Tuesday, July 17, 2001

The other day I made my way to Yerevan to pick up some relatives that had come for a visit. So while there, I got in touch with Raffi and Zabel to see how they were doing. In our conversation, Zabel told me that she had an invitation to James Tufenkian's new hotel for a food sampling and Raffi was busy and would I like to go in his place. I figured it would be fun, so I left my jet-lagged guest at home sleeping and with Zabel, took a cab to James' new hotel in Nork. It seems that James purchased an almost complete mansion, practically gutted it and built it into a 5-star, 14-room hideaway for the traveler who wants to be in Armenia, but doesn't want the hustle and bustle of the city. We walked around while waiting for dinner and checked out all the rooms, which were very classy. All the furniture was custom-made, and you can tell that James is in the carpet manufacturing business, as the floors and walls are covered with them. In all, there were 13 guests, including James. Two hostesses and a professional chef served us. James is a vegetarian and for that reason there was no meat (something I enjoy), but the new tastes and very well presented dishes took the thought of Khorovads out of my mind. Amongst the guests was John Hughes, whom I last saw in front of the Armenia hotel with his cat in October. After the meal, followed by tea and coffee we sat around and all talked. The evening ended with a bunch of us piling into James's military jeep and made our way back to the city, where I made my way home. I have to say that I was really happy to be a part of this evening and that it's people like James that are making a positive change in Armenia today. I hope that others will take his lead and do similar things.

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