you to Hrazdan. They will follow you.”
“Who are they?”
“What am I supposed to do?”
“Stay here for few days. This town is safe.”
“That means they know what I’m after?”
“Most probably a hunch. Why should you come here? This is exactly the place for a writer.”
Tyler looked for Maria at the bar. When she came he passed her the bag for safekeeping. They sat down to share few thoughts about him entering a healing session. They listened to Salazar’s Orchestra play ‘The Beautiful Blue Danube’.