It has been a while since I’ve written a personal blog entry. Why? I have been busy. Busy at work. Busy at home. Busy getting ready to travel and then traveling. And, now, on Wednesday 25 July 2012, I am writing from Yerevan, Armenia where I am lecturing for the week at the American University of Armenia. Where from the window of the office I’m using when I’m not lecturing I can see Mount Ararat. Where I haven’t learned much Armenian yet, but I have learned a few important customs and I have begun to learn my way around.
The first day or two I posted about how interesting the music in the Republic Square was—In the Mood at 11 PM with lots of people (including some young kids) dancing. Then I posted about my first meal.
Since then, I’ve had a wonderful first dinner including multiple types of local cheeses and other traditional Armenian food. On the second day I managed to get myself from my hotel to the office all alone. Quite a walk and a lot of uphill. My colleagues tell me we are at 900m altitude, so that affects things a little too.
Then yesterday we went to the park for lunch. So far, I’ve paid no more than $4 for lunch and had an excellent salad and an olive roll the one day and a chicken sandwich on a lavash and a mango juice the second day. For dinner the second day, I ate alone at an Italian café, and had a caprese with mozzarella that was so soft and tasty it was amazing and had incredibly flavorful tomatoes. Then a hot sandwich with a somewhat spicy salami and “Dutch cheese” alone with what I could only describe as a cole slaw with a primarily vinegar liquid. Also a pepsi and a ricotta cake (although I would have called it a ricotta pie). All of that or under $15 with tip. Amazing. Although the waitress liked to correct each time she thought I mispronounced something. Then, I managed to shop for water in a grocery store to restock my hotel room with bottled water. 12 half liter bottles for about $3.
While there, it was 9:45 PM (I ate late since I lecture from 5-8 PM and then spent some time catching up on emails before going to dinner). I was again surprised by the presence of young kids, although my colleagues tell me that life in the evening starts late. Anyway, in this Italian café I heard a “muzak” version of Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”. Seemed a bit out of place, but interesting.
This morning I got in my first run. I went from the hotel to a point a bit past the American University of Armenia and then came back running on Muskovian St and whatever it turns into going around the outside of the downtown area of the city. A nice 5 miles that after three days with no running and a lot of sitting felt really nice. Took my legs a bit of time to really feel “good” but in the end it was a very nice run.
Then, I drank water like I usually do. Having drunk only 1 liter of water in my hotel room the entire time since I arrived Sunday night before this morning, I’ve put down 2 liters today.
While at the café last night I was also thinking about what I would do if I ever got a second tattoo. It would be on the other calf to be “symmetric” (although not the same drawing). But I have to save up for that one and my ideas may continue to evolve.
Finally, with the view of Ararat, I turned to the Bible. Genesis 8:4 tells us that “…in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the moth, the ark came to rest upon the Mountains of Ar’arat.” Then eventually the tops of the mountains were seen. Today, Mt Ararat is a lovely snow-topped mountain. It must have been quite a site. To think about being so close to a point that is described in the Bible is quite amazing. Stunning actually. It makes me stop and think about the importance of each bit of history in the Old Testament leading to the arrival of Jesus, the realization of all the prophecies, and the foundation of the new covenant. Makes me think about wanting to visit the Holy Land at some point but that would come much later on.
Well, time to get some work done for today.