Saturday, May 03, 2003

I find myself in a not so smoky internet caf� in Yerevan.

Yes, my trip I planned for Yerevan happened yesterday and this only after towing my car to Stepanagert 3 days ago and only after working a whole day on trying to figure out what was wrong with my car.

Well it seems that my car would not start not because of some minor electrical problem due to the engine being washed and not because of obvious mechanical reasons, but because the super 93 octane gasoline was not 93 octane, nor did it really resemble gasoline.

We discovered that the gas was the problem only after having to have the starter rebuilt and also purchase a new battery, which the auto electrician had to take to his shop to charge. Since he was almost out of gas when he rushed over to my mechanics, we siphoned a couple liters of gas from my car for him and he discovered that his car didn�t work well at all.

So we drained the gas out of my car and got new �93 octane� gas, which with the new charged battery the car started right up.

We did everything we could to make the car right, but it still seemed to not work all that great, but was working to the point that we made it to Yerevan in 5 hours (though it should have taken 4 hours).

When we pulled in to Yerevan, I filled up the car to see how much gas it used and discovered that to used 70 liters (about 19 gallons) instead of the usual 55 liters (15 gallons).

So by the time we arrived, the car was almost not working and had very little power, which I drove to my Yerevan mechanic who was busy and only had time to change the oil since it was filled with whatever the �gasoline� didn�t burn and told me to come back later.

I should mention that I brought with me Serge, our aid recipient that was blinded during the war and his wife Sylva. I put him and his wife in a taxi to send him off to his relatives house to wait until Monday at which time I will take him to have his eyes checked to see if they can restore him sight.

Also with us was a woman who has lumps in her breasts. Madlene helped me to arange for her to get a breast examination at the Mammography center that Madlene use to direct. She was relieved to learn today that she does not have breast cancer, but does have some hormonal imbalance of some kind, which Madlene is going to give me the name of a really good doctor to see about helping with that problem.

So back to me at my mechanic�s garage here in Yerevan. We change the oil and my mechanic tells me to come back tomorrow and we will deal with all the other problems.

So I drive off and not a half our passes, my car begins to regain some of its power. In an hour, it�s driving 110 kilometers up hill. So it seems that the gasoline even from the good gas station in Stepanagert was not so good.

Last night I was over to Madlene�s house and saw Harout (DerHova) and a few other people.

Today I saw Raffi and though he has not yet announced his new job is, all I will say is that when he tells you what it is, you will understand that I am his counterpart.

Tonight a few of us also went out for dinner. Lena, Madlene, Arthur, Alex, ex-logger Vartan, Raffi and a few other people at Diamond pizza. Raffi and I shared a ham and pineapple pizza, and a spaghetti, both were really good.

Then we went to a going away party, which since I was really tired (and still am as I write this), didn�t stay and Vartan and I said our goodbyes.

I was going to mention that since I�ve been in Yerevan, I have had no encounters at all with the traffic police, but as I was coming home, I kind of made a wide right hand turn on a green right arrow in sight of a parked cop car.

The cop pulled me over and asked me for my documents.

He asked me where my drivers license was and I pointed out my California drivers license which he told me does not pass here.

I told him it does and asked him if he had a communication radio in his car, which he told me he did.

I told him to radio his headquarters, give my license number and ask them what they should do?

He asked me step out of the car to be out of Vartan�s earshot I guess, but Vartan joined us. He asked me why he should call his chief and so on and after a very short conversation he told me he didn�t have a radio (but the car did have an antenna and I�m sure a radio), he gave me back my documents and let me go, but reminded me that I did break the law (which I don�t dispute and would have without any problem accepted and paid any fine if he had written me up).

Anyway, as much as I like this internet caf�, it�s time to get some sleep.

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