Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I took a 4 day trip to Martuni to sign and file my quarterly tax documents. Though my business ventures in Artsakh are in limbo right now, it’s my obligation to file these returns every three months to keep my business license active.

Instead of taking a taxi or minivan, I went with my kavor (best man), who was going to Lachin on business. He had a new Niva, which I drove most of the way.

In Lachin, I hung out with the local traffic cop on duty and waited for a minivan to take me the rest of the way. The whole time I was there, the cop didn’t take a bribe.

Karabagh Telecom is now opening an office in Lachin. It’s looks to be in the final stages of construction and looks very nice.

At about noon, the cop stopped a minivan heading for Stepanagert, which I boarded and relieved the cop from having me around to prevent him from doing what he does to get paid.

The ride was very quick and the plan was that I would disembark from the van at the bottom of Shushi and hitch a ride up to my car, which I had left with Lavrent, my turck driver.

Unfortunately, Lavrent was not able to pick me up, as he had a very bad automobile accident last week which his knee was shattered and he laid up in the hospital in Stepanagert.

I got lucky that day, as the minivan had to stop off in Shushi to pick something up, thus I was delivered right to where I wanted, about half a kilometer from my car.

I walked up to Lavrent’s house, where I was greeted by his neighbor, who was in the process of remodeling Lavrent’s house.

Lavrent was living in Stepanagert, but due to his wife being in need of a series of operations, he sold his Stepanagert house (which he had already been wanting to do for the last year) and decided to move to his house he had in Shushi.

One of Lavrent’s other neighbor’s was also present. His name is Ararat and he is a blind man, who became blind in 1996, when the pressure in his head became too high, thus bursting the nerves in his eyes. At that time he said he was left with 5% vision in his right eye, but later on had and operation which was suppose to improve his vision, but instead for reason he does not know, lost what little vision he had and is now completely blind.

Ararat asked me to see if I could find a doctor to get a second opinion on what can be done to at least restore that 5% vision he had, which I’m now in the process of doing.

Ararat has 3 children, a wife and a parents that live in Armenia who helps him out financially, since the pension he receives is not much to speak of.

From Shushi, I drove to Stepanagert to visit Lavrent. On the way, I stopped at the police impound yard to see the condition of his car.

All I can say is that Lavrent and his passengers are very lucky to be alive. As you can see from these pictures, there is really nothing left of his car.

For those of you who have been reading my longs for at least a year, you will know that Lavrent is a war veteran who is known in Artsakh for blowing up on 30 landmines during the war and one after the war (31 mines). He retired early from the army because of his left knee being injured and preventing him from doing his duties.

Well in this recent accident, which was not Lavrent’s fault, he shattered his right knee. I’m not sure how this is going to effect him from driving my truck, but knowing Lavrent, he will figure out a way and will be back behind the wheel in no time.

I visited Lavrent at the Hospital in Stepanagert. He is looking good, but his knee is hurting quite a bit. He said that he will be in the hospital for at least another 6 days and then they will decide if the bone is sticking together or not, at which time he will start rehabilitation.

From Lavrent’s window, I noticed a new polyclinic hospital they are building. Very modern looking and it looks like it will be ready within the next month.

I noticed the head architect standing outside the building. His name is Garen Hagopyan and he is the same guy that was the architect for the 11 story apartment building that was built a couple of years ago for the sum of $1 million dollars ($650k from Louise Simone Manoogian and $350k allocated from the NKR government). If you read my posting on this project, you will know that project was a scam, probably costing around $150k to construct. I’m hoping that the new polyclinic is not another scam, but if Garen is involved, then it most likely is. If I have the time, I’ll have to find out the details.

As for Martuni, things don’t really seem to have changed much there other than another one of our main streets have been repaved, which means that a few less children will go to school this winter without getting their shoes muddy, which in Martuni terms is a big deal.

As for the weather, in Artsakh, it was great. Not too cold, but certainly it is heading in the direction of winter, which I’m predicting the first snow will happen on the 3rd of December, but will melt within a day. Then we will probably not see some real snow at the end of December or the beginning of January 2006.

I returned to Yerevan today with my uncle-in-law (the mayor of Matuni). It was a quick and uneventful ride.

Well it’s late and I need to take a shower and go to bed. My eyes are feeling very heavy, which means that I’ll sleep like a baby tonight :)

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