Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lake Sevan

Today I saw one of the jewels of Armenia--Lake Sevan. Going again with Sati Tours, a young lady named Armineh was our guide today. We drove northeast of Yerevan, and first stopped at Tsaghadzor, which is a ski resort during the winter time. During the summer, you can take the ski lift up to just get a nice view.

I took a pass on the lift--I'm pretty acrophobic, and the view at the parking lot was pretty nice, too. After this, we moved on to Sevanavank, a monastery which overlooks Lake Sevan. It is perched high up on a cliff, and the place where we parked below looked like a piece of land that juts out right into the middle of the lake . In reality, it used to be an island, and the the lake was drained partially during Soviet times. The air and sky were very clear, and I felt at peace.

Arsineh is really a fantastic guide, and Gevorg drove us. From the very beginning, she engaged us all, quizzing us on our knowledge about Armenia, and explaining things in detail. We sat down to lunch, which was quite interesting. Aside from the usual breads and salads, we had Siga, which is a local type of fish, barbecued. It was grilled whole and very tasty.

There was some interesting music playing on the loudspeakers as we ate outside. Apparently, one song that they played, which had whiny vocals, was Rabiz music. I had already heard horror stories about this type of music. Apparently it's very depressing and sad, and judging from how it sounds, that's probably on target. Other than that, though, the music here is pretty good, and quite different from what I am used to back home. To get an idea, try .

After we made our way back, a Swedish guy named Matts, who had been on the tour with me, wanted to go to the Vernissage Market, which is a flea market. We did not buy anything except a cup of Armenian coffee from an older lady who was hawking it from a wheeled cart, complete with a gas stove!

Of course we stood out like sore thumbs, but people were generally agreeable, and one Armenian-American from Los Angeles came up and spoke with us for a bit. He seemed thrilled that we were here and interested in the country. Matts is here for work, which did not seem to surprize him or anyone. However, like many people, he was surprized that I was here for vacation, although I have no family connection to Armenia. Almost everybody I have met has seemed puzzled by this. He, like most others, have seemed delighted, though.

After this, Matts and I passed through a residential neighborhood after walking through the major Shuka (produce market) on Mashtots Ave. A whole bunch of children were playing soccer in a yard. Matts went up and joined them! He got hit in the stomach with a ball, but had a lot of fun. I just photographed it. This is the sort of thing that I did once in a while when I taught English in Japan, but I'm normally too reserved to just approach random people like that. The kids seemed thrilled, and I found it very amusing.

I am very tired now, and I think I will sleep in tomorrow. There is no shortage of things that I can accomplish Monday through Wednesday.


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