Tuesday, September 07, 2004

We just got back from a midnight walk in Yerevan.

My fiancé decided that we needed to get out of the house for some fresh air and a break from the never ending bad news of the world.

We took a taxi to the Ani Plaza Hotel and were joined by Aris Srpazan’s nephew Hovig. From there, we crossed the street to a Karaoke bar, where we ate Spas, drank Coke, Noy water and orange juice. We each sang one song, paid the bill and my fiancé decided that we would take a walk.

She decided that we would walk up the Cascade, which is the place where Madlene works. My fiancé wanted to ride up the Cascade on the escalator and discovered that the entrance to the escalators was closed. She raddled the doors as the guard watched (Madlene, if you get a report from the guard that sits just above your office about some Diaspora Armenians trying to break into the building, it was my Karabaghi fiancé. We were intentionally using the word “gor” in excess to make sure he knew we were some dumb Diaspora Armenians that were clueless to the fact that at midnight the museum is not open and he should not shoot us for attempting to break in).

We ended up climbing the stairs and after going up the first flight, it started to rain. By the time we reached the top, we were soaked. It was a great and tiring workout.

We walked to Victory Park, which we arrived just before 1 AM. Hovig told us to stand under the arch that leads into the park to get out of the rain and he stood on the street to hail a cab.

After about 5 minutes of waiting and scaring away some street dogs who I guess didn’t like that we didn’t want to share our shelter from the rain, Hovig secured us a cab.

The cab driver, Norig, is a retired store manager. He was driving a 1976 Soviet made Fiat, which was only running on 3 of its 4 cylinders.

As we creped up Monument, Norig told us that the ride will cost us 1,000 drams, as it is past midnight. We didn’t have a problem with the fare and were just happy to be out of the rain and on our way home.

Norig complained about how he worked for so many years and how he now gets a $10 a month pension and for that reason he now drives a cab. He said the income from the cab puts bread on the table.

Norig asked us where we were from. When I said America, he asked why I left such a great country. He added that in the 70’s, he had an opportunity to go to America, but due to his papers, it didn’t happen. He said that he has always dreamt of going to America and even now if he had the opportunity would go.

Just before dropping us off at our destination, Norig started to talk about how bad it was here and how for a few select people to live well, the majority of the people suffer, again stressing that there is no country he knows of where someone who works for over 30 years is given a $10 a month pension.

Anyway, we had a great walk tonight and though I think we’re going to have a cold or flu to deal with as a result, it was worth taking a break from the news, which as soon as we walked in the door, my fiancé turned the television on and continued where we left off.

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