Friday, October 3, 2008

Esperantists in Yerevan

Today I did not do too much in terms of sightseeing. However, since I knew where and when the Esperanto Club here in Yerevan was meeting, I turned up at their regular meeting at 6:30 PM.

One young lady there spoke English brilliantly also, in addition to Esperanto. When I asked her how she had learned English, she answered me the same way some of the staff here at Envoy Hostel answered me, "I studied it on my own". Difficult to believe, judging by how well these people really do speak English.

Levon Davtian and Hrant, whom I had met the previous Saturday, were also at the meeting. Afterwards they told me that somebody else, a blind Esperantist here in Yerevan (whose name is Yerchanik), wanted to meet me. (By the way, Yerchanik is an Armenian name that means "happy person" or something like that, maybe like the name Felix. Hrant took me to pick up Yerchanik at his work--he is a professor of Armenian linguistics at a small university here in town. We also met up with another local Esperantist named Suzanna. We took a bus to the professor's apartment, and he invited me in for apricot vodka, bread, cheeze, and salami. We talked about various things, and I felt very welcome there.

In typical Armenian fashion, they were always telling me to help myself to more food. An interesting thing that I noted also: every once in a while they would top off the apricot vodka, and we would toast. I would just sip from it a little bit each time, and they would then top it off. You would enjoy yourself, but you would never go overboard this way.

We discussed matters involving Esperanto in the USA and in Armenia. They also asked me about the upcoming election in the USA, and my opinion on it. They seem to be following it with particular interest, because who becomes our next president might play a role in whether or not our Congress legally recognizes the Armenian Genocide, a measure which I personally support fully.

I have truly been meeting some interesting people in this place. Armenians are a very warm, welcoming, and intelligent people.

Hrant saw me off on a marshrutka headed back my way, at about 11 PM or so.

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