Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Scene By The Sea

I tried to watch some CNN while I drank my oral rehydration solution, but the poor satellite reception and dire quality of news content made it impossible. CNN in the USA is, I'm told, even worse than CNN Global because it covers far fewer international stories. Such a thing is too horrific for me to imagine. Death to CNN and all those involved with it...

I went to the tour office and chatted to one of the managers for a while. She was friendly, motherly and intelligent. We discussed the lack of promotion in the UK and Europe of Armenia as a tourist destination and also the poor quality of telecoms infrastructure which causes no end of problems for Armenian businesses.

Shortly after 10 am we sent off in the mini-bus. The tour group consisted of a Russian woman and her teenage daughter, a Russian family and the Lebonese couple from yesterday's tour, and of course, The Great Karamoon AKA "Adventure Boy". Guiding us was Gohar, a quiet young lady who had spent 6 years studying langauges in Moscow.

After about an in the mini-bus we reached some ancient churches.(yes, more!) One of the churches was still in use and, through a series of peculiar events, I found myself in a small room with the Lebonese couple and a guy dressed in a black robe who I assume was the Pope(except the Pope is always in white on TV...) The Pope was undersandably very pleased to meet me. So please, in fact, that he forgot how to speak and just stood there mumbling before touching my head and making me kiss a book. I left he to meditate on what was probably the most Holy experience of his life and got on the mini-bus with the crazy Russians.

After another hour we arrived at Lake Sevan. The lake is about 2000 metres(6000 feet) above sea level and is fed by melting ice from the surrounding mountains. The lake feeds a single river which was used in Soviet times to generate electricity. This had the unfortunate effect of causing the water level of the lake to drop by 2 metres and so the hydroelectric powerstation is no longer in use. Electricity is a massive problem in Armenia. They mainly use coal and oil, which they must import and they have one nuclear power sation which will probably melt down inn the next few years of be destroyed by an earthquake.

I quizzed Gohar on the new US embassy which was built a few months ago and is the largest US embassy in the world. One can't help but think that it will be used by US special forces when they attack Iran, and also by the CIA as a spybase. Gohar knew little regarding the embassy but thought it had been built without the use of any Armenian labour.

We had lunch by the lake in an open-fronted building that looked like a Marguitte painting. The food was excellent, particularly the barbequed fish. The tea was disapointing, but then again I'm disapointed by tea wherever I go anyway.

Anahit, the guide from yesterday, was also at the lake, giving a private tour for an Armenian family. We exchanged contact information in case I ever need a multi-ligual microbiologist or she ever needs assistance from The Great Karamoon.

After lunch we had an hour in which to chill on the beach etc. I spent most of the time looking at the scenery and reading, the Lebonese couple slept, the Russian woman and her daughter sunbathed and the crazy Russians went for a swim. Needless to say they swam too far, got lost and were 45 minutes late, which angered the Lebonese couple greatly. I found it hard to care, probably because I care about very little these days.

We eventually left Lake Sevan, and returned to Yerevan, stopping on the way to collect some shiny black rocks. When we arrived back in Yerevan I went looking for pizza, which I found at "California Pizza" on Marshots Avenue.

One of the few notable things about California Pizza in Yerevan is that it is also a shoe shop.I had a very peculiar, and on balance, disgusting, BBQ chicken pizza. I remember reading the description of the pizza on the menu and thinking that it sounded strange, especially as celary was one of the toppings, and yet for some reason I ordered it anyway. Very, very harsh. There is, however, one redeaming feature of the restaurant and that is that it is on the first floor and I was thus able to look down physically, as well as metaphorically, on the people of Yerevan as they walked past in the street.

1 comment:

..|.. said...

Hey Kara.. Hope you are doing well. This sounds so great. I wish I was in Hayasten (Armenia) too.. I've been longing to go and see Mt Ararat.. I miss the scenery.

Anyways.. Im sorry your pizza was yukky.. I also had a similar experience with pizza.. stick with the kebabs :)