Blogs from Yerevan, West, Armenia, Asia - page 11


Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan June 12th 2006

When I left for the airport two weeks ago my sister handed me a copy of Elinor Burkett's book "So Many Enemies, So Little Time." It's about the year she spent as a Fulbright Scholar in Kyrgyzstan, which is a few Stans east of here. (In fact the Armenian word for "Armenian" is "Hay," descendants of the legendary archer Hayk, Noah's great-great-grandson, hence the Armenian word for "Armenia" is "Hayastan" or "Place of the Hays.") I finished the book this morning while sipping coffee on my little balcony that overlooks Yerevan, courtesy of William Fulbright. I feel so lucky to get to experience the world this way, by having the time to live and work in a place instead of just passing through. Although Kyrgyzstan is more backwards than Armenia, many of Burkett's observations are also ... read more
door bank
get rich quick 1
get rich quick 2

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan June 5th 2006

Even though a meal at a fancy restaurant is only about $8, I managed to spend over $200 this week, so tonight I'm celebrating the end of my first week in Armenia with a home cooked meal. I only have one pot, so it will have to be stew. Unless I buy pans, I guess it will have to be stew every night for the next two months. What I dread the most are solo trips to the grocery store. Armenia is not a service-oriented country. It's the post-Soviet hangover. For example, it's not unusual for customers to stand in a queue without complaining because the cashier needs a break to call her boyfriend. I guess we all divide our time between being workers and being customers, so I can't figure out if this system is ... read more
Khor Virap
The Cascade
Wilcomen zu der Cabaret

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan May 30th 2006

Sometimes living my life feels like being the only passenger on some relentless train. Sitting in Heathrow waiting for my flight to Yerevan, I wondered what it would be like to be left behind at the train's next stop. I suspected the preoccupied man sitting next to me was Armen Der Kiureghian. With the support of UC Berkeley, Armen founded the American University of Armenia in response to the 1988 earthquake. The original mission of the university was to train graduate students to become earthquake engineers. I had heard that he would be on the same flight. Indeed, five hours later, when the driver met me/us at the airport in Yerevan it turned out that this was Armen. (Note: it seems like every other Armenian man is named Armen.) For the next two months I will ... read more

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan October 24th 2005

Yerevan is the capital city of Armenia. It is historically and culturally a fascinating place. Some type of settlement has existed at the same location for over 2787 years. While my wanderings were mostly confined to where I could get on my own two feet (and microbus/metro/taxi), I was able to get an excellent feel for the city, especially it's center. The earliest record of settlement was found at the ruins of ancient Erebuni. Cuneiform records found at the site of the ruins mark the castle as having been built by Argistisi I in 782 c.e. with the help of 6,600 captured slaves. Armenians are a proud people, and Yerevan reflects this. Galleries of Armenian artists, monuments and statues dedicated to Armenian composers, authors, architects, poets, and heros are everywhere. They are only outnumbered by cafes, ... read more

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan October 19th 2005

For twenty days home was a Soviet era flat in the heart of Yerevan. Fully furnished with the owners beds, couches, appliances, portraits, clothes, food, and even a toothbrush. Not exactly what you expect to move into when you rent an apartment. The owner even had 2 of the refrigerators and all 3 of the freezers full of fish for an upcoming family wedding. Half of a wardrobe had been cleared for Gor and I to share. I got the impression that this is not an uncommon practice. It felt as if the owner had decided that it was more profitable to clear out half a closet and go live with a relative for the month she rented us the flat. I have to wonder if that is not exactly what happened. It is odd to ... read more

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan July 26th 2005

Hotel: SIL Hotel (Yerevan, Armenia) $75 We wasted a lot of time this morning trying to find a bank that would cash D's AmEx travellers checks; no place wanted to take them (even with the AMEX symbol on the door!) We finally found a place that supposedly would cash them. My wife's ankle had been acting up, while he was inside the bank we sat down on the steps outside to give it a rest. A guard came out and motioned that we couldn't sit there. So we walked across the street and sat on the curb. She still kept giving us dirty looks! Still unsuccessful in cashing D's TC's (they wanted the receipt which was back at the hotel), we headed back to Republic Square which had an ATM. We found a taxi driver in ... read more
Garni temple
Geghard monastery

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan July 25th 2005

Hotel: SIL Hotel (Yerevan, Armenia) $75 Visa at border: $30 $1 USD = 440 Armenian Dram We arrived at the Ortachala bus station this morning around 7:30 AM. The minibus to Yerevan was scheduled to depart at 8AM ($12.50). We were only planning on going as far as Alaverdi, in Armenia, to visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Sanahin and Haghput. We arrived at the border around 9:30; the driver asked if we had visas for Armenia, he then let us go through the border post ahead of the others when we motioned that we would be buying them on the Armenian side. We walked across the bridge into Armenia, there was a small building where we paid our $30 for the visa, then back to the guard hut where they waved us in. All ... read more
Armenian crosses
Old Soviet bus

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