Published: November 12th 2007November 12th 2007
This will be the last blog before Tom and I return to Montana Dec. 1. Fall is definitely here in Yerevan. The street vendors selling fruits and vegetables have switched from beautiful heaps of tomatoes, cucumbers, and greens to sturdier fare of cabbage, potatoes, turnips, carrots, and squash. This past Saturday our Environmental Conservation and Research Center organized a tree planting event with the NGO Armenian Tree Project. Bad weather and slippery roads had caused us to cancel our first planned project a couple weeks ago, but Saturday was a beautiful fall day in Yerevan. We gathered at the Gai monument (a hero of WWI) to plant the species Sophora japonica or pagoda tree in the pea/bean family (actually from China). It will grow into a medium-sized tree with cascades of flowers so the web info says, but the little saplings right now are quite spindly and thin. It didn’t take our group long to plant about 120 saplings and then, of course, we had to gather for speeches from the mayor of Massive, from ATP, and from me. Thankfully, we all spoke briefly so the speeches were of shorter total time duration than the planting.
Afterward, Barb (our friend
who we met here who is giving a year’s service to an American Bar Association sponsored agency), Levan (he is an important part of our ECRC group), Bella (AUA librarian), and Tom and I went to Bella’s home for tea. We enjoyed the sun in the beautiful garden that Bella and her husband Aram have designed at their house. Their house (Aram's father built it many years ago) is now surrounded by Soviet style apartment buildings (Soviet-style architecture is truly Orwellian). Tom managed to get Levan to stop at the Yum Yum Donut Shop on our way to Bella’s so we brought donuts and ate beautiful grapes from their arbor,with our tea.
On Sunday Tom and I walked to get (liberate) the NY Times crossword puzzle from the Marriott Hotel coffee shop. This is a popular activity for many Americans in Yerevan, by the way. Our route took us through a new street in Yerevan—Northern Avenue. It is completely under construction with new buildings on both sides. On Saturday we planted trees and on Sunday we walked through what used to be green space but will soon become another upscale shopping area with hotels, businesses, and restaurants. Where does
the money to build these places come from?
Tom taught his first GIS class this morning—all of the computers and the software functioned perfectly. So, now he can relax and teach again this afternoon. Two sessions for two hours everyday for two weeks should take the edge off any boredom he might be feeling. And then we come home to Montana until February.
There are more photos below