Saturday, December 29, 2007

Armenia journal: December 27-28

When I travel I try to keep a journal of each day, to help me remember stuff. Since we are living the high life here in L's mom's house in Yerevan, the capital, I thought I would try to keep my journal online this time around and see how it goes. So here it is:

During the layover in Paris, we bought two cheese sandwiches, two Oranginas, and a Toblerone, for a grand total of $35. The guy behind the desk gave us a big grin and made a thumbs-down sign as we goggled at the total. "The dollar is way down," he said. The terminal at Charles d Gaulle was freezing, and we spent several uncomfortable hours watching other people board their planes. Every time I tried to speak French, I spoke Spanish -- si instead of oui, etc. I slept during the entire flight from Paris to Yerevan, where the meal was horrible and they tried to speak to us in Russian and Armenian, but to no avail.

The airport in Yerevan was strikingly modern and clean and beautiful. On two separate occasions we heard the Rihanna song "Please Don't Stop the Music," which was odd. We drove into the city with Gagik (sp?) at the wheel, and as we made our way down the empty highway the word that came to mind was: soviet. Even at night the road and the buildings and the dirt and the rocks seemed to share the same dull, tired character. There was debris littered along the side of the road, and everything seemed to be in a state of flux. Buildings were going up, or possibly going down. Casinos aren't permitted in Yerevan proper, but they lined the highway, garish red neon lines and flashbulb lights popping brightly. In the city itself the red neon theme continued, yet there were no shop windows or display cases, so most of the stores seemed like adult video places.

L's mom's house is huge, 4 bedrooms, with a courtyard and patio tucked along a lane of cobblestone and broken concrete. There is marble everywhere -- on the floors, all over the bathrooms, even the banisters. It's like one of Saddam's palaces. When we made it home we had some snacks and sat and chatted, and then went to bed. I took a hot, hot shower standing in the middle of a heart-shaped jacuzzi. Our bed is big and soft and luxurious. I slept soundly, woken once by the barking of the stray dogs outside (they are mostly German shepherds, it seems).

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