Friday, January 04, 2008

Armenia journal: January 3-4

1/3. A decadently lazy day. We stayed home all day, protected from the cold and the snow, and read books and watched "Big Love" on DVD. During the day the only time we went outside was to walk around the back of the house to the cellar to do laundry. To walk outside in jeans and longjohns and a sweater, boots loosely tied up as you slide and mince along the patio and the pathway to the laundry room, quickly gauging the snowfall and the cloudy gray oblivion of the sky as you go, and knowing there's a nice warm house and a cold Coke waiting inside for you -- it felt like the best of winter. We eventually geared up to walk to a restaurant in town, Cactus, the only Mexican place in Yerevan, for dinner. The Nepali host greeted us with a "Namaste" at the door. We had really good margaritas and mexican fare as the fashion tv network blasted at us from the wall -- the models strutting around in bikinis would not be ignored. It was nice to walk through the city at night, and to feel like I'm starting to get my bearings a bit. Everyone here is dressed in all black outside, fur coats are de rigeuer for the women, along with spiky stilettos; in our baggy winter coats and hiking boots we looked like granola-crunchy hippies from a completely unimaginable world.

1/4. Another wonderful, ridiculous day of idleness. To our credit we did leave the house to venture out for some food -- we walked through the light snowfall to a couple of grocery stores to pick up cheese and salami for lunch, as well as lavash (bread) and some other items. At one grocery store the employees wore garish orange blazers. We passed a street of very nice and well-tended houses, which was a stark change from what we usually see as we meander into the city.

Also, finished Crime and Punishment. Good but not as mind-blowing as I hoped. Got lost in some of the philosophy. Still left with embarrassingly basic questions like, "Why did he do it again?" "Why did he confess?" "What am I supposed to glean from this whole thing, really?" I see how this book could persuade or dissuade someone on the verge of criminality; as a law-abiding citizen who plans to keep it that way, I didn't feel like I gained a lot there. Except maybe if I am mugged I'll have more empathy for my assailant, if that's even something I should want in the first place.

Also, L woke me up early to check out the Iowa caucus results. Shocked and overjoyed to find my man Obama with a decisive victory. Surprised Hillary was way back in 3rd, but Edwards won't last. Happy that Huckabee came in first, too, since that's bad news for my mortal enemy, the plastic automaton Mitt Romney. And of course don't forget Rudy lurking in the shadows, with his mafioso associates and children who hate him. I'd really like to see McCain get the nod, and he's looking great for New Hampshire, although he's competing for the same moderates as Obama. Also, Obama's speech this morning was amazing and inspiring. I want him to be our president.

Patriotism, from half a planet away! David Brooks summed it up best -- it's an exciting day to be an American.

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