Musings on the daily events in politics and sports as well as some local bar stops along the way in LA.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

My journey to Armenia and Moscow day by day (entry no.1)

Tuesday August 9
Arrive in NYC for the night and decide to go out and party, to see what Tuesday night in NY has to offer. End up getting wasted and getting home at 5am thinking "New York is the greatest city in the world, the bars are packed and open past 4am on a random Tuesday night." Little did I know what was in store for me the coming two weeks.

August 10
Day of travelling, spent 11 hours in the Moscow airport trying to sleep on a cold communist marble floor. It sucked. Ended up landing in Yerevan at 4am and to my hotel room around 6am because we had to wait for some other peope in our group to arrive so we can get our ride to the Ani Hotel.

August 11
wake up at around 730 am and ready to see the city. Go downstairs to eat breakfast in the hotel and then walk the streets around the hotel to get a feel for the city before we start our official tour of Yerevan. We start off on our tour of Yerevan with the group. We have two vans taking us around town. Most people are complaining that its not a huge tour bus, but I could care less... I'm in YEREVAN who cares what I'm riding in. We go first to the new Soorp Krikor Loosavorich church in yerevan, which is huge but its pretty basic and has no markings or details, i'm not very impressed. Next we go to the Madenataran which is where all the old Armenian manuscripts are at. It contains the first bible translated into Armenian and a bunch of other stuff. Most of the stuff isnt that old because everything has either been left behind in historical Armenia or taken by the communists. Once again not that impressive, im starting to think "this is the Armenia i've been dreaming about? uh oh". Then everything changes. We're on our way to Khor Virab and Shant asks if we want to stop to get something to eat. Everyone says no lets just go get khor virab over with since its so hot, but Shant decides to stop anyway. We stop at a random shack in the middle of nowhere on the way to the Turkish border where the khor's at. A few people decide they want some khorovadz sanwiches and the owner says i'll just put a whole bunch on the fire and however wants it will get it. This old man comes out of the back and gets the bbq going with a mechanical fan that looked like it was straight out of some communist cache. He ends up making the best sandwiches and everyone gets one, this trip is starting to look up. Driving up to Khor virab you start to appreciate its beauty as its nestled up against the overbearing mountain of Ararat. It takes a small hike to get to it and its also one of the hottest places in all of Armenia. It was about a million degrees when we got there, but I was the first one down into the pit and it was very calmly cool in there. I wanted to meditate in there, but then I realized that I don’t meditate and I’m with a group whose on a schedule. I took a deep breath and thought to myself “this is what Hayastan is all about.” It was so much better than I ever imagined it would be, it was 25 degrees cooler in there and it felt like there was some spiritual being keeping you cool and sane even though you were in a giant pit. When we got back to the hotel everyone decided that we would meet at 9:00 in the lobby so we would go out. Sevag and I both passed out in the hotel room and didn’t make it to the 9pm meetup, even though we were woken up multiple times to go out. We ended up waking up around 1030 and knew that we had no way in contacting anybody from the group so we decided to drink the bottle of vodka we picked up from the Moscow airport and then figure it out. Once we cashed that bottle we headed over to the opera area since we heard there were a bunch of bars there. We saw an outdoor bar there that had a sign for Shark energy drink and decided to check out the Red Bull vodka of Armenia. As we were drinking that the bartender asked us if we wanted some cocaine. When he saw the hesitation in our faces he made it clear that cocaine was a drink that you can only get at that bar in all of Armenia. So we told him to make us a couple. The drink involved a shot of tequila and Malibu in one glass and contreau in the other. He lights up the contreau and then pours it into the other shot glass with a flame of fire following. He traps the gas from the fire in one glass while you take a shot of the liquid and then inhale the fumes in the other glass through a straw. Needless to say after that we were wasted so we headed over to the hrabarag (republic square) with 22’s of Kotayk. We ended up meeting a bunch of locals in the square and hanging out with them for a while. One thing led to another and we were singing verkerov li in memory of Garo who never made it to Armenia and Hovig who loved it when he did. We then decided that it was time to pick things up a bit and headed over to the club Atlantik. The rest of our group was randomly at the club and we partied with them. Everyone randomly split up after that and I ended wandering through the streets of Yerevan and got to the hotel around 730 in the morning after finishing a beer at some bar. There goes the theory that New York parties later than anywhere else. And along with it goes Day 1 in Yerevan, not a bad start to this journey.

I’ll continue tomorrow.


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