Blogs from Yerevan, West, Armenia, Asia - page 6


Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan October 24th 2007

What to do when not hiking… Well, we are somewhat sidelined. Tom and I celebrated his birthday (last weekend) by staying at one of the Tufenkian hotels 3 hours north of Yerevan. We wanted to complete two of the hikes in the Adventure Armenia book that we enjoy so much. Unfortunately Tom, for the first time, sprained his ankle. But, of course finished the last 2.5 miles of the hike anyway. Our drive north took us past two Yezidi villages. The Yezidis are one of the most numerous national minorities in Armenia. They speak Kumanji, a northern Kurdish dialiect. Their religion, Sharfardin, was the religion of Kurds in very ancient times (information from a book entitled “We are Yezidis” by Aziz Tamoyan). Their villages are without trees for the most part and their streets are muddy ... read more
The time of the earthquake
Restoring the church
Kobair scene

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan September 26th 2007

Tom and I have not been suffering from ennui in Armenia. . Tom is busy working with GIS data for the White Stork project, helping with our website, grocery shopping in the markets, and going to receptions, parties etc. Yerevan weather is still very warm during the day but the evenings are wonderfully cool. Cochineal Insects Last week, as Tom mentioned in his letter, we got up early to go with our entomologist friend to the Ararat Valley to watch the yearly emergence of the Ararat Valley Cochineal Insects ( that produce red dyes for manuscripts and carpets)—they spend their entire life cycle sucking carbohydrates from the roots of a couple grass species, until mid-September when the winged males and the wingless females emerge from their testae to come to the soil surface after 8:00 a.m., ... read more
Jen, Tom, and Martin looking for cochineals
The grass roots and testa
The female

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan September 17th 2007

Today is our last day of the Global Village trip and a great had been planned for us. Melik, David, and Ani picked us up to take us to the Holy See Edminjistan. Being that it was Sunday, both churches we visited had masses in seesion- it was a great experience to see how the traditional Armenian masses were held as well as seeing the historic churches. It was very beautiful, and Ani and David did a wonderful tour of the campus. Afterwards we went back to Yerevan and had lunch at Square One, a restaurant that served American cuisine. While we were eating, a group of Peace Corps members sat at the table next to us- many were from the US, including one guy from Sterling Hgts who went to high school with my cousin! ... read more

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan September 15th 2007

Maliek, Gohar, and David (a HFH Armenia volunteer who is Armenian, grew up in Jordan but lives in Yerevan as he is going to the university to be a dentist), picked us up from the hotel to take us to our last day on the worksite. Since we finished moving the lava rock to the attic yesterday, our task today was to do some landscaping- leveling the front and backyard, filling with dirt, then covering with pebbles. As our team enjoys the "bucket brigade", we gladly accepted this task! When we arrived to the site, we were joined by Hamlet and Amalik, Hraj, Sarkis, Hacob, and a couple of the neighbors. It was a great workday and we were able to finish the front yard before lunch. It was very hot out, so we were sure ... read more
Hamlet and Amalik's house
Group photo!

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan September 14th 2007

Today we headed straight to the worksite and started the highly anticipated "bucket brigade"! Our task for the day was to carry buckets of the lava rock up to the attic, and to bring enough rocks up to form a 5-6" layer across the entire attic floor. This was a nice break from plastering and painting and gave the team a different experience. Gohar also explained that by our team helping move the lava rock, we were doing something that would be much more difficult for the homeowner to finish by himself. Our team glady accepted the challenge! A pulley and rope were set-up, hanging from the roof trusses. Hamlet, his brother, Hraj (who has been working with us everyday), and Hamlet's cousin, Sarkis, were in the attic awaiting the filled buckets and would spread them ... read more


Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan September 13th 2007

This morning we traveled to beautiful Lake Sevan, about a 45 minutes from Yerevan with Maliek and Ani. As we were driving, Ani was telling us many great stories about the Armenian culture as well as tales about Lake Sevan. Lake Sevan is the biggest lake in Armenia, and has many vacation homes. Two churches from 900 BC sit atop a hill that is surrounded by the lake, we parked the minibus and climbed the stairs to look at the churches. As we were walking up about 200 stairs (counted by Sandra), an older Armenian gentleman serenaded us as he played his small guitar. He seemed to be dressed in traditional Armenian wear, which added to the beauty of this area. The churches were amazing, old tombstones sat in front of the entrance that were gathered ... read more

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan September 13th 2007

Before we started work today, Gohar, Meri, and Maliek took our team to visit some of the families who are in their homes, including 2 families that were supported by Habitat Detroit and Masco. It was an absolutely amazing experience. One of the homes we saw that was sponsored by HFHD and Masco was a beautiful home and an experience I will never forget. The family has 3 children- 2 girls and a boy. The 2 girls had drawn a picture of their house that read "thank you Detroit", they gave this to us as a gift and I will be sure to bring it to the HFHD office to hang. The mom brought out a great spread of fruits and juices, it was such a welcoming and lovely gesture. Although we thought we were invasive ... read more

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan September 12th 2007

Hi all, As I was preparing this blog, Dick Walton wrote to ask me to encourage bloggers to visit the website that has been created for the Pryor Mountains in Montana. There is a great need for civil society in Montana to contact the US Forest Service to encourage a rational travel plan that restricts the movement of off road vehicles. The website presents the issues in a clear way and with beautiful photos. Enjoy: Fall has arrived in Armenia. Women in our apartment yard are busy fluffing the sheep’s wool in their mattresses and airing out the bedding to prepare for winter. Tom, Marian, and I made our first trip to Mt. Aragats (about one hour from Yerevan) a couple days before Marian returned to Billings. On the way to the mountain we stopped ... read more
An oligarch's house in Yerevan
The alphabet
Marian the letter M

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan August 28th 2007

Marian and Tom in Armenia Marian and Tom have been here since August 16 I think. Their journey was one for the books—it took them almost 2.5 days to get here—this included a 12 hour stop in Vienna where they went to a spa and slept on lounge chairs in a city park until tune to head back to the airport for the flight to Yerevan. One of the first activities for us was to attend the presentation of the Armenian Apostolic Church’s highest service award to Dr. Haroutine Armenian (can you believe his last name?), the President of the American University of Armenia. There were only about 8 of us representing the university because August is break time for everyone and all the Deans except a few of us were gone on vacation. The ... read more
Marian and Jen at the market
Marian's favorite dish soap
Marian and Jenny in the Cave Cafe

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan August 10th 2007

Playing house with Debra these past two weeks has triggered memories of my former identity as one of two. I am surprised by how distant these memories feel. Has my life really changed that much? Am I now officially "the single guy?" Of course I had to note the equal remoteness of my memories of my former wife. Life is strange. We've been to lots of concerts, restaurants, and parties. Despite the fun I noticed a curious melancholy in my emotional background. It took me a few days to realize that it was caused by the looming imminence of my departure from Armenia. I have conveniently blocked this fact from my mind. (I always do that.) I am used to my little life in Yerevan. I have friends, students, and shop keepers who depend on me. ... read more
Astral III
Astral I
Astral IV

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